How To Teach Musical Composition In School

Written by Dan

Last updated

Are you a teacher looking for ways to introduce musical composition into the classroom? Teaching music can be exciting, but knowing where and how to start can be challenging.

That’s why this article offers all of the basics for teaching musical composition in school – from introducing simple pieces of music and assigning homework tasks to delve further into what makes certain arrangements memorable and focusing on specific composition styles.

Whether you are new or experienced with teaching music in schools, we hope these tips give you many helpful ideas to inspire your students!

Related: For more, check out our article on The Importance of Music In School  here.

The Basics Of Musical Composition

Music composition has the potential to be a powerful tool when teaching students of all ages. It can allow students to express their creative abilities, and many academic benefits come with learning how to compose.

For instance, they can learn the basics of music theory and develop skills such as problem-solving and critical thinking. Additionally, music composition can foster collaboration between classmates and unlock the potential within individuals that they may not have realised otherwise.

With proper guidance and instruction, students of any age could benefit significantly from delving into this fascinating subject.

Ways To Assess Student Progress

Assessing student progress in musical composition can be difficult, as measuring artistic success is often challenging. However, one way to track student progress is by having them create a portfolio of their compositions over the semester or school year.

This shows how they have grown as an artist and composer and allows the teacher to look for trends or common themes in their work.

Students can look back on their portfolios later on and appreciate all the hard work they’ve put into improving their skills as a musician. Creating portfolios is also a helpful sideline activity for classes with more free-form teaching structures (like musical composition).

Portfolios are great ways for students to showcase their accomplishments in class!

The Importance Of Creativity

Teaching musical composition in school is an invaluable opportunity to encourage creativity and out-of-the-box thinking. Each student can develop a unique sound that expresses their thoughts or feelings using different instruments and tones.

Although traditional instruments such as pianos and guitars have been used for centuries, incorporating instruments such as drums or saxophones can add texture and vibrancy to compositions.

By stressing the importance of ‘thinking outside the box’ when composing music, students will explore new sounds and create a style that reflects their interests and talents.

Not only will this open up young minds to new possibilities in the medium of sound, but it will also equip them with vital skills they can carry into later life – fostering further creativity throughout their lifetime.

Tips For Teaching Composition

Teaching musical composition in school can be an enjoyable experience for both students and teachers alike. An effective start is introducing concepts such as music theory, rhythm, and harmony.

To keep the lessons engaging, teachers can have their students take turns coming up with a piece of music for the class to work on collaboratively. This could involve arranging different parts of the melodic line or creating a harmonisation of the melody.

This activity encourages critical thinking and problem-solving skills by fostering an interactive environment. Additionally, lesson plans should include activities such as improvisation and writing exercises that allow students to use their imagination when creating compositions.

With these activities and tips in mind, teachers can provide a safe environment for their students where musical creativity can flourish!

Showcase Examples Of Successful Musical Composition Projects

Music composition is a powerful tool that helps students express themselves, learn and master complex concepts, and access potential career opportunities. It’s essential to provide students with examples of successful musical composition projects so they can see what they can create through hard work and dedication.

Showing examples of the kind of music they can make with the proper instruction can be inspiring and give them something to strive towards.

So, when teaching composition in school, remember to showcase the work of past music composers and impressive pieces created by current students. Doing so will let aspiring musicians know that success does not require talent alone but determination and pride in their accomplishments.

How To Encourage Creativity

Music composition encourages creativity and imagination in students, making it a valuable subject to teach. To unlock this unique nurturing of creativity among students, teachers should focus on engaging the students personally with the task ahead of them.

For example, teachers can allow their students to explore different techniques and instruments used in music composition.

This will enable students to take ownership of their creative process while developing relevant skills. With an adaptive approach to constructing lessons, teachers can structure activities with higher-order modes of thinking while allowing enough flexibility for personal growth in each class.

Furthermore, fitting pieces together through a mix-and-match curriculum style will support each individual’s creative development by offering diverse opportunities for experimentation.

By implementing these strategies in teaching musical composition, educators can foster a vibrant atmosphere so each student can grow creatively.

Teaching musical composition can be incredibly rewarding. Not only will it introduce students to various forms of music and encourage them to express themselves creatively, but it can also provide an excellent opportunity for assessment and student growth.

Music composition is essential to any academic curriculum and should be approached with proper planning and thoughtful instruction. Students will benefit from practical understanding and knowledge of composing various types of music.

With proper guidance, young learners can explore the exciting world of musical composition and create something beautiful they can be proud of!

Five Websites To Help With Music Composition

  1. Noteflight – Noteflight is a web-based music notation software that allows composers to create, edit, and share musical scores online. It offers a range of features for users of all levels, from beginners to professionals. Link
  2. Sibelius – Sibelius is a powerful music notation software used by composers worldwide. It provides advanced features such as score playback, audio recording, and an intuitive user interface. Link
  3. Music Theory Online – Music Theory Online is a comprehensive resource for learning music theory and composition online. It includes lessons on topics such as harmony, counterpoint, and form and interactive tools and quizzes to help reinforce learning. Link
  4. Soundfly – Soundfly offers online courses for musicians looking to improve their songwriting, production, and composition skills. Its courses are designed by industry professionals and include personalised feedback from instructors. Link
  5. Berklee Online – Berklee Online is the extension of Berklee College of Music, offering courses in various music-related subjects, including composition and arranging. Its courses are taught by experienced faculty members and offer credit-bearing options and non-credit certificates. Link


Q: Why is it essential to teach musical composition?

A: Teaching musical composition can help students develop their creativity, critical thinking, problem-solving skills, and self-expression. It also allows students to explore different musical styles and traditions while building confidence in their abilities.

Q: How can I incorporate composition into my music curriculum?

A: There are many ways to incorporate composition into your music curriculum. Some ideas include providing opportunities for student-led improvisation and songwriting activities, using technology tools such as digital audio workstations or notation software, and incorporating collaborative projects that involve composing music for film or dance.

Q: Do I need advanced musical knowledge or training to teach composition?

A: While having some musical knowledge and experience can be helpful, it is unnecessary to be an expert musician to teach composition. With some essential resources and guidance, anyone can introduce their students to the joys of composing music.

Q: Are there any specific benefits of teaching composition to young children?

A: Yes! In addition to developing creativity and critical thinking skills, teaching composition can help young children build social-emotional competencies such as communication, collaboration, and self-expression. Plus, it’s just plain fun!

Q: What resources are available for teachers who want to learn more about teaching composition?

A: Many excellent resources are available online for teachers who want to learn more about teaching composition. Some good places to start include teacher blogs and forums dedicated to music education and online courses or workshops offered by professional organisations such as NAfME (National Association for Music Education). Additionally, there are numerous books on the subject of music theory and composition that may be helpful for teachers looking to deepen their understanding of these topics.

About The Author

I'm Dan Higgins, one of the faces behind The Teaching Couple. With 15 years in the education sector and a decade as a teacher, I've witnessed the highs and lows of school life. Over the years, my passion for supporting fellow teachers and making school more bearable has grown. The Teaching Couple is my platform to share strategies, tips, and insights from my journey. Together, we can shape a better school experience for all.

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