Beats & Accents

George Murphy
[email protected]
Ahern Middle School

TI:ME Technology Areas Addressed:



Middle School


General Music


Computer with keyboard…Print Music 2001/Finale 2004


40 Minutes

Prior Knowledge and Skills:

How to log in, and some previous work with beats and accents

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: Evaluating music and music performances.

NAfME 2014: Responding 

NAfME Standard of 1994: Understanding relationships between music, the other arts, and disciplines outside the arts.

NAfME 2014: Connections


Print Music or Finale


Middle school general music students learning how the accent in music effects the feel and sound of music. Playing a variety of percussion instruments, students will compose a piece using certain instruments as accents while others are providing a beat pattern.
Students will assess this lesson by listening to and performing several compositions, and making decisions on their effectivness.


1. Preparation: Have students cue up the percussion sounds on the computer or keyboard by selecting the percussion family of instruments and adding them to a composition pallet. Let them experiment with different sounds, and memorize what keys to press for certain sounds.
(10 min)

2. Use 2-4 students assigned to a specific rhythmic motif…the beat. They should create their own, using percussion sounds that are light in timbre, and have them keep it simple. Start with 4-8 bars of time.
(10 min.)

3. A second group of 2-4 students will then layer the accented sounds on top of the beat sound, using brighter, and heavier percussion sounds. These patterns will be even more simple and sparce.
(10 min.)

4. Have all students listen to and evaluate the effectivness of the compositon…did the accents come out of the texture? Did the instruments used have the desired effect? Was it easy to hear the accents? Did it change the sound and feel of the original beat pattern?
(10 min.)


Evaluate by listening and responding to the compositions. Make adjustments as needed to create the desired effect.

Follow Up:

1. Use simple melodies…ie: Twinkle Twinkle, Happy Birthday…and accent in unusual places throughout the tune.

2. Expand this concept to lyrics…How does the lyric effect the accents of a melody? Twinkle is also Baa Baa Blacksheep, and the ABC (Alphabet) Song.

3. Have them recite the Pledge of the Flag with different accents in places that are unusual…how does this sound, feel?


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