Composing with Rock, Rap, and Roll

Composing with Rock, Rap, & Roll

Kathryn Meyer

TI:ME Technology Areas Addressed:



Middle School


General Music


Hardware: Computer with mouse
Software: Rock Rap and Roll


45 Minutes

Prior Knowledge and Skills:


MENC Standards Addressed:

MENC 2: Performing on instruments, alone and with others, a varied repertoire of music.
MENC 3: Improvising melodies, harmonies, and accompaniments.
MENC 4: Composing and Arranging Music within specified guidelines.
MENC 6: Listening to, analyzing and describing music.
MENC 7: Evaluating music and music performances.




The purpose of this lesson is to have the students become composers! First students will be listening to 3 examples of cover tunes. While actively listening, students will be checking off instruments they hear and answering questions. After the mini-listening lesson students will begin to compose (in pairs) a short work using the computer program Rock, Rap and Roll. Each composition will follow ABA form (and have a beginning, middle and end section). They composition lesson ties into the previous mini-listening lesson because the students will (hopefully) realize that two people can have very different artistic interpretations of the same piece. While working in pairs they should experience this. Also, the instrument checklist gives the students ideas for instrumentation in their own composition.

Musical Dimension:
Students will be working together and composing. They will create music by using a computer program called, Rock Rap and Roll. One student will be in charge of the mouse and the other student will be in charge of the keyboard, and vice-versa. By using the mouse and keyboard the students will create their own compositions and perform together as an ensemble.

Attitude Dimension:
The students will receive much satisfaction from creating their own composition. Through using Rock, Rap and Roll students can express themselves rather then sticking to formal, traditional, rigid notation. Students will learn the basics of composing and understand ABA form.

Praxial Dimension:
Students will learn ABA form. Students will also have the opportunity to compose on the spot and do a little bit of improvising. They will also be working together in pairs to create a composition and share their own artistic interpretation with each other.



1. Priming/Doorway In: ave you ever heard the same piece that was recorded by two different artists? Does anyone know what thatâs called? Well I think itâs really interesting that two people can have different artistic expression for the same piece.ä – AFTER I PLAY RECORDINGS – ãIâm going to give you 20 seconds to find a partner to work with and you are going to compose your own piece and remember you will both have different artistic expression·ä
2. Transition Statement: ãCan anyone name me some examples of cover tunes? Letâs listen to some.ä
3. Management:
I. Introduction: 2 minutes
II. Play selection of original and cover tune of Take on Me by A-Ha and Rockapella: 2 minutes, 10 seconds
III. Play selection of original and cover tune of Blackbird by The Beatles and Sarah McLachlan: 2 minutes, 10 seconds
IV. Play selection of original and cover tune of Wish You Were Here by Pink Floyd and Why Clef: 5 minutes, 54 seconds
V. Have students finish up worksheet (they will be filling the worksheet out while actively listening to the music): 30 seconds
VI. Discuss worksheet: 6 minutes
VII. Pick a partner, sit at the same station: 30 seconds
VIII. Start Rock, Rap and Roll ö Directions/Giving students time to compose: 25 minutes
a. Double click on the Rock, Rap and Roll icon
b. Click on whichever style you and your partner would like
c. Once you double click on your musical style you will see ten numbers each number represents a different sound. You have 2 minutes to listen to all the different sounds, be thinking of three sounds you really like, remember those numbers.
d. Now that you have those 3 numbers drag the numbers into the blank circles on the bottom, just choose three. The first three circles should be filled up, remember to consider what order youâre putting the circles in.
e. Once you have the order all set clock on the start button, listen to the first section of your piece and make any adjustments youâd like to now. You have 1 minute.
f. Okay so no we have the first section of the piece, weâll call this the A section. Now using two different numbers lets create the B section. Only use two different numbers, once youâve completed the B section press the start button and listen you will have 1 minute to change anything you donât like.
g. Once the B section is all ready to go place the first three numbers back in the last three circles.
h. For example you should have a form that looks like this 146 78 146 (146 = A section, 78 = B section)
i. Now listen to the entire piece, this is your last chance to make any alterations. You have 2 minutes.
j. Now that you have the foundation for your piece itâs time to incorporate some of the other instruments
k. Between you and your partner, once person will be in control of the mouse and the other will be in control of the keyboard
l. Keyboard is in charge of the ãpitch emä -> 1st #âs 123467, 2nd Pitch em -> QWERTY
m. Mouse is in charge of the ãVocalizerä
n. Magic Fingers = key map to see what instruments are what on the keyboard (what other letters and #âs are)
o. Click on the start button and begin using the keyboard and mouse to add different elements to your composition. You will have 7 minutes to do this.
p. When you and your partner are ready to click on the button that looks like an old tape recorder and press record when ready to begin playing your composition. If you donât like a take, just stop and clock on record again.
q. Have students play composition for class: 8 minutes

&gt ;


Crescendo of Intentionality:
When the students finish the composition process and then perform their composition for their classmates. Also have the classmates wonder which musical styles their peers chose and what their friendâs compositions will sound like

Having students create a C.D. that is both their own creative as well as their partners and having friends listen to it.
Evaluations, Reflection, Cognitive Strengthening, Prompts, Questions:

* What did you find most difficult about the composing process.
* What was easy?
* Did you enjoy it?

* What do you need to think about when composing a piece?

Follow Up:

For a possible follow up it might be fun to have students choose a song had have them cover it with whatever instrumentation they would like.

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