Composition Project


Recently in class we have reviewed famous composers and some of their music.  Many of these composers have used their music to portray an emotion or to tell a story.  In this project, we will be writing music and using it as a means to portray an emotion or tell our own story.


Students will use the following links to listen to examples of music that tells a story.

Vivaldi The Four Seasons

Berlioz Symphonie Fantastique



Keeping these examples in mind, students will think of an emotion or story they would like
            to portray in their own composition.  Using Microsoft Word, students will create a journal
            entry and write a short paragraph explaining the emotion or story they have chosen and why.
            Their journal entries will be graded using this rubric.


At this point, students are ready to create their music by going to the website
    Students may create an account or use the free live demo.
            When given the option, they should select treble voice for their composition.


             Students should keep in mind the minimum requirements for their composition, which
             can be found by using this rubric.  Students may find the following websites helpful
             to review music notation.


Music Lab Basics

Rhythm Music Lab

D     Once their composition is complete, students should print a copy and turn it in.  Keeping
           the noteflight website open, students should access their journal and write a second entry
           describing the process they used to compose their music.  Was it as hard or as easy as they
           had imagined?  Were they able to express their story/emotion the way they had wanted?

When their journal entry is finished, students should get into groups of two or three for the
            next step.  Students will reach this point at different times, which is okay.  Those who finish early
            will group up with others who finish early, and those who finish later will group with others who
            finish later.

At this point, students will play their composition for the others in their group.  They may tell
           the group members the story/emotion of their piece, or ask the group to guess after listening.
           Each group member is responsible for giving constructive feedback, stating one thing they liked
           and one thing that could be improved upon.  Group members will rate each other using this rubric.

G    After the groups have listened, given feedback, and rated one another, the groups will split back
           into individuals for one last journal entry.  The students should write about their experience in
           having their peers listen to their composition.  They should state whether the feedback they
           received was helpful, and if they would change anything about their composition now that they
           have received that feedback.  Students should save their journal as Music Composition Journal
           and send it to me via the school's shared folder titled Gillis.

           Students who finish early and are waiting for others to finish may review the websites on 
           this page or may go back to noteflight and write a second composition any way they desire.




Ideas for Working with Diverse Learners

This lesson can easily be simplifid or made more complex for a variety of students.  To simplify it, the composition requirements can be cut in half.  The journal entries can be shortened and even spoken to someone else to type or into a recorder instead of typed.  Head phones can be used to help increase computer volume and to eliminate distracting background noise.  Computer screens can be edited to cut out as much distracting information and colors as possible.


To make the assignment more complex, students can be required to write longer journal entries or to compose a second piece of music in addition to the first.  They could even be asked to lengthen their first composition, making it a more defined piece of music.



This lesson meets National Music Standards 4,5,7,& 8.

This lesson meets NETS-S Standards 1b, 2d,& 5b.

graphics credits