Choose a subject area and concept
Example: Science - the flea
musical subject area and concept.
Example: intervals - an octave leap
Write some words in rhyme form which teach a non-musical concept
If I were a flea, how happy I'd be; for now, I just walk down the street.
But if I were a flea, I'm much taller, you see - my hop would be 600 feet!
(This uses the concept that a flea can jump about 200 times its own body height. You
would continue the song with other facts or characteristics about the flea.)
Note: The example above would be only one verse of the
entire song, which would include other verses to teach various
content about the flea. Be sure that your content includes
real learning. For example, if my song just included content
about the flea hopping around, it really wouldn't qualify as
cross-curricular. Work with your content area to teach
Write an original melody for your rhyme which incorporates your chosen musical concept or concepts (do not use the tune to another song)
For example, your melody could contain an octave leap at "my hop". Or, you might continue the next line as a chorus
My hop, my hop, my hop would be hard to beat.
My hop, my hop, my hop would be 600 feet.
You could take the opportunity to use your octave skip on the first "my hop" (do to do) and maybe a skip of a 5th on the second one (do to sol). There are many possibilities.
|Include an accompaniment, either scored, or as fake sheet chords. If using chords, use a standard lead sheet format. Remember, it need not be harmonically complex. Tonic, dominant and subdominant chords will suffice. Just be sure that it can be reproduced by someone other than you in the future.
Include an introduction.|
Now ask yourself the following questions:
Is the melody simple enough for children to learn relatively easily?
Is it too high/too low? Is the range too wide?
Is there enough repetition of melody and rhythm for it to be easily remembered?
Do the words flow according to their accented syllables
(avoid syllable mismatch)?
Is there a definite and accurate rhyme scheme?
Do you have enough chord changes to avoid unnecessary dissonance?
Use a notation program to score your composition, such as Finale, Sibelius, or even a music notation app
Include a title
Designate yourself as composer
Under the title, list the subject integration concept (both the subject area and the specific lesson focus and the musical concept which can be taught through your song) I cannot grade the musical concept if I don't know what it is
intended to be!
Also include the specific grade level the song is written
for (1st grade, 5th grade, etc.; do not give me a range)
Indicate tempo and dynamics
Make sure you delete any extra measures at the end.
This should look like a publishable score.
The lyrics should be added to your score,
not separate from the music. If more than one verse, all
should go under the melody line to ensure that each verse of lyrics
fits the melody.
Scale your score down to fit on
a single page or 2 if possible. If it requires 2 or more pages, format the pages evenly. Instructions are included on the Finale Page if you are using Finale.
If you are using Finale for notation, this page may be useful to you. This is the page I use to teach my undergraduate students how to use Finale and it has lots of useful information, like how to add lyrics to your score.
|Record your song - Feel free to use whatever recording medium you like. If you are a newby, try Audacity. It's free and easy to use.
Be sure to include your accompaniment as part of the recording.
Nothing should be a cappella. If you teach children or have
children, consider recording them!|
Upload your recording to Soundcloud
Create a free account on the Soundcloud website
- Click Upload in the top right corner of the site
- Click Choose files
- Select the file you want to upload from your computer
- As the file is uploading, choose the Private option under Settings, so that the recording is not publicly available on the Soundcloud website (unless you want it public)
- Once the file has finished uploading, click Save at the bottom of the page
- Click the Share button on the page that loads with your recording
- In the popup box that appears, check Short next to Secret link
- Copy the shortened Secret link
- Paste the link in the discussion forum.
Note: I wrote these instructions a while back. If the
process has changed, please let me know.
Put the video
Paste the link in the discussion forum.
| || |
Examples of musical concepts to teach:
Here are some ideas for musical elements to emphasize. You can probably think of others.
road map (repeat signs, etc.)
form (rondo, ABA, strophic, etc.)
intervals (the sound, like a 5th or an octave)
meter (duple/triple, simple/compound)
movement (waltz, march)
note values (eighth notes, for example)
scales (minor scales, for example)
musical style (a particular type)
breath control (singing longer phrases)
increasing vocal range
partner songs (singing 2 parts)
canons and rounds
repetition and variation
Examples of Subject Integration Concepts
Here are some ideas for subject integration. Feel free to use any of these or one of your own choosing.
The possibilities are endless!
Please do not use a list (days of the week, the planets, etc.) unless you can also incorporate a traditional
and accurate rhyme scheme.
Any natural element (rain, wind, snow, sun, moon,
rocks, trees, plants, water)
Colors which mix together to make other colors
Any animal, insect, bird, etc.;
groups (dinosaurs, hibernators, marsupials)
Language elements (nouns, verbs, alliteration, definitions)
Math concepts (times tables, prime numbers)
Cities, capitols, countries, continents
Famous people (leaders, heroes, presidents, artists, musicians;
anyone they need to learn about)
Natural laws (gravity, perpetual motion)
Rules or laws (Bill of Rights, Smokey Bear stuff)
How to . . . (instructions for a dance, how to blow glass, pan for gold)
Health lesson (dangers of smoking, food pyramid)
Stories (song of story of Paul Bunyan, Tom Sawyer, Ann Frank)
Social issues (tolerance, prejudice, recycling)
Note: Be sure that your song
teaches something! Try to be more specific than just urging good decisions, kind words, or a reminder to brush your teeth.
Find content that might be difficult to remember or understand
without the use of your song.
Cross-Curricular Composition Rubric
What does it teach?
No score to grade
Both content areas lack substance
One content area lacks substance
Acceptable treatment of both content areas
Good treatment of both content areas
Excellent treatment of both content areas
Does it work?
Range, difficulty, dissonance
No score to grade
Unacceptable use of mechanics
Many errors in mechanics
Several errors in mechanics
Minimal errors in mechanics
No errors in mechanics
How does it look?
Tempo and dynamics
Composer, instrumentation, title
No extra measures or staves
No score to grade
Many errors in formatting
Several errors in formatting
Minimal errors in formatting
No errors in formatting