Compose Your Memory


Technology Lesson Plan by Janie Rigotti


OBJECTIVE:  At the end of this lesson students will be able to notate a short musical

composition using the notation software Sibelius.  The composition will be based on a favorite childhood memory.


PURPOSE:  The purpose of this lesson is to:

1.     Provide students with a structured format to create a melody as a starting point for a basic composition.

2.      Help students notate and edit their compositions using the software Sibelius.

***This project would take place in the middle of a composition unit.  At this point, the students will have already been introduced to the program Sibelius and some of its major functions.


MATERIALS NEEDED: The materials needed for this project are:

1.     Poetry written about a favorite memory (done for homework)

2.     A class set of computers (computer lab) hooked up to MIDI keyboards

3.     A class set of the software Sibelius installed on each computer

4.     A class set of headphones

5.     A ³cheat sheet² handout detailing various necessary functions of Sibelius.

6.     A projector hooked up to the teacherıs computer.


ANTICIPATORY SET:  As the students walk in there will be a looped power point presentation playing of last yearıs students reading their poetry with their compositions playing in the background.  Students will be asked to have a seat at a computer that is hooked up to an electronic keyboard.



1.     The students will be asked to take out the poetry they had been asked to write as a homework assignment.  The topic is ³Your Favorite Childhood Memory.²

2.     Students are asked to think about what kinds of emotions their memories evoke.  Ask them to make some decisions about the modality, tempo, and range of their melodies.

3.     Students are given the task of creating a melody on the keyboard that will align with the poetry they have written.  They can listen to what they are playing through the headphones attached to each computer. 

4.     Once students are ready to move on and have made progress with their melodies, they should begin to notate them on the computer using Sibelius.

5.     Students should be reminded that they need to edit their work, checking for the correct number of beats per measure, accidentals, etc.

***Note: This lesson is in the middle of a unit, therefore not all students will have finished their melodies by the end of class.

6.     Students who have finished their melodies will be invited to play them for the class, using the playback feature of the software.

CHECK FOR STUDENT UNDERSTANDING: Circle around the room, providing feedback and checking student progress.  Determine which students are prepared to do their work independently and which ones need help.


CLOSURE:  When the students are ready to share melodies, we will listen to them as a class.  We will also discuss what features or words in the poetry are represented in the music and how they are represented.


EXTENSIONS:  These compositions will eventually have harmony added to them and be used as a backdrop for a recorded poetry reading.  Each student will be given a CD of the final product to keep as part of his or her arts portfolio.