A Song About Me

Katie Schmidt
giggleskas@aol.com
Stoughton Public Schools

TI:ME Technology Areas Addressed:

Notation

Level:

Elementary

Class:

General Music

Equipment:

Notation Software

Duration:

40 Minutes

Prior Knowledge and Skills:

Ability to read basic treble staff pitch and rhythmic notation.
Knowledge of composing and lyric-writing.

NAfME Standards of 1994 Addressed:

NAfME Standards of 1994: Composing and Arranging Music within specified guidelines.
NAfME Standards of 1994: Reading and notating music.

NAfME 2014: Creating

Materials:

Song Composition Worksheet
Pencils
Computers with notation software and keyboards if possible.

Objectives:

The student will use correct rhythmic notation in their 8-measure composition.
The student will create a melody using only steps and repeated notes.
The student will attach the lyrics appropriately under the correct pitches.

Procedures:

The teacher will first review the note names on the treble staff. The teacher will then review basic notational devices, such as quarter, half, and eighth notes, as well as half and quarter rests.

After the review of notation, the teacher will pass out the “Song Composition” worksheet. (this worksheet has an 8-measure song the teacher has written about themselves, as well as guidelines for the students’ own composition and 8 blank measures for them to utilize)

The teacher will then have the students examine the melody that the teacher has composed. Notice the melodic direction (i.e. upward and downward, using steps and repeats, but no big leaps), notice the notes used, as well as the use of rests and simple note patterns. After some discussion, take a look at the lyrics. Notice how the words fit under the pictures, and occasionally have to be hyphenated to fit correctly under the notes. Finally, discuss how the students might go about composing their own song about themselves. They can start with the lyrics, or begin composing the melody first. Either way, they must be flexible enough to change either one if they do not appear to work well together.

Now the students are ready to begin their own composition. If the MIDI stations are available, students can use a computer and keyboard to key in their notes and hear them. Here they will develop the listening skills necessary to figure out when a note isn’t working and how to fix it.

After the students are done, the performances begin. If possible, have each child play his/her own song while singing it. Otherwise, the teacher can play and sing each song for the whole class to hear.

Time at the end is available for group discussion on the idea of composing and adding lyrics appropriately.

Evaluation:

Evaluation is based on whether or not they completed the assignment while following the four basic guidelines:

The student composed an 8-measure composition.
The student used only steps and repeats for melodic direction.
The student used only half or quarter rest if applicable.
The student placed the lyrics under the correct notes, and hyphenated correctly when needed.
The students used only the Middle C octave notes.

Follow Up:

At the next class, the teacher can lead the class in a discussion on similarities between the pieces. Inevitably, there will be several constants among the majority of songs that the students will be able to both see and hear, especially with note choices. This can lead to a class on chord progressions and why some notes work better than others in different keys.

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