Treble Clefs & Bass Clefs

Lesson: Give your students a short introduction to reading music by teaching them about clefs. This can spark some interest in music and playing instruments, and being able to read music is a life-long skill!

Age Group: This lesson is targeted towards elementary schoolers, but it’s never too late to learn music, so it can be for anyone of any age!

Materials: Music manuscript paper, pencils


Step 1 Ask your students what a treble clef is, and what a bass clef is. If no one seems to know, draw them out! The students may visually recognize these symbols.

Step 2 Explain what the clefs are. The treble clef signifies higher pitches, and this is usually where the melody of a song is written. A bass clef signifies the lower pitches, and this is where the bass-line of a song is written. 

Step 3 Let the students practice how to draw the clefs on the music manuscript. Drawing treble clefs can be difficult, especially for younger or less-coordinated students. Check out our handout on how to draw treble clefs for additional help!

Step 4 Finish off the lesson with a fun musical activity, like musical chairs! For more advanced listeners, try to have them identify the melody and bass-line.


Last week, at both Cione and Towey Rec Centers, I asked the students, “Who knows what a treble clef is? What about a bass clef?” No hands were raised. I drew a treble clef on the chalkboard, and some light bulbs went on. “That means music!” said one little boy. 

After learning some music theory, we played an exciting game of musical chairs with some spooky Halloween tunes to get into the spirit of the holiday!

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