Fathers Day Composing Activity

Were you a Daddy’s girl? I was. I remember my Dad sitting at his desk working while I played the piano next to him for hours. He was a wonderful audience and always so supportive, never suggesting I take a break. Since I was usually making up stuff, that is pretty amazing! Back then, my parents were told that my hands were too “small” for piano lessons. Fortunately after several years of playing by ear, they tried again and found a teacher for me!

With Father’s Day in the summer, Dads are often left out when it comes to student-made gifts. So if you are teaching in June, here is a composing activity for a Father’s Day gift.

This music is actually a remake of the one I posted about 8 years ago. I updated the entire page and even changed the hand position.

As you can see, the left hand is not in Middle C position. I have found that if students get used to putting their hands in different positions from the beginning, they learn to read by intervals easier. However, every teacher is different so feel free to “white out” finger numbers.

If you’re new to beginning composing pages, here is how to use the pre-reading page – the one without a staff.

  • The student plays the part of the page that has words using finger numbers.
  • The student makes up a tune to fit the rhythm in the part with stars, using the rhythm above the stars. The last note should be C.
  • Students write the finger numbers of their melody in the yellow stars.
  • Some students also like to write words.

I use this as a way to introduce how to write a melody, so I instruct students to end on the key note, which in this piece is C. Encourage him/her to move down or up an octave. It is fun to discuss how Dads have low voices, so my students like to move down to the bass notes for the last four measures.

Writing music on a staff is difficult for children.That is why we break it down into small steps. Since the rhythm is given to them, they can concentrate on the melody.

Of course, students also love to doodle around and make up their own pieces, like I used to do for my Dad. I encourage my beginners to memorize these “compositions” because the music is usually beyond their abilities to write down.

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13 thoughts to “Father’s Day Beginning Composing Activity

  • Pam

    I think this is an amazing idea! I just hope I have time to have students get it done before Fathers Day, although a gift is great ANY day, right? I’ve got some ideas noodling around in my brain, but how did you have the students prepare it as a gift? Did you have them mount it on anything, or make a card out of it? Just curious

    • Susan Paradis

      I had my students play it for their Dad as their gift. But I have some of those big envelopes that are the size of a folded sheet, so thanks for the card idea! Or, they could be laminated. One year we rolled them like a scroll and tied with a ribbon. I don’t recommend that because they wouldn’t stay open for the students to play!

      • Pam

        Sounds good! I rarely have Dad’s at the lessons, but I can see the students playing for him at home!

  • Diane Lindsay

    Yippee! I planned to use the on-staff version in June’s group lessons and hoping an off-staff was available. Thanks for sharing both.

  • Ros

    BrilliantSusan. You are leading me step by step to be a better, more ’rounded’ teacher for my poor children/ students who must get so be with my ‘same old, same old’ lessons. Thank you.

    • Susan Paradis

      You’re welcome, Ros. Thank you very much for the feedback!

  • Ellen

    This is awesome, Susan! Thanks so much.

    I wonder – could you some day create a generic off-the-staff composing printable that could be used to write a song about anything the student is interested in? I have a beginning student who wants to learn a song about fairies!

    • Susan Paradis

      Ellen, that sounds interesting, but I’m not sure how to go about it!

      • Ellen

        Hi Susan! I’m visualizing a worksheet just like this Father’s Day one, but with no title and no words – and some non-specific graphics. (Actually, the graphics on this one would be perfect!)

        • Susan Paradis

          Ellen, I get it. It could be helpful to make something like that!

          • Ellen

            I think so too!

            These composing activities are invaluable for those of us who are composing-phobic but who want to encourage our students not to be! 🙂

            Thanks for all you do, Susan!

  • Anna Fagan

    Hurray! So happy to have the off-staff version! Thanks for this, Susan. I’m having my students work on this now — since many of them will not be taking weekly lessons in June. I’m saving their work (along with a recording of them playing the piece) in the Notability app, and will e-mail it to their Dads on Father’s Day.

    • Susan Paradis

      Great ideas, Anna. I’m glad I got the off-staff version made in time for you to use it. I never realized I didn’t ever post an off-staff version!

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