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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.
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
Very-Variation Music Composition Lesson Plan
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Very-Variation Music Composition Lesson Plan

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Lesson Plan Music Composition Elementary – Middle - High 2 - 3 lessons Students will compose a piece of music using basic variation form techniques. They will select a simple, well-known melody and create 3 to 4 variations, and practice and perform the composition. Objectives Within 2-3 lessons, students will compose a piece of music using basic variation techniques. In the process the student will: • Explore and analyze pitch and rhythm • Explore and analyze formal structure • Learn and memorize through practice to write a rhythmic and/or melodic motif and develop a motif • Learn, review and practice basic compositional techniques such as repetition, sequence and/or fragmentation to create variations • Analyze the character and mood changes particular variations techniques lend to a piece • Explore variation form as a basic technique of extending a composition • Acquire, review or practice basic staff notation Concepts • Melody • Rhythm • Motif • Repetition • Sequence • Fragmentation • Character/Mood • Tonality • Accompaniment style • Meter
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.
Emoji Moments Music Composition Lesson Plan
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Emoji Moments Music Composition Lesson Plan

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Students will compose a piece of music that is inspired by emoji. They will use the emoji as visual cue to generate short 4-bar phrases. They will link the phrases to form a larger piece, name their compositions, practice and perform the composition. Included: Composition template and emoji graphic organizer for planning the composition. Objectives Within 2-4 lessons, students will compose a piece of music based on the emotion suggested by an emoji. In the process the student will: • Acquire knowledge of music elements: melody, harmony, timbre, rhythm • Acquire knowledge of performance directions that suggest emotion: tempo, dynamics, and articulation. • Learn and memorize through practice to write the 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 by linking short 4-bar phrases • Acquire, review or practice basic staff notation • Make creative decisions on the overall plan of a composition
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
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.
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)
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.
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
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
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.
Scale-Trail Music Composition Lesson Plan
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Scale-Trail Music Composition Lesson Plan

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Lesson Plan Music Composition Elementary – Middle - High 1-4 lessons Students will compose a melody using a scale, (with optional template provided) but within certain structural and tonal parameters. They will practice and perform the melody. Use major/minor or chromatic as needed for your syllabus. Objectives Within one lesson, students will compose a scale-based melody. In the process the student will: • Explore rhythms as per their curriculum guide • Explore pitch as per their curriculum guide • Explore the steps of a scale • Learn, review and practice basic compositional techniques such as repetition, sequence and/or fragmentation if the scale- melody is used to extend into a larger piece • Explore basic techniques of “linking” sections of a composition through scales • Acquire, review or practice basic staff notation Concepts • Melody • Rhythm • Scale • Steps of the scale • Home note / tonic (tonal center) • Whole tone/Half tone Photocopiable template included
Sound and Silence Music Composition Lesson Plan
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Sound and Silence Music Composition Lesson Plan

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Overview Middle and High School 4-6 lessons Students will compose a multi-media composition. They will name the project, and practice and perform the composition synchronizing live self-composed and recorded music with a slide-show presentation. The composition is designed as a 2-minute (20 seconds per slide) performance with the accompanying 10-image slideshow. Optional: Make your own 10-image slideshow presentation. Objectives Within 4-6 lessons, students will prepare a project inspired by a 10-image slideshow. In the process the student will: • Acquire knowledge of the different ways in which images inspire sound; • Analyze the graphic and artistic qualities of an image to determine the exact parameters of how the image may inspire sound; • Use a graphic organizer to delineate the sound structure; • Plan the structure of a composition; • Learn and memorize through practice to write motifs reflecting the image; • Focus on the interplay between sound and silence; • Learn, review and practice basic compositional techniques such as repetition, sequence and/or fragmentation • Practice short melodic fragments on a melodic instrument; • Explore basic techniques of extending a composition; • Acquire, review or practice basic staff notation and graphic notation; • Explore various recording options of self-composed materials; • Plan a multi-media presentation of live and recorded music synchronized with images. Concepts • Program Music • Melody and rhythm • Motif • Repetition • Sequence • Fragmentation • Sound and silence
Composing with "Stuff" Music Composition Lesson Plan
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Composing with "Stuff" 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 selections of manipulatives (“stuff”), e.g. buttons, string, post-it notes, etc., to establish 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 line-space-line, or skips, or the steps of a scale • Learn, review and practice basic writing techniques such as line, space, skips, note size, grammar or writing, spacing of notes, placing notes on a staff, stem directions, etc. • Explore basic techniques of starting a composition • Acquire, review or practice basic staff notation Concepts • Melody • Rhythm • Pitch • Staff • Home note • Stepwise and skips • Pitch relationships
Fall Foliage Music Composition Lesson Plan
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Fall Foliage Music Composition Lesson Plan

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Students will compose an instrumental piece (for elementary school) or a song with lyrics and melody (middle school), using a step-by-step guide, celebrating Fall. Leaf template provided to make either a shaped composition (Concrete Poem) or to add to a wall display, bulletin board for presentation. Within 2-4 lessons, elementary school students will compose a song. In the process the student will: • Explore visual connectors between falling leaves and “falling” (descending) melodic line • Explore high to low in pitch • Use a treble staff plotting high to low lines • Learn line notes or space notes on the treble staff • Perform with attention to mood, color, tempo to reflect falling leaves Within 2-4 lessons, middle school students will compose a song. In the process the student will: • Explore “synonyms” • Plan a poem • Connect the “self” to the poem • Scan a poem for stressed syllables • Identify the pulse of the poem • Segment the poem to segment into measures • Rework a poem into lyrics • Explore basic techniques of extending, fragmenting, developing a poem into lyrics • Acquire, review or practice basic staff notation
Meet and Greet on the Beat "Start-of-the-school-year Introductions"
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Meet and Greet on the Beat "Start-of-the-school-year Introductions"

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Music Composition Lesson Plan Students will compose music using a basic steady beat and introduce chanting/rapping speech rhythms to the beat. After the initial improvisatory phase, students will notate the rhythms they chanted to the beat. In the process the students will: • Introduce themselves at the start of the school year • Learn about steady beat, pulse, meter, metronome • Learn about chanting/rapping speech patterns to a rhythm • Learn about rhythm and basic note values • Distinguish between beat and rhythm • Improvise rhythm patterns using self-generated lyrics • Compose rhythm patterns using self-generated lyrics • Explore basic techniques of extending a composition • Acquire, review or practice basic theory knowledge • Perform to a steady beat (provided by a metronome or backtrack)
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