Composing and Creating: 3 Resources to Get You Started

mmmm smell that? Smells like fall. I feel I’m appreciating fall more . Maybe it’s taking time to stop and smell the roses (or pumpkin spice!) that has let me breath a little deeper, but, who knows. I’m smiling a little more, taking more time for myself, and have the ability to not get as stressed on what normally you would consider a bad day. 

In just a few short weeks I will be down at NAfME Nashville giving two of what I hope to be amazing presentations about elementary music technology. I’m really using all my brain power for these two!! One of my presentations is focusing on recording and composing.  This week I thought I’d get you started with 3 resources I used in my classroom to get my kids composing and creating their own music. I always thought that students would best learn about music by creating their own.


Garageband– this $4.99 app or free desktop software to Mac users is probably one of the most popular music creation tools out there.  I used it almost every day to record and mix new songs in class. Want a simple activity to bring right into class? Using the loops feature, select a series of drum loops and put them together. Go in to class and have students write down some facts about a subject they are learning or maybe create a poem. Teach the students how to rap using the background beat you’ve created and the lyrics they just wrote.


Creation apps-

 These apps are fantastic to get kids creating independently or in small groups without much instruction from the teacher. These are great to give students some much needed creativity time and then come back together after to share the music they worked so hard on. 

Toca Boca– $2.99, drag wacky little characters into different circles and create a jam session. Users can also select one to solo as the rest of the ensemble plays on!

Moozart– $1.99 Old MacDonald had a QUACK..BARK BARK MEOW MEOW RIBBIIITT.  That’s right, simple composing with barnyard animal sounds. Fun,creative, and gets the kids giggling!

Singing Fingers – Free  Fingerpainting on the iPad. The trick with finger painting on this app is that it records everything you say. Having kids singing a song or solfege while painting and then retracing what they sang and painted lets them listen to their music making creating fun!

Quaver– You knew this one was coming. There are several apps on the free kid’s website alone that promote composing and creating, from the Creatives in the QStudio to SongBrush. Students have a wide variety to choose from when making music on Quaver  Want a simple activity to bring right into class? Open up QComposer and have students sit in a circle. Go around and have each student tell you a note to add to the melody.  At the end, play it for them and have them reflect on what they created together. Add a bass line if you have time!



How do you get your students to create and compose in your classroom?

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