Teaching Songwriting in Music Class

Teaching Songwriting in Music Class

Hi Friends,songwriting is one of my favorite units to teach. Here are my tips and ideas for teaching songwriting in music class.

TEACHING SONGWRITING IN MUSIC CLASS

My 5th and 6th graders really get into it and it is a great way to get to know your students.   I like to kick off the unit with sharing some of my favorite activities with them and then have them share back.

Since I love to road bike and try to get out doors as much as possible, it’s fun for them to see me in a different way.

Each summer I get the chance ride up in the mountains and learn what it means to really climb a hill.

Although it’s hard, I have some tricks I use to keep my mind focused on the task at hand- pedaling.  So, I write songs to keep distracted!

 

 

So while I was riding up a steep hill, I made up a little song as I pushed those pedals. I do that often when I have something  menial or hard to do. I just begin putting rhyming sentences together and make up silly songs.
Here’s one to the tune of “If You’re Happy and You Know It”. I was actually thinking of the version, “I Wish I Were a Little Bar of Soap”, because I was sweating up a storm as I pedaled slowly up the mountain.

Oh, I wish I was a little bar of soap, bar of soap

Oh, I wish I was a little bar of soap, bar of soap.

I’d go slidey, slidey, slidey over every-body’s hidey,

Oh, I wish I was a little bar of soap, bar of soap.

Oh, I wish I was a little bar of soap, bar of soap.

I think that I was wishing pedaling is as easy as washing hands with soap!

HOW TO BEGIN TEACHING SONGWRITING

Since I only see my students 1 time a week, I realize that it will take longer to get them to compose anything.  So I use this beginning idea that usually works for everyone.

A simple, yet effective tool to help students get composing is to use a familiar game song.

Try doing this on a white board, in your online music class, or in small groups.

Here are the basic steps:

Sing, play and learn the music and then introduce the idea that they could change the words and create and compose their own song.

You might try using a familiar song.

I came up with these words:
Oh I wish I were a speedy road bike.
Oh I wish I were a speedy road bike.
I would ride where I would like—
And I’d never take a hike—
Oh I wish I were a speedy road bike.
If you choose to do this activity in small groups, I have found that smaller groups work better and give everyone a voice in the project.

MATERIALS TO HELP STUDENTS BEGIN SONGWRITING

Then I came up with the idea to create a lesson plan about songwriting where students gain inspiration from a picture from summer vacation.
My students responded very well to images. They were great conversation starters too.
Since I teach guitar, it’d be a great way to kick off learning a one finger chord and a one chord song.
So I created this  lesson plan on songwriting where students bring in a picture from summer vacation and compose a short song.
How about this one to the tune of Frere Jacques inspired by the picture of me on a trip to Colorado (think Sound of Music) .

Mr. Mountain, Mr. Mountain,
You are tall, you are tall.
I am climbing slowly,
I am climbing slowly.
Please don’t fall,
Please don’t fall.

FOLK SONGS FOR SONGWRITING ACTIVITIES

“This Old Man” is easy to use and well enough known to most students.  I also integrate creating ostinato (i) and note reading in this unit.

I like to begin songwriting with  easy and very doable lessons to help students gain confidence in their ability to compose.

Here’s the link to the “This Old Man” Music Lesson Resource

THIS OLD MAN

Even though you may not have started teaching songwriting, it’s never too late.  I created a freebie for you to use in your classroom.

All you have to do is SUBSCRIBE to the SING PLAY CREATE NEWSLETTER to get over 60 FREE RESOURCES.

This easy songwriting activity is a great ice breaker to get to know your students and introduce them to songwriting.

I’ve made it pretty flexible so that whether playing xylophones, keyboards, ukuleles or guitars, you’ll be able to use the activity.

Free composing activity from Sing Play Create

I’ve created a complete set of worksheets that you can print and use in your class without any prep.

First, students can play the songs using the sheet music and the note names.

Next, students will brainstorm their ideas-

And finally, they’ll add in their own lyrics to the songs and be able to present it to the class.

Easy and No Prep!

And- I hope you’ll subscribe to my newsletter to get more FREE  Original and Creative resources every month.
You’ll want to gain full access to my Monthly Newsletter and all of the Blog Freebies by subscribing. Each month I add more Freebies to the resource library.
I hope you’ll subscribe and share with me how you used this lesson and some of your students songs.
Sandra from Sing Play Create

Like this post? Share this fun activity with your music teacher friends!

 

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. susan

    thank you so much for sharing your experiences and ideas miss…..It was a great idea and very helpful for my music teaching strategies…God Bless you and family…

    1. Sandra

      You are welcome! I’m glad you found something useful to use here at Sing Play Create.

Comments are closed.

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