Category Archives: Composing Activities

New Pre-reading Autumn and Halloween Sheets

Leaves Are Blowing and What Will I Be on Halloween are (free) beginning pre-reading pieces for young piano beginners. Years ago I published the companions to these pieces which you can find at this link: Free Halloween Music for Beginners

The originals were for the left hand and I never got around to making matching pieces for the right hand. Thanks to a reminder from a reader, that has been fixed now!

This set of pre-reading pieces not only help beginners learn the groups of two and three black keys, which of course, is essential if students are going to learn the names of piano keys, but they are also beginning composing pieces. In order to compose, students need to use their imagination and have a vision. I think it is safe to say composers get their start improvising and doodling around.

What I would like to see is students get carried away playing what they “will be” or how blowing leaves might be expressed on the piano. Sometimes teachers and parents get frustrated with students playing around on the piano and not practicing their assigned pieces.  But as long as there is a balance, who knows what budding Beethoven we might be cultivating!

Don’t forget you can save ink by printing only one copy and saving it in a sheet protector. You can also download these into your iPad to save on printing.

You have posted on Facebook and emailed me such precious videos of your students improvising and having fun! I hope your students have fun with these!

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Filed under Composing Activities, Halloween and Autumn, Pre-reading, Preschool Music Resources

Any Day Composing Sheets

ComposingSheets

Pre-Reading Composing Sheet

Grand Staff Composing Sheet

Some teachers asked me for composing sheets they could use any time of the year, without a theme. I’ve made them for every season, but I’ve never made any that can be used all year. That sounded like a good project to add to my collection!

I made two sheets, one for pre-reading students who know finger numbers, and one with a grand staff in 4/4 meter. If you are new to these, the pre-reading version is for students who have just started piano and can’t read notes very well.  This gives them something fun to do with you at the lesson or in a group.  Students write their finger numbers or note names in the yellow starbursts.  When they change hands, they have to indicate RH or LH. The grand staff version can be used many ways but most young children write a melody divided between the hands. The reason I add the rhythm is to give some structure and speed the process along.

However, if you are looking for blank staff paper for your older students or yourself, I have many different kinds and sizes here. Check out the one with the clefs and measures already written.

Staff Paper Variety Pack

Staff Paper Variety Pack

If you use any of these sheets, it would give me just a lot of pleasure to see what the students wrote. Take a picture of it or make a video of your students playing and email it to me or post it on my Facebook page. Let me know if I have permission to post it!

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Filed under Composing Activities, Group lesson ideas, Preschool Music Resources, Staff Paper

Father’s Day Beginning Composing Activity

FathersDay

Fathers Day Composing Activity

Were you a Daddy’s girl? I was. I remember my Dad sitting at his desk working while I played the piano next to him for hours. He was a wonderful audience and always so supportive, never suggesting I take a break. Since I was usually making up stuff, that is pretty amazing! Back then, my parents were told that my hands were too “small” for piano lessons. Fortunately after several years of playing by ear, they tried again and found a teacher for me!

With Father’s Day in the summer, Dads are often left out when it comes to student-made gifts. So if you are teaching in June, here is a composing activity for a Father’s Day gift.

This music is actually a remake of the one I posted about 8 years ago. I updated the entire page and even changed the hand position.

As you can see, the left hand is not in Middle C position. I have found that if students get used to putting their hands in different positions from the beginning, they learn to read by intervals easier. However, every teacher is different so feel free to “white out” finger numbers.

If you’re new to beginning composing pages, here is how to use the pre-reading page – the one without a staff.

  • The student plays the part of the page that has words using finger numbers.
  • The student makes up a tune to fit the rhythm in the part with stars, using the rhythm above the stars. The last note should be C.
  • Students write the finger numbers of their melody in the yellow stars.
  • Some students also like to write words.

I use this as a way to introduce how to write a melody, so I instruct students to end on the key note, which in this piece is C. Encourage him/her to move down or up an octave. It is fun to discuss how Dads have low voices, so my students like to move down to the bass notes for the last four measures.

Writing music on a staff is difficult for children.That is why we break it down into small steps. Since the rhythm is given to them, they can concentrate on the melody.

Of course, students also love to doodle around and make up their own pieces, like I used to do for my Dad. I encourage my beginners to memorize these “compositions” because the music is usually beyond their abilities to write down.

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Filed under Composing Activities, Group lesson ideas, Preschool Music Resources

Mother’s Day Beginning Composing

MothersDay

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!

If you have trouble printing these, please save them to your desk top or in any file and the file. If you subscribe to this blog, don’t try to print  from the email that you receive from WordPress. Also, if you have upgraded to Windows 10, you might not be able to open my files unless you make some changes. Check out my FAQ for more help.

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.

Pre-reading

  • 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!

On-the-staff

  • 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.

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Filed under Composing Activities, Holiday Activities and Worksheets, Preschool Music Resources