Legato Staccato Name Game

Goal: This is a warm up that reinforces learning each other's names and teaches the vocabulary and concept of Legato and Staccato.

Legato Staccato Name Game
  • Intro

Legato Staccato Name Game

Contributed by T. Scott Lilly


This is a warm up that reinforces learning each other’s names and teaches the vocabulary and concept of Legato and Staccato.


  • Students in a Circle.
  • Today for our warm up we will learn two terms from the Language of Music, Italian. Legato and Staccato.
  • Sing five notes : “La – La – La – La – La” (C,D,E,F,G) (Do Re Mi Fa Sol). Class sing that with me – La – La – La- La- La. Good!
  • Repeat after me “Legato” “Smooth and Connected” (say and move in a legato way when saying this.) ” Good. Now if I wanted to sing our five notes Legato it would sound like ,,,,,(Sing it Smooth and Connected, like you’re sliding the notes into each other upward ) Try That …… Good.
  • Repeat after me “Staccato” “Sharp and Dis-connected” (say this in a staccato manner.) Now our same five notes will sound like this: La – La- La- La- La (do it staccato, very short with space inbetween) Sing that…… Good
  • REPEAT this a few times Singing the Five Notes – Legato and Staccato all together.
  • NOW we’re going to play the Staccato Legato Name Game. We’ll go around the circle saying our name either Staccato or Legato, it’s up to you, but you should make a clear choice. We’ll all repeat how you said it and then decide if it was Staccato or Legato. You can add a gesture or movement to it too if you want like this.
  • MODEL Saying your name and moving in a Legato way and a Staccato way.
  • Go around the circle and have students say their names a Legato way and a Staccato way. Whole class says after they go if it was legato or staccato.
  • Time permitting you can go around the circle twice and ask students to do the other way from their first choice.

Transition into Activity

Opening activity. “Circle Up” in the manner you normally do.

Transition out of Activity

Have students sit back down at their desks or tables in a Legato way. Notice who’s doing it exceptionally well.

Classroom Arrangement

Circle is ideal. You can do it at their desks or stations, but it will require a way to choose the next student. Go by row, or table etc.

Supports/Adaptive Materials/Tools

  • Go and Stop cards to cue when to sing the five notes together.
  • Non-verbal students can do a gesture in a Legato or Staccato way and we all copy and guess which it is.
  • Circle is not mandatory, just works well.
  • Keyboard or Instrument to play the Five Notes: C – D – E – F – G (ascending) – play straight quarter notes . For legato – play very smoothly, connecting the notes like it’s gliding. For staccato , play very sharp and short (1/16th notes with rests between so it’s still in time)
  • PLAY music that really exemplifies Legato and Staccato dynamics. Have students listen and identify sections that sound legato or staccato to them.

Role of the Teachers and Paraprofessionals

  • MODEL – Say your name and move in a staccato or legato way and have them repeat it and guess. Later in the day have them do an activity in a Legato way.

Remote Adaptation

Have students one at a time unmute themselves and Sing the five notes in a Legato and Staccato way. Have students unmute themselves a say their name (and move) in a Legato or Staccato way. Other students can vote whether they think it was legato or staccato.

Art forms


10 mins