Choose a subject area and concept.
Example: Science - the flea
Choose the music concept (or concepts) to incorporate into your song
Example: Steps and skips, increasing vocal range, interval of an octave
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 could continue the song with other facts or characteristics about the flea.)
Note: If you have trouble choosing a rhyming pattern, think of a nursery rhyme and use that rhythm and just change the words
and the tune.
Write an original melody for your rhyme which incorporates your chosen musical concept or concepts
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 lead 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.
Adding an introduction is helpful, but not required.
Now ask yourself the following questions:
Is the melody simple enough for children to learn relatively easily?
Is it too high/too low?
Is there enough repetition of melody and rhythm for it to be easily remembered?
Do the words flow according to their accented syllables?
Do you have enough chord changes to avoid unnecessary dissonance?
Notate in Finale and include standard Finale formatting
Include a title
Designate yourself as composer
Under the title, list the subject integration concept (both the subject are 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!
Number your measures (number every measure, not just the first on each line. See the Finale page
Indicate tempo and dynamics
Make sure you delete any extra measures at the end.
Use the lyric tool to add words to your song. Go to the
Finale link for simple instructions.
Scale your score down to fit on one page if possible. If it requires 2 pages, format the pages evenly. Instructions are included on the Finale Page
Make enough copies for each student in the class plus one to turn
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!
Any natural element (rain, wind, snow, sun, moon)
Colors which mix together to make other colors
Any animal, insect, bird, etc.
Language elements (nouns, verbs, alliteration, definitions)
Math concepts (times tables, prime numbers)
Cities, capitols, countries, continents
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
that children might not remember otherwise!