Song Writing Part 2: Students write their own song!

Song Writing Part 1 (previous post)

After working through Part 1 of this activity (view that blog post here), I like to have the students try to write their own song.

Song Writing Part 2 (this post)

I give each student their own copy of this file (FREE) – Song Writing Worksheet for Students (Editable Google Drive & DOCX Versions)

As a heads up, I like to do this with my middle school music students. I tell them that this is more about the PROCESS, than about the product. They will be self-conscious about their song, in particular their lyrics. I have had songs all about cheese, flying, their favorite movie, etc. It really doesn’t matter what they write about it so try to not let them stall on lyrics.

Also, there are many ways to write a song! You may think this process is backwards and crazy – that’s fine! This is a method I used because I was more focused on students learning how chord progressions are unpacked and used within accompaniments to songs they hear every day.

I do this activity in six steps and provide students with a guide. I’ve made that guide available FREE on our Teachers Pay Teachers store and it is editable so you can adjust this activity to fit your students needs!

Step 1: Lyrics. Write a brief chorus, and 2 verses. Don’t let the students hang up on this for too long.

Step 2: Generate a chord progression. Don’t worry, I use an auto generator for students to experiment with. Very little theory required! I direct students to They can experiment with the feel and key and select something to use. Just have them write their selections down in the worksheet boxes to use later.

Step 3: Enter the chord progressions into Noteflight (or another notation software). This is the step that it is probably crucial to have had students do the steps in Part 1 of these blog posts. I have them put the bass line in first, and then build the chords after. How I teach my students to complete this step is laid out from Part 1 of these blog posts.

Step 4: Write your melody. This is another step that students can get hung up on. I give them just a few pointers (included in the worksheet) and try not to let them worry too much. Again this is about PROCESS rather than product!

Step 5: Add drums. This is always one of my students’ favorite steps. This step can be optional if you want it to be, but I’ve found some students really enjoy adding crazy ridiculous drum patterns to their song. Anything that gets them excited, right?

Step 6: Create an ending. This is another simple step that can be optional. I usually only focus on this for the students that have been keeping pace and showing lots of effort. This can be an extra step to give their song some more finesse to their song.

Have the students share their songs with the class. This can be daunting for some – try not to let them stress about it. I know I sound like a broken record, but I will tell them process, not product!

I hope this activity can work in your classroom in some way – it is pretty open ended and really leaves a lot in your hands. I thought it could be useful for some to have a road map to help students create their own song.

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