Composing a Melody
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Aim: How can we create and perform a melody using our names?
Summary: Students compose and notate short melodies using their names.
Standards: US 1, 2, 3, 4, 5; NYC 1, 2, 3
Concept: Rhythm & Meter, Pitch
Artistic Process: performing, creating
Materials: Student Worksheet
Time Required: 20 minutes
- Form a circle and have students establish a steady beat by snapping fingers, patting knees, or clapping hands. Once the beat is established, go around the circle and have each student speak his or her name in rhythm.
- Pick a few names as examples and determine how many syllables are in each name.
- Using the Student Worksheet, have students assign a note value and a pitch for each syllable of their name. Students should compose their name melody within one to two measures in 4/4 meter – or Common Time. To help students get started, provide a few examples on the board (see Teacher Worksheet).
Download Teacher and Student Worksheet (PDF)
- In small groups, have students combine their name melodies into a larger composition, using rests to put space between each name.
- Have students perform their compositions for the class.
- Compose melodies for a sentence or poem.
- Give students different composition parameters, such as major or minor mode, types of rhythms, range of pitches, or expressive qualities.
- Compose melodies in 3/4 or 6/8 meter.