Composing On and Off the Staff

It’s October Composing Activity 2 Versions

This version of It’s October is a composing activity for students who can read music. The rhythm is written above the staff. The student can choose which notes he/she would like to use. Students can write a melody divided between the hands or a melody with chords, depending on their age. Usually when students try to write music down, they become frustrated, so this gives the student some structure. The only rules are to chose the key for the piece, and use the tonic as the last note. If you are not a musician, the tonic is the first note of the scale, sometimes called the “key note.”

Of course, some of your students will come to their lesson with elaborate music they play for memory. That is great, but the music is often too difficult for them to write down, and time-consuming for you as the teacher to transcribe! It is, however, a wonderful thing to do, and often these are your students who will be your best composers!

One of the great joys of being self-published is the ability to change things around, and in this case, borrow from myself.  I first used this poem in a pre-reading song I posted a few years ago. It is suitable for their first piano lesson. I’ve included the pre-reading version in this PDF for your convenience.


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9 thoughts to “It’s October – An On-the-Staff Composing Activity and a Pre-Reading Song!

  • yayasruru

    Reblogged this on everyonemakesmusic and commented:
    I love Susan Paradis ! She is a wonderful teacher mentor

  • Sarah

    What program do you use to design these worksheets? I love your ideas, but teaching violin instead of piano, I would have to modify them in order to use them with my own students.

    • susanparadis

      Thank you for your kind words!
      I use Adobe Creative Suite. Please check my terms of use. Since my worksheets, music, and games are under copyright, they may not be modified or changed. This includes the design, art, music, and lyrics. I appreciate everyone’s cooperation with the terms of use for the material that I share. Thanks!

      • Sarah

        Thank you. I was not intending to modify your worksheets, but rather some of your ideas. I hope that is okay?

      • susanparadis

        Sarah, I’m happy to share ideas!

  • Susan

    Thank you for considering pre-reading levels also for those who use this first.

  • Diane

    Another great activity! Thanks for all your hard work.

  • fraurab

    I just started teaching piano lessons to a cute girl, who is in Kindergarten. But I have a confession that I’ve never learned/nor have been interested in composition. The last set of black keys, where she circles the numbers, it seems to me, that there isn’t a wrong answer, right? It’s whatever she wants to play? They all sound correct to me.

    • susanparadis

      I’m not sure exactly what you are asking! But if it sounds good, then it must be ok!

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