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This is a lesson plan on music composition




5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12  

Sandy Scott Toms

Lesson Plan Subject: Music

Lesson Plan Title: Composition in Seven Steps

The lesson plan:


COMPOSTION IN SEVEN STEPS – 5th grade & above

For this lesson, I would do this example as a class, give them a copy and then a worksheet like this with appropriate spaces and blanks.

(Student(s) has(have) chosen a 2-4 line singularly metered poem excerpt – though teacher may want to control this by offering the choices to simplify meters, language, etc.,) (For e-mail: Rhythm: // = 2 eighth notes; i = one quarter note; b = one half note; b-b (whole); /// = triplet; z = quarter rest; /z = eighth rest / = 1 eighth note)


1. “Speak your lines several times to yourself and mark the accented words (heavy beats) with a “>” over the accented syllables of words. (Might be advisable to have student write out words with dashes between syllables.) example: > > > >

Early to bed and early to rise

2. Insert bar lines before accented words except the first word. (Here I’ll use


example: > > > >

Early to / bed and / early to / rise /

3. Figure note values by first marking short lines under words for each beat. (Have student tap lightly on knee or desk a steady beat while marking the dashes under words; warn them that some words will have more beats than others and some one syllable words will have more than one word.

example: > > > >

Early to bed and early to rise

– – – – – – – – – – – –

How many beats do you have in each measure? Write in your meter signature. (2 = 2/4, 3 = 3/4, 4 = 4/4, 6 = 6/8) to the left of the first word.

example:3 6

4 Early to …… or 8 Early to bed

4. Now put note values under the marks for beats; any notes ‘held’ for more that one beat should have that value: the word “rise” has 3 so value = dotted half

(Here I would put each rhythmic symbol , “=” & number of beats as a crutch)

(# of beats: // = 1, i = 1, b = 2, b-i = 3)

example: > > > >

Early to bed and early to rise

– – – – – – – – – – – –

i i i b i i i i b-i

5. a. Write the words under the staff; b. Draw bar lines on staff between words where bar lines should go(I can’t do that here); c. Draw note values right over the words.






i i i b i i i i b-i

Early to bed and early to rise

6. Now compose a melody to fit the rhythm (Try to have the melody “fit” the words.) Try working with the key of C. Start on either E, G, or C and end the phrase on one of those three notes. Work with only half the phrase at a time. (“Early to bed” then “and early to rise.”)

As you pencil in possible notes over words, do it lightly (so that you can erase if you want) and be sure to use note values that you wrote in below the staff.

(Note: if students are using xylophones and are not adept with note names, have a cheat sheet with names & spaces marked)

7. When sure about the melody, ink it in; practice and perform!

(This lesson can be extended or picked up later when doing a unit on chord structure. They can decide and write in chords (I, IV, V7) for the measures.)

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