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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.
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)
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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.
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
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
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.