The Save Button: Turning a Small Activity into an Epic Masterpiece


      Often to satisfy Bloom’s taxonomy during the teaching of a concept we tend to go through many activities to satisfy every type of learner in our classroom. Something I have seen myself doing on more than one occasion is having my classes do a small activity that really leads to no where other than showing me they know how to make a melody or the difference between a rest or quarter note. I have a really big belief that in order for my students to best understand music is to make their own so we tend to do a lot of small composing activities. 

      I changed all those activities up for my 5th graders this quarter. It was around digital portfolio time a few weeks ago and I had nada. So instead of doing a repeat of projects in the past or an activity that did not lead to much more than a reinforcement concept. I went with a new idea of Step by Step songs.


          You could do this with whatever notation software you have. I decided on QComposer in Quaver music because it was easiest for me. Our build up from beginning to end was:

  • We started with a simple melody line on the treble clef. They were given specific expectations to do this.
  • The first step included only quarter notes and rests, I then had them substitute some of those notes for eighth notes.
  • We learned about the bass line next! We added in the same note that was on the treble line to the bass clef line.
  • Chords were our last step. Since we still were shaky on the bass line, the 5th graders put their chords on the treble.

Each step was done one class period at a time and students saved their work after each step. 

I told them we were adding layers and like Rome, good music wasn’t built in a day.

After they are done each student is submitting their work to me in the Quaver teacher admin panel. I’m getting some great work and next week we get to finish with reflections for their portfolios. The best part about this whole thing is that they understand composition on a deeper level now and I get to thank the save button for it!


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