Guided Composition

Guided Composition

A lesson plan by C.B., Lancaster, PA.

TI:ME Technology Areas Addressed:



fifth/sixth grade elementary general music class


Korg 01W
four multi-timbrel keyboards


30 Minutes

Prior Knowledge and Skills:

  1. Ability to read and play given music.
  2. Understanding of note/rest beat values and 4/4 meter signature.
  3. Understanding of notation of absolute pitches, sharps and flats.
  4. At a previous lesson, the students will have created a whole group composition using the guided composition worksheet indicated below.

MENC Standards Addressed:

MENC 2: Performing on instruments, alone and with others, a varied repertoire of music.
MENC 4: Composing and Arranging Music within specified guidelines.
MENC 5: Reading and notating music.


  1. Hardware and software as listed.
  2. Composition worksheet (one for each student and transparency for teacher use at overhead.)
    To download the worksheet – Mac users control-click or Windows users right-click the following link: Download Worksheet


  1. Students will compose a two-phrase (eight measure) melody in the key of D major in 4/4 meter. (first and last measures of each phrase are given).
  2. Students will perform their composition for the class.


  1. Students will review the keys/ bells needed in the key of D major (F# and C#).
  2. Students will brainstorm possible note and rest combinations of four beats.
  3. Students will review absolute pitches on the treble clef staff.
  4. To be distributed: composition worksheets, pencils, bell sets. Assign students to keyboards (rotating in small groups).
  5. Teacher will go over instructions as indicated on worksheet.
  6. Students will have remaining class time to compose and practice. (Performances will take place at the next music class.)


  1. Completed composition makes musical sense and is correctly notated (4 beats to measure, note labels are correct, etc.).
  2. Performance of composition is rhymically and melodically accurate.

Follow Up:

  1. Adding harmony or percussion to the composition.
  2. Free composing with no key or time signatures given and no selected measures provided.

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