Composing 5-finger Tunes

Composing 5-finger Tunes

Susan L Clark
[email protected]
Avon Grove Charter School

TI:ME Technology Areas Addressed:

Notation Software


Middle School


General Music


One computer with Finale Notation Software


40 Minutes

Prior Knowledge and Skills:

Introductory knowledge of the C Major 5-finger keyboard position. Working knowledge of basic rhythmic notation. Limited working knowledge of note-writing skills. Working knowledge of computer.

MENC Standards Addressed:

MENC 3: Improvising melodies, harmonies, and accompaniments.
MENC 4: Composing and Arranging Music within specified guidelines.
MENC 5: Reading and notating music.
MENC 7: Evaluating music and music performances.


One computer with Finale Notation Software. MIDI keyboard not necessary, but provides enhanced opportunities to experiment. Finale worksheet File – downloadable zip file


This is an individual activity for the beginning Finale user. Student will improvise a melody in a 5-finger position using the given rhythm. There are 3 rhythms provided with successively more intricate rhythm patterns. Accuracy of rhythm patterns and understanding of Finale basic notation are the measurable goals. Evaluation of melodic creativity can be discussed with other students or the teacher.


This is a self-paced individual lesson. Student may need to be set up in Finale to begin the lesson. Instructions are on the worksheet. Depending on student skill level, the activity could be done multiple times, improving on the interest of the melodic line.


Student will be assessed for 100% accuracy when matching the rhythm pattern.
Student will display ability to perform the composition on a keyboard with 90% accuracy at a moderate tempo.
Student will display ability to use Finale Simple Note entry completing the worksheet with 90% accuracy.
Teacher and student (or peers and student) will evaluate the improvised melody for creativity interest level.

Follow Up:

Activity can be done on paper writing the notes by hand. Activity can be expanded to include more complex rhythms or wider range of musical notes. MIDI keyboard may be used for note input on the staff.

Items to Purchase:

One computer and one copy of Finale software.

When budget should be submitted:

Submit budget request per school district protocol.

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