Elementary Music Links











Write a children's song based on the criteria below.





Cross-curricular composition

Compose a children's song which incorporates a valid  connection to another subject area (cross-curricular), while incorporating a musical concept to use in your curriculum.  Be aware that the MOST important criteria I will use in grading this is:


Could you actually use this in an elementary classroom and would it help them learn something they might not remember otherwise?!!


Note:  Do not plagiarize this assignment.  Anyone turning in a composition that is not original will fail the class - not the assignment - THE CLASS. 




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:

  1. Is the melody simple enough for children to learn relatively easily?

  2. Is it too high/too low?

  3. Is there enough repetition of melody and rhythm for it to be easily remembered?

  4. Do the words flow according to their accented syllables?

  5. Do you have enough chord changes to avoid unnecessary dissonance?



Notate in Finale and include standard Finale formatting 

  1. Include a title

  2. Designate yourself as composer

  3. 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!

  4. Number your measures (number every measure, not just the first on each line.  See the Finale page for instructions.

  5. Indicate tempo and dynamics

  6. Make sure you delete any extra measures at the end.

  7. Use the lyric tool to add words to your song.  Go to the Finale link for simple instructions.

  8. 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

  9. Make enough copies for each student in the class plus one to turn in.



Finale Page



Examples of musical concepts to teach:

Here are some ideas for musical elements to emphasize.  You can probably think of others.

  1. steps/leaps

  2. road map (repeat signs, etc.)

  3. form (rondo, ABA, strophic, etc.)

  4. syncopation

  5. dotted rhythms

  6. intervals (the sound, like a 5th or an octave)

  7. dynamics

  8. phrases

  9. high/low

  10. meter (duple/triple, simple/compound)

  11. movement (waltz, march)

  12. note values (eighth notes, for example)

  13. scales (minor scales, for example)

  14. consonance/dissonance

  15. tempo

  16. blue notes

  17. harmony

  18. creative movement

  19. steady beat

  20. musical style (a particular type)

  21. breath control (singing longer phrases)

  22. increasing vocal range

  23. diction

  24. conducting

  25. key signatures

  26. pitch matching

  27. PSP

  28. melodic direction

  29. pickup notes

  30. partner songs (singing 2 parts)

  31. canons and rounds

  32. accents

  33. repetition and variation

  34. sequences

  35. scat singing

  36. themes

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!

  1. Any natural element (rain, wind, snow, sun, moon)

  2. Colors which mix together to make other colors

  3. Any animal, insect, bird, etc.

  4. Language elements (nouns, verbs, alliteration, definitions)

  5. Math concepts (times tables, prime numbers)

  6. Cities, capitols, countries, continents

  7. Discoveries, inventions

  8. Discoverers, inventors

  9. Natural laws (gravity, perpetual motion)

  10. Rules or laws (Bill of Rights, Smokey Bear stuff)

  11. How to . . . (instructions for a dance, how to blow glass, pan for gold)

  12. Health lesson (dangers of smoking, food pyramid)

  13. Stories (song of story of Paul Bunyan, Tom Sawyer, Ann Frank)

  14. Social issues (tolerance, prejudice, recycling)

Note:  Be sure that your song teaches something that children might not remember otherwise!






Created and maintained by Vicky V. Johnson



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