Learning Resource Type

Learning Activity

Melodic Composition Using Traditional Notation

Subject Area

Arts Education




Students will use quarter notes to compose a four-beat melodic pattern using Mi, So, and La. The students will compose a melodic pattern using a modified staff. The students will perform their composition for the class.

This activity was created as a result of the Arts COS Resource Development Summit.

    Arts Education (2017) Grade(s): 2 - Music


    Read and perform rhythmic and melodic patterns using iconic or standard notation.

    Unpacked Content



    • Eighth note, eighth rest, half note, half rest, whole note, whole rest
    • Strong/ weak beat — 2/4; 3/4 meter
    • Accelerando/ ritardando
    • Pitch Set: Do , Re, Mi, So, La
    • Five-line staff
    • Treble clef
    • Names of lines/ spaces (treble staff)
    • Melodic ostinati
    • Partner songs
    • AAB, AABA, Rondo
    • Verse/ Refrain
    • Orchestral instrument families
    • Piano (p), forte (f)
    • Crescendo/ decrescendo
    • Orchestral Music: programmatic
    • Indigenous music: Native American
    • American music: slave songs, colonial folk songs
    • Age-appropriate pitch matching (B3-D5)1
    • Mallet/ drumming technique: alternating hands

    Essential Questions

    EU: Analyzing creators' context and how they manipulate elements of music provides insight into their intent and informs performance.
    EQ: How does understanding the structure and context of musical works inform performance?

    Skills Examples

    • Perform age-appropriate music with attention to expressive markings indicated in the printed music.
    • Perform an improvised interlude to a known song, matching expression and rhythmic/melodic themes.
    Reading/ Writing
    • Identify expressive markings in printed music.
    • Identify meter marking in printed music.
    Responding/ Evaluating
    • Notate from dictation 8-beat rhythm patterns using standard notation.
    • Perform short melodic patterns from standard or iconic notation.

    Anchor Standards

    Anchor Standard 4: Select, analyze, and interpret artistic work for presentation.


    Learning Objectives

    Learning Objectives

    Students will:

    1. compose a four-beat melodic pattern using So, Mi, and La on a modified staff.

    2. perform the melodic pattern for the class.

    Activity Details

    1.  Review melodic patterns using So, Mi, and La.

    2.  Review So, Mi, and La on the modified staff.

    3.  Demonstrate how to compose four-beat patterns using quarter notes and So, Mi, and La.

    • Show where So, Mi, and La are on the modified staff.
    • Do several examples and explain how to draw quarter notes.

    4.  Distribute pencils and composition worksheets (Melodic Composition Worksheet).

    5.  Students compose four beat melodic patterns using So, Mi, and La.

    6.  Students perform their composition for the class.

    7.  Class echoes each pattern.

    8.  Collect worksheets.

    Assessment Strategies

    Assessment Strategies

    1.  The teacher listens for pitch accuracy during each student's performance.

    2.  The teacher checks for accuracy on the written four-beat pattern.

    Background and Preparation

    Background / Preparation

    1. Print enough worksheets for each student.

    2. Sharpen enough pencils for the largest class plus extras.

    3. The teacher will need a computer and projector.


    Digital Tools / Resources