Adding Rhythms to a Percussion Arrangement

Adding rhythms to a percussion arrangement

Mark Ellis
[email protected]
Apopka High School

TI:ME Technology Areas Addressed:

Electronic Musical Instruments
Music Production


High School


Music Technology


Korg SP500 keyboard or any sequencing keyboard work station will work. Logic Audio, Digital Performer or equivalent sequencing software.


45-60 Minutes

Prior Knowledge and Skills:

The students should be familiar with piano or software sequencing, but not extensive ability on either piece of equipment is needed for this lesson. Plus an understanding of rhythm and note/rest value relationships.

NAfME standard of 1994 Addressed:

NAfME standard of 1994: Performing on instruments, alone and with others, a varied repertoire of music.

NAfME 2014: Performing 

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

NAfME 2014: Creating 

NAfME standard of 1994: Listening to, analyzing and describing music.
NAfME standard of 1994: Evaluating music and music performances.

NAfME 2014: Responding 


A hand-out will be given to each student describing what is needed for their arrangement. It will give specific guide lines on what to do. Manuscript paper or copy paper. Obviously, a computer with software or a keyboard with sequencing ability is needed.


The objective is for each student to create an interesting percussion arrangement using a sequencing keyboard or software with 4 tracks of different percussion sounds and rhythms. They will follow a guide on how the arrangement should be written.


Students will be asked to write an 8 measure percussion arrangement using note and rest values ranging from whole notes/whole rests to 16th notes/16th rests. The arrangement should consist of 4 staves(tracks) with different drum/percussion sounds per stave. Every measure needs to have a different rhythm in the arrangement at all times. No 2 measure should repeat. (20-30mins.) Each student should first write out their arrangement on a piece of manuscript or sheet of paper. (What ever works for them) After that is completed they may then enter their piece into the keyboard or sequencing software and pick the appropriate percussion sounds. (25-35mins)


Each student should evaluate their arrangement through first; how does it sound? 2) Did I follow the directions? 3) Optional: Play each arrangement for the class.

Follow Up:

Change from percussion to melodic instruments.

Items to Purchase:

Necessary items already mentioned.

When budget should be submitted:

Way before this lesson!

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