Encouraging young students to compose music requires them to understand some basic rudiments of music, simple musical form and a basic scale (usually C Major). Learning basic music rudiments means the student is able to read, understand and write music.
During the recent first lesson, the students learned some basic types of notes (semi breve, dotted minim, minim and crotchets) and time signature (simple duple, simple triple, simple quadruple). Examples of notes that can be used to complete a bar according to the time signature were shown to the students.
Learning to count the beats continuously in a steady pulse was next explained and taught to the students. Following this, the students did some rhythm clapping exercises to fully understand what they have been learning so far.
Try as many one bar examples as possible to let the students see and experience various combinations of notes in a bar that suits the required time signature.
Getting students involved during the lesson is the best way for them to learn and reinforce what they have learned.
Some students were asked to volunteer coming to the whiteboard to fill up one bar with notes that adds up to the required time signature. When done, the entire class was asked to confirm if the written one bar rhythm is correct. If not, the students who spot any mistakes are encouraged to point them out.
Once corrected, all students would then clap and count the rhythm.
Conducting theory drill games when teaching any new rudiments or theory does make lessons more exciting. The drill games will involve the entire class. From the photos shown, two students volunteer to create a one-bar rhythm each. Another student fills in the counts accordingly. The the entire class will clap and count the two bar rhythm as created on the board. Repeating this exercise a few times involving as many students as possible would reinforce what has been taught.
If the students seemed competent enough, go on to other time signatures and repeat the drills and exercises.
This is also a start to composing music as well. Composing begins with a melodic motive.
But for the very young beginner students in our program, this is not immediately possible. So, to begin, start working on rhythmic motives. After this, the student needs to experience musical sounds from a scale. Once musical pitch is taught, then a musical melody can be created using the rhythmic motive What the students are going through is a start to be able to compose a simple musical piece by this year end.