Turning Poetry into Songwriting using Garage Band Cross Curricular

Turning Poetry into Songwriting using Garage Band – Cross Curricular

Carol Carstensen
[email protected]
Safety Harbor Elementary

TI:ME Technology Areas Addressed:

Music Production




General Music


Mac computer with Garage Band


40+ Minutes

Prior Knowledge and Skills:

The students have an understanding of musical styles and the instruments that create them.
The students have an understanding of the form of the songs of a particular style.
The students have an understanding of how melodies are created.
The students have been developing aural skills to identify sounds that are pleasing to them.
The students have been introduced to Garage Band and will be working together as a class to put the song together.

NAfME Standards of 1994 Addressed:

NAfME Standards of 1994: Singing, alone and with others, a varied repertoire of music.

NAfME 2014: Performing 

NAfME Standards of 1994: Improvising melodies, harmonies, and accompaniments.
NAfME Standards of 1994: Composing and Arranging Music within specified guidelines.

NAfME 2014: Creating 

NAfME Standards of 1994: Listening to, analyzing and describing music.
NAfME Standards of 1994: Evaluating music and music performances.

NAfME 2014: Responding 


Mac computer with Garage Band and possibly Sibelius or another notation software.


The students will create a melody and accompaniment to a 50’s style song to present at their concert.
The students will listen to and identify melodies and harmonies that fit the profile of 50’s rock.
The students will sing the song correctly with the accompaniment during class and learn it for their concert.


1) First, the students have, with the help of the classroom teacher, written songs in the 50’s style.
2) The students have already chosen their favorite song to set to music.
3) Once those steps have occurred, the class begins as a group to set the poem to a melody.
4) Using either Garage Band or Sibelius, the teacher and the class comes up with a melody. This step can also be circumvented by having the teacher come up with the melody.
5) The students and the teacher listen to the melody and begin to add the appropriate accompanying instruments that will reflect the 50’s style. The melody should stay on Garage Band while working on the accompaniment to be able to listen to the melody while adding music. This step can take a little while to get everyone to agree on what they hear.
6) Once the desired accompaniment is done, be sure that it is exported to iTunes without the melody so the students can practice to their accompaniment and sing for the conc! ert.


The evaluation is ongoing during the process as the students will comment on their progress.
Another evaluation could be that the school votes on the song once it is sung for them.
In addition, the audience members can be asked about their opinion once it is sung.

Follow Up:

This is a cross-curricular lesson since it deals with writing poetry and it deals with history.
Other songs from other time periods can be developed.

Items to Purchase:


When budget should be submitted:


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