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Lesson plans, activities, ideas and resources for listening, composing and performing.

Lesson plans, activities, ideas and resources for listening, composing and performing.
Found Sound Music Composition Lesson Plan
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Found Sound Music Composition Lesson Plan

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Students will compose a piece of music using found sound. They will focus on composing for an UNUSUAL instrument e.g. vegetables/straws/toys, name the composition, and practice and perform the composition. The composition assignment is designed for individual, pair, small group or whole group composition. Objectives Within 1-2 lessons, students will compose a piece of music inspired by a found object. In the process the student will: • Acquire knowledge of the sound production possibilities of an object • Learn about tone production, timbre, and pitch • Learn, review and practice basic compositional techniques such as repetition, sequence and/or fragmentation • Explore the principles of rhythmic variation • Notate and practice short rhythm sections • Explore basic playing techniques • Acquire, review or practice basic rhythm notation Composition template for handout included.
Ringtones II Music Composition Lesson Plan
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Ringtones II Music Composition Lesson Plan

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Music Composition and Technology lesson plan: Ringtones II for Advanced. Students will compose or generate a ringtone, save it as a file, and upload to their cellphone/mobile. This lesson is for more advanced groups using the class set of iPads or their personal iPad or cellphone/mobile. The GarageBand app would need to be installed on the device. • Acquire a knowledge of how to compose a ringtone using GarageBand • Save the newly created composition in GarageBand and export as a ringtone • Find the ringtone on your phone’s settings and set as new ringtone Concepts • Ringtones • Composition length • Loop • Instrument • Timbre Included: screen shots for setting up the ringtone and student assignment sheet.
Radio Drama
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Radio Drama

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Students will compose a radio or audio drama. Music Composition Elementary – Middle - High • Acquire knowledge of the genre radio or audio drama • Learn how to develop a poem/play or skit into an audio version • Analyze, plan and develop radio drama components, e.g., narrative, dialogue, title music, sting, ambient sound, sound effects • Plot a soundboard for a radio/audio drama • Explore basic techniques of layering sound • Acquire, review or practice technology for performing and making a sound recording Concepts • Radio drama • Audio drama • Narrative • Voice actor • Dialogue • Sound/Silence • Theme music • Background music • Sound effects • Sting • Ambient sound
Secret Codes Music Composition Lesson
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Secret Codes Music Composition Lesson

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Overview Lesson Plan Music Composition Elementary - Middle 2 - 4 lessons Students will compose a piece of music that has secret codes (their names, last names, birth month, etc.) embedded in the melody. They will name their compositions, practice and perform the composition with a provided backtrack for live recording of the final product. As follow-up activity in successive lessons, explore adding accompaniment. Objectives Within 2-4 lessons, students will compose a piece of music based on the 7 musical letters. In the process the student will: • Acquire knowledge of the 7 musical letters, ABCDEFG • Learn and memorize through practice to write the 7 musical letters on the treble staff • Learn, review and practice basic note values • Practice short melodic fragments on a melodic instrument • Explore basic techniques of extending a composition • Acquire, review or practice basic staff notation • Play a melody to a steady beat (provided by a backtrack)
Ringtones Music Composition Lesson Plan
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Ringtones Music Composition Lesson Plan

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Students will compose a basic, short cellphone (mobile phone) ringtone composition. Within 2 lessons, students will compose a short piece of cellphone ringtone music. • Acquire a knowledge of the characteristics of a ringtone • Analyze well-known ringtones • Compose a loop pattern Concepts • Ringtones • Composition length • Loop • Rhythm • Notation • Timbre Included: sample ringtones and an assignment rubric handout
Music and Math Music Composition Lesson Plan
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Music and Math Music Composition Lesson Plan

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Students will compose a short composition based on math principles using Google Song Maker and save it as a file. This lesson is for all age groups using the class set of iPads or their personal iPad or cell phone. Within 2 - 3 lessons, students will compose a short piece of music. • Acquire a knowledge of how to compose a 4-bar melody (for younger students) or multiple bar melody (older students) • Use math skills of number knowledge: even numbers, odd numbers, prime numbers, square numbers • Make musical decisions on timbre, rhythm, pitch patterns • Save the newly created composition
Leitmotif Music Composition Lesson Plan
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Leitmotif Music Composition Lesson Plan

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Students will compose a leading motif (leitmotif) that illustrates a feature of the character to be represented. Within 2-3 lessons, students will compose a leading motif inspired by a character from a story, poem or movie. In the process the student will: • Analyze a character for specific features • Identify and define descriptive elements of the character • Make connections between character and music • Analyze how visual image and sound image are similar and different • Explore new writing and playing techniques to accommodate musical characterization • Explore leitmotif as compositional device Includes: Aslan from The Chronicles of Narnia leitmotif graphic organizer example, and a template to generate musical features ideas for the leitmotif. Adaptable for all grade levels. Particularly popular for generating leitmotifs for Disney movie characters or superhero movie characters.
Template Time Music Composition Lesson Plan
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Template Time Music Composition Lesson Plan

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8 templates to kick off the school year with some structured activity. The templates are from very basic to more advanced. The template gives the teacher opportunity to assess prior knowledge, work on writing grammar (how to draw those notes!), and have a ready work sheet to ease the start of the school year writing activities. Objectives Within one lesson, students will compose a structured piece on a template. In the process the student will: • Explore rhythms as per their curriculum guide • Explore pitch as per their curriculum guide • Work on notation grammar: how to draw the notes, stems, size of notes, how to space notes in a measure, etc. • Learn, review and practice basic compositional techniques such as motif, repeats, long note endings, etc. • Explore basic techniques of extending a composition • Acquire, review or practice basic staff notation
Body Music, Music Composition Lesson Plan
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Body Music, Music Composition Lesson Plan

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Students will compose a piece of “body music*” (Keith Terry, Crosspulse). They will name their compositions, and practice and perform the composition with an optional additional accompaniment (self-composed or backtrack). Templates, graphic organizers, composition plan included. Objectives Within 2-4 lessons, students will compose a piece of music inspired by body percussion. In the process the student will: • Acquire knowledge of the basic formal structure of a composition • Learn and memorize through practice to write a rhythmic motif • Learn, review and practice basic compositional techniques such as repetition and/or fragmentation • Practice short rhythmic fragments • Explore basic techniques of extending a composition • Acquire, review or practice basic rhythm notation • Acquire, review or practice concepts of meter, time signature, beat, pulse and rhythm.
Spin 'n Win
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Spin 'n Win

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Aleatoric (Chance Music) Composition lesson for kids: Students will compose a melody using a random selector for pitch (paper pinwheel spinner) to generate pitches for a melody. Within one to four lessons, students will compose a melody and expand it to a larger piece. In the process the students will: • Explore the steps of a scale • Explore pitch • Explore rhythms as per your curriculum guide • Understand functional concepts about tones within the scale: home note/tonic (tonal center) • Learn, review and practice basic compositional techniques such as repetition, sequence and/or fragmentation if the melody is used to extend into a larger piece • Explore basic techniques of extending a composition • Acquire, review or practice basic staff notation or solfege writing
Landscape Soundscape Music Composition Lesson
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Landscape Soundscape Music Composition Lesson

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Overview Lesson Plan and Appendix A Music Composition Elementary – Middle - High 2 - 3 lessons Students will compose a piece of music using a landscape as inspiration. They will name their compositions, and practice and perform the composition. Objectives Within 2-3 lessons, students will compose a piece of music inspired by a landscape. In the process the student will: • Analyze a visual image • Identify and define elements of art and music: line, color, form, contour, contrast, etc. • Make connections between various art forms • Analyze how visual image and sound image are similar and different • Explore new writing and playing techniques to accommodate soundscape creation • Explore soundscapes as compositional device Concepts • Contour • Line • Scales • Pitch • Timbre (tone color) • Glissando • Accents • Dynamics • Mood
Soundwalks and Sound Map Music Composition and Technology Lesson Plan
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Soundwalks and Sound Map Music Composition and Technology Lesson Plan

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Students will make one or more of the following: Design and participate in a Sound Walk, documenting, recording, and noting the sound of the environment. Make a Soundwalk composition Make a Soundwalk map Make a digital sound map Objectives Within 2-6 lessons, students will compose a digital Sound Map based on the undertaken Soundwalk. In the process the student will: • Acquire knowledge of Soundwalks • Acquire knowledge of Sound maps • Acquire an awareness of the sounds of the environment • Design a Sound Walk • Design a Sound Map • Record sound for digital placement on the Sound Map • Become familiar with software such as mapme.com • Understand the significance of documenting and preserving our physical environment in sound Concepts • Sound Map: Cartographic, Compositional, Performative • Soundwalk • Acoustic Environment • Soundscape Included: Sound Walk Checklist template
Word Painting Music Composition Lesson Plan
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Word Painting Music Composition Lesson Plan

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Students will compose a piece of music using a melodic technique that illustrates the meaning of words. Objectives Within 2-3 lessons, students will compose a piece of music inspired by a rhyme, poem or text. In the process the student will: • Analyze a text • Identify and define descriptive elements of the text • Make connections between text and music • Analyze how textual image and sound image are similar and different • Explore new writing and playing techniques to accommodate musical word painting • Explore word painting as compositional device Included: Graphic organizer for text analysis and sample Word Painting composition
Tell a Tale Music Composition Lesson Plan
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Tell a Tale Music Composition Lesson Plan

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Students will compose a piece of music that is inspired by a short narrative. This lesson is aimed at the piano studio, but works equally well for the general music class. Objectives Within 2-4 lessons, students will compose a piece of music based on a narrative. In the process the student will: • Acquire knowledge of how to characterize sound to be descriptive • Learn more about descriptive/program music • Learn, review and practice basic note values • Learn how to use basic notes and rhythms to produce a particular mood or character • Practice short melodic patterns on an instrument • Explore basic techniques of creating mood, character and description in a composition • Acquire, review or practice basic staff notation Included: sample composition and 9 short sample narratives to use
Let's Jazz-a-Tazz Music Composition Lesson Plan
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Let's Jazz-a-Tazz Music Composition Lesson Plan

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This lesson is aimed at the piano studio. Students will compose a piece of piano music based on a well-known melody and follow a step-by-step guide to “jazzify” the piece. Objectives Within 4-6 lessons students will prepare a jazzy piece for piano. In the process the student will: • Acquire knowledge of the different ways in which a piece may be altered. • Analyze the various parameters that may be altered to achieve a different style, e.g., rhythm, melody, effects, etc. • Plan the structure of a composition. • Focus on the interplay between recognizable melodic material and jazz-effect development of the material. • Learn, review and practice basic compositional techniques such as repetition, sequence and/or ornamentation. • Practice short “jazzified” melodic fragments on the piano. • Explore basic techniques of extending a composition. • Acquire, review or practice melodic and rhythmic staff notation. Concepts • Accompaniment jazz bass styles, e.g., boogie bass, stride bass, etc. • Crushed notes • Seventh chord • Syncopated rhythm • Dotted rhythms • Melodic “filler” A 6-step plan is provided to "jazzify" a piece.
Tap-Clap-Snap Music Composition Lesson Plan
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Tap-Clap-Snap Music Composition Lesson Plan

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Students will compose an instrumental piece that includes a body percussion part. This lesson is aimed at piano composition. Objectives Within 3-4 lessons (depending on level), students will prepare a piece. In the process the student will: • Use current notation skills; • Use standard notation; • Expand rhythm skills; • Learn to write for a non-melodic part; • Consider how a percussive part enhances a melodic composition. Concepts • Beat • Rhythm • Percussion • Upbeat (anacrusis) • Strong beat • Echo • Repetition Included: Sample composition and prompts.
One-Day Music Composition Lesson Plan
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One-Day Music Composition Lesson Plan

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Lesson Plan Elementary - Middle - High School 2-4 lessons Students will compose a piece of music based on word games. They will practice and perform the composition with an optional additional accompaniment (self-composed or backtrack) to match the composition topic. Objectives Within 2-4 lessons, students will compose a piece of music for voice and speech choir inspired by a play on the words “day”. In the process the student will: • Explore speech rhythms • Translate a speech rhythm to notation • Learn and memorize through practice to write a rhythmic motif and develop a motif • Learn, review and practice basic compositional techniques such as repetition, sequence and/or fragmentation • Explore setting words to music • Practice short fragments on a instrument • Explore basic techniques of extending a composition • Acquire, review or practice basic staff notation Concepts • Melody • Rhythm • Motif • Repetition • Sequence • Fragmentation • Voice parts • Triads • Setting words to a rhythm
Melody Maker Music Composition Lesson Plan
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Melody Maker Music Composition Lesson Plan

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Overview Lesson Plan Music Composition Elementary – Middle - High 1 lesson Students will compose a melody using a random selector for pitch, but within certain structural and tonal parameters. They will practice and perform the melody. Objectives Within one lesson, students will compose a melody. In the process the student will: • Explore rhythms as per their curriculum guide • Explore the steps of a scale • Understand functional concepts about tones within the scale: home note/tonic (tonal center), semitone relationship of steps 3-4 and 7-8 • Learn, review and practice basic compositional techniques such as repetition, sequence and/or fragmentation if the melody is used to extend into a larger piece • Explore basic techniques of extending a composition • Acquire, review or practice basic staff notation Concepts • Melody • Rhythm • Tonal system (major, minor) • Semitones • Home note / tonic (tonal center) • Scale • Pitch relationships
Try-Triads Music Composition Lesson Plan
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Try-Triads Music Composition Lesson Plan

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By Dr. Adriana Janse van Rensburg Lesson Plan Music Composition Elementary – Middle -High 2 - 4 lessons Students will compose a piece of music by using only triads to create a melody and accompaniment. Objectives Within 2-4 lessons, students will compose a piece of music based on the three notes of a triad. In the process the student will: • Explore the concept “triad”. • Write triads in root position. • Explore “block” and “broken” chords. • Write a melody or accompaniment pattern based on triad manipulation. Concepts • Triad • Block Chord • Arpeggiated or Broken Chord • Primary Triads (I, IV , V) • Thirds • Harmonic Progression • Cadence • Harmonic scheme/plan Photocopiable templates included.
Auld-End-Games Music Composition Lesson Plan
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Auld-End-Games Music Composition Lesson Plan

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Students will compose a piece of music based on musical fragmentation of the song "Auld Lang Syne". For Studio or School: Late elementary - High School. They will name their compositions, and practice and perform the composition with an optional additional accompaniment (self-composed or from the original sheet music). The composition assignment is designed as an individual composition (e.g. for use in the piano studio setting) or as a classroom composition (e.g. for use in schools). Objectives Within 1-2 lessons, students will compose a piece of music inspired by a given composition (in this example Auld Lang Syne). In the process the student will: • Acquire knowledge of the motivic structure of a composition • Learn and memorize through practice to fragment and develop a motif • Learn, review and practice basic compositional techniques such as repetition, sequence and/or fragmentation • Explore the principles of variation • Practice short melodic fragments on a melodic instrument • Explore basic techniques of extending a composition • Acquire, review or practice basic staff notation Concepts: • Melody • Rhythm • Motif • Repetition • Sequence • Fragmentation • Variation