Father’s Day Composition Activity (Primer)

"This composing activity helps reinforce note learning, writing and rhythm while producing a wonderful gift for the student to play and present to their Father and/or Grandfather for Father’s Day." 

Theory doesn’t have to be a chore, for student or teacher.  Composition is a great way to connect the theory that students have (possibly unknowingly) learnt, with the joy of making something, playing and then sharing their accomplishments.

There are many composing resources out there, but they are usually for students who can play 5-finger scales in each hand, play hands together and play 8th notes♫. I have a student who only knows A, B, C, D, E, and quarter notes as the shortest note♩. There was nothing really out there for them.  I needed something simple that would reinforce quarter, dotted half and whole notes, note names, but still be a fun activity.  

So I drew up this Father’s Day Composition Activity to accommodate the students who are just beginning.  There are four blank measures, so you can use it for either treble or bass, or a combination of both.  You can introduce whole rests if desired, even have a composition that only uses Middle C.  (It would actually be a great activity to introduce Middle C to students who have not yet learned how it looks written out.) Drawing the notes help the student practice note reading, note shaping, correct stem length/direction and afterwards any dynamic markings they know can be added in.

How To Use

1 - First use a shaker or clapping to reinforce the words “Happy Father’s Day” using the given rhythm:

Hap-py  Fa- ther’s Day

2 - Depending on the student’s level, help them choose a hand position (Middle C, C major, G major etc.) and which note they’d like to start with. If they only know braced thumb and middle finger, just ask on which note they would like to begin.

3 - I find it useful to have some visual reference, so I will often select the letter names they know from my Note Name Flashcards and put those on the music stand.  If they can’t decide what note to start on, shuffle up the cards, and have them choose one. (I have one student who is confusing G3 and B3 so I am going to have them only choose from G A B to help focus and reinforce those notes.)

4 - Compose 3 different note combinations, then have them choose which one they liked best. These note names will be the melody. 

My students are usually full of wonderful melodic ideas but if they need a little help getting started ask them if they want to go higher/lower, repeat the same note, use steps/skips, or if all else fails shuffle the flashcards and have them choose from them.

5I like to use erasable colored pencil when transferring the chosen idea to the staff, it adds color and can be altered as need be.  Use this time to reinforce: 

  • note reading tips e.g. “A is the top line, step up to B”
  • stem length 
  • stem direction
  • note head size
  • how notes move up/down, step/skip
  • that music is divided into measures 
  • time signatures: add each measure to make sure it adds up to four

6 - Introduce “I love you very much” using the given rhythm and repeat steps 2-5.

 I      love  you  ve- ry    much

7 - Once all notes have been written in, you can add dynamics and articulation (if known). Use the Dynamic Flashcards for reference if needed.

There is space on the worksheet to add their name, draw a picture, as well as coloring in the title.  

Happy composing!


I have also added a two measure activity: Father’s Day Composing Activity - 2 measures only

Copyright © 2018 Angela Dwyer