Composing with Notepad

Composing with Notepad

Paul Colombino
[email protected]
Matunuck Elementary, Wakefield, RI

TI:ME Technology Areas Addressed:





General Music


Computer lab, Finale Notepad


40 Minutes

Prior Knowledge and Skills:

Students will have learned how to step enter notes and lyrics with Finale Notepad.

NAfME standard of 1994 Addressed:

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: Understanding relationships between music, the other arts, and disciplines outside the arts.

NAfME 2014: Connections


This is the third in a series of composition lessons. Students will have previously worked with short nursery rhymes and poems. They have written rhythms to match their poems. The students will have copies of their work so far.

For demonstration, the teacher will need a computer and projection system.


Students will learn to use Notepad to enter their notes in step time. They will learn how to enter lyrics, play back and publish their songs.


1. Teacher will demonstrate and students will learn to set up their title, instrumentation, meter, key and tempo using the document wizard. (10 Minutes)
2. Teacher will demonstrate and students will learn to enter their notes using the step entry tool. They will then enter their rhythms using the F pentatonic scale within the following parameters:

1. They may only use the notes FGACD.
2. They must start and end their piece on the tonic note (F).
3. They may not write intervals of more than third.

(20-30 Minutes)


The teacher will circulate during the second part of the lesson, checking for problems and offering suggestions both technological and artistic. Students will save their work and the teacher will further evaluate pieces using both technical and artistic criteria.

Follow Up:

Students may need more than one lesson to edit their compositions and complete this activity. They will subsequently learn to enter their lyrics and publish their pieces to be played or sung by other students.

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