It is possible to compose a song with a group of piano students! It’s even better if you have students of varying abilities.
My students have been working through our Music for Little Learners kits #1 and #2. Because of this even my youngest students can play the first six scales C,G,D,A,E,B. They also know the major chords and arpeggios. This is the foundation of our group composition.
So, now that students have the proper foundation, we can start composing.
Group Composition Lesson #1
I LOVE these little roll-up pianos for group lessons. Obviously they are inadequate for every-day piano lessons. But, they are the best tools for creating an exciting group composition lesson.
You can do this with up to three students. You should sit at a piano as well. You are chair #1.
Each student is assigned a chair. When you give instructions it is to their chair. Students love this.
For example: “Chair #2 please play the C scale for me.”
then, “Chair #3 please tell us what three notes make up the C chord.”
“Yes, C/E/and G/”
“Today we are going to create a song together using only the three notes of the C chord. Listen….” Teacher plays a simple two measure song in four four time using only C/E/G.
“Chair #4 what can you create with C/E/G?” -Ask the student to play it twice. Go around the table and have each student create their own two measures using the same perameters.
“Now we are ready to put it all together! I am going to play my song and chair #2 you need to watch carefully and start your song as soon as mine is done. Then Chair #3 plays and then #4. Ready everyone! Try to play the same thing you played before.”
My students were absolutely beaming as we finished our first group composition. I took it to the next step and moved to the key of D. We used the new notes of D/F#/A. Each student put on their headphones and had a minute to create their own two measure song with the new notes. I was thrilled to see some using arpeggios, solid chords, broken chords and even inversions…all a result of our Music for Little Learners Curriculum.
I am planning a composition camp for this summer. I can’t wait to hear what my student’s come up with. I promise to post pictures, ideas and maybe even a little video of our composition concert. So, there you have it! Group Composition Lesson #1. Easy Peasey!