Composition and creativity sometimes seems like it is a checklist item. It’s a standard, we did it, now we can move on and don’t have to do it anymore.

But that’s SUPER not true.

We can include a creative element in our students’ class every week. Creativity isn’t just sitting to compose, but improvising, making creative choices, and having a say in their musical learning.


This isn’t just making up a whole phrase, or singing like Arioso land. This can be simple improvisations built into practice activities.

  • Feel in the blank words in chant/spoken text: We are Dancing, Who Stole the Cookies from the Cookie Jar,
  • Fill in the blank songs: songs that have one element the children need to fill in the blank with a word allows them to improvise the melody and the rhythm for that word. Name songs, A Hunting We Will Go, Aiken Drum, Charlie Over the Ocean, Chop Chop Chippety Chop, Doggie Doggie, Down By the Bay, Down Came a Lady, Going on a Picnic, Had a Little Rooster, Hey Hey Look at Me, Jenny Jenkins, Lemonade, Mary Wore a Red Dress, Pumpkin Stew, Round and Round, This is the Way We – Early in the Morning, Wake Up You Lazy Bones
  • Movement improvisation: Did You Ever See a Lassie, Do as I’m Doing, Hop Old Squirrel, Mother Gooney Bird (Father Abraham), Oliver Twist
  • Fill in the blank – Ss improvise one note in a 4 beat motive. 
  • Add an improvising element to a song: if you are playing a song where a child is “out” or chosen to be next, they have to sing a 4 beat solfege pattern or clap a 4 beat pattern depending on what you are working on before moving on to the next repetition of the game. This gets in a little more practice without stopping for a new activity.

Simple Composing/Creation

  • Create an ostinati
  • Write a pattern together (one element at a time) as a class and read
  • Create a new song with known patterns
  • “Cover Song: – remake a song by changing all of one note to something else EX: All Do’s become Sol’s.
  • Write a melody using rhythm patterns. (Form)
  • Create 4 melodies for 4 different shapes (Form)
  • Create using a specific form to compose using 2-4 motives.
  • Music Adventure – Class sings the original phrase, one student sings the next, repeat original, then new student, etc.
  • Sign and create – Student creates a pattern by showing, but they don’t say it themselves. This is a great one for a transition to larger composing activities.

I hope this is helpful!

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