Mothers Day Composing Activity
Originally posted in 2008, I’ve revised the art and words, and put both the pre-reading and on-the-staff versions in the same file. They use less ink, too. Print only the version you want and save paper!
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Some students take meticulous care in writing their melody. Others dash it off as just one more thing they have to hurry through! Some like to add words and others want to change my rhythm all around. It’s interesting to watch their reaction and it’s fine with me! My rule is that it has to end on the tonic to work with my melody.
If you’ve never seen this kind of composing sheet, here is a quick tutorial.
- Use any 5-finger position.
- Sing the first 8 measures.
- Clap and count the rhythm of the last 8 measures until they know it well.
- Students write in the finger numbers they want to use inside the flower pictures. Be sure to use pencil! A good composer is always revising!
- Optional: Laminate and add a bow as a Mother’s Day present!
- Follow the same directions as above, except students write their melody on the staff.
- Students who are more advanced like to write in chords or notes in the l.h. and melody in the right.
- Beginning students limit their melody to the right hand in C position.
- Explain a good sounding melody often will end on the 5th note of the scale in measure 12 and the tonic key note in the last measure. This is a great opportunity to discuss how to write a good melody.
St Patrick’s Day Composing
In my never-ending quest to change everything on my website to portrait orientation, I have updated these two St. Patrick’s Day composing pages and put them together into one PDF file. It’s time-consuming, which is why it is taking me so long!
The first page is for composing on the staff. I wrote a little poem and put the rhythm above the staff. The student can write a melody with bass notes, or just the melody.
The pre-reading page has the rhythm written above shamrocks, and they write the finger numbers of their melody on the shamrocks.
I always suggest to my students to start and end on the same note if they want a singable melody and I suggest D using only white keys for an Irish sounding melody. It is always amazing to me that some students have an innate ability to come up with a good melody! Other students write notes willy-nilly here and there and it sounds rather like me composing 12-tone music for a theory class. 🙂
Some students want to compose melody and accompaniment, so I suggest they start with fifths in the left hand and use D minor and C parallel fifths. If they get carried away and want to expand their composition, check out the staff paper I’ve posted that has a braced grand staff, measures, and bar lines. It’s one of the pages in this bundle. Staff Paper Variety Pack
If you don’t know how to print only one page in a PDF bundle, there is a tutorial in my FAQ.
Every year I plan to remind teachers about these Mother’s Day composing activities on my website, but I always wait until it’s too late. This year I remembered in time for students to compose an ending and even memorize it before Mother’s Day. Here is the original post if you would like some suggestions on how to use it. Even if students have learned to read notes on the staff, they enjoy these simple composing activities.
Mother’s Day (pre-reading, no staff)
For older students, below is an “on the staff” printable. Notice there are skipping notes and hands together. Students can write a melody divided between the hands, or write a melody in one hand and an accompaniment in the other. Clever students can write words to their melody. By having the rhythm already written for them, it makes it easy to compose a melody.
Mother’s Day (beginner, on the staff)
I didn’t want to leave Dad off, so here is one for Father’s Day.
Father’s Day (beginner, on the staff)
These were originally posted about 6 years ago. I hope you enjoy seeing them again!
A Composing Activity
There were so many nice things some of you told me about my last composing activity, that I thought it would be fun to make another one. One teacher even sent me a picture that is very special to me! Some children need a break if they just finished the last composing activity. Use your teacher intuition or just ask them if they want to do another one.
Since Thanksgiving is almost here, I didn’t put too many notes in this song. Students can write just a melody, or they can write a melody with chords.
I have a student who wanted to write a melody with chords. I made some composing rules for him. After he decided on a key, he wrote the I chord in the first measure. Then in the 4th measure he wrote a V7 chord. The last note had to end on the tonic note with a I chord.
The hard part was to write a melody that would sound good with the chords. I told him to use a note that was in the chord. Some other hints are to use only steps and few skips, since this is such a short song. You can play the melody to Ode to Joy and to show how Beethoven wrote a famous melody using only 5 notes with mostly steps.
Now there are those who think this is not very creative. But some children are very fearful of composing and are not the type to sit at the piano and doodle around. This gives them some structure as well as make music theory come alive. Plus it is a way to do a little bit of composing in our very limited lesson time.
I am almost finished with the pre-reading version of this song that will be fun for 5-7 year old students. I’ll post it very soon.