Write Your Own Piece

Write your own piece

Jennifer Raftery
[email protected]
Kent State University

TI:ME Technology Areas Addressed:

Electronic Musical Instruments
Notation Software


High School


Music Theory


Use either Finale or Sibelius once a piece is created on paper.


30 Minutes

Prior Knowledge and Skills:

Intermediate theory class based lesson plan. Basic chord progressions, theory knowledge and notation rules are needed, this lesson would occur long after classical pieces have been studied for chord progressions.

NAfME Standards of 1994 Addressed:

NAfME Standards of 1994: Composing and Arranging Music within specified guidelines.
NAfME Standards of 1994: Reading and notating music.

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 


Electronic keyboard with headphones, manuscript paper (later to be converted into computer file on a notation software ex. Finale or Sibelius.) Pencils and some form of notation software.


Students will create their own short keyboard piece in a classical style. They will write using notation, a chord progression on keyboard which follows basic rules for harmony. They will add a melody which will fit the basic chord structure. They will add a harmony line to finish the piece.


1. Individually students will begin by writing a chord progression that is between 32 and 64 measures in length on a piece of manuscript paper for piano (with an optional vocal part if the student desires.)
2. After it is written, it can be checked on the one electronic keyboard in the classroom (or in the practice rooms if available) by the student.
3. Once the chord progression has been created it will be submitted for a check and a grade to the teacher (30% of assignment grade).
4. After it has passed the check, students will have to add a melody line and again can check this against the chords on the keyboard.
5. After the student is satisfied with their work thus far they will have to write a harmony line, completing a piano version for their piece aka final draft.
6. This final draft will be submitted for a grade to the teacher as well (30% of the assignment grade.)
7. Once approved, each student will take turns, at the one computer, transferring their piece into a notation software the teacher will provide. Once complete the student will print out a copy and play the piece for the class on the playback feature on the software. (40% of assignment grade.)


Evaluations consist of periodic checks as described in the procedures and the final class playback. This will check to see that the student fully understands the aspects that needed to be covered in previous classes. Entire assignment could be a final exam or an evaluation for a unit.

Follow Up:

Whoever creates the most original arrangement of a piece (the teacher will choose) will get to have their piece performed by the choir or a soloist at the next concert (depending on the season.)

Items to Purchase:

Manuscript paper and notation software/computer and printer.

When budget should be submitted:

If items do not already exist then the items should be submitted for budget at the beginning of the year.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top