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Driving Question: 

How can we write and compose songs for an album?

Music
Grade 7, Grade 8
Students write and record songs for a full-length album released on iTunes. Students first start by selecting an emotional topic to focus on. They then brainstorm as many words as they can about that topic to help them write lyrics. Students learn about chorus, bridge, verses as well as other compositional techniques to start the process of songwriting. They first focus on beats and rhythm, and then experiment with chord progressions. Students then start putting words into appropriate time and chord structures and experiment with different melodies. Students refine in an ongoing manner from feedback from teacher and peers as wells as experts. Students record the song in the studio for final feedback from their teacher. They record the final song use multiple tracks and publish it to the class album. Students also hold a release party to celebrate. 
Student Reflection

“I’ve never really written a song. We had to go through several drafts, and brainstorm different ideas and make sure the words work.   The hardest was coming up with an initial. idea. We settled on an idea when one person decided. Next time, I would make the musical part more interesting. Right now it’s the same throughout the song. We could jazz it up for the listeners.” - Ella

“You get the freedom to do what you enjoy and also you get show creativity writing songs. The most challenging part was getting the confidence to sing in front of an audience. I would try to be more confident and believe in myself if I had to do it again.” - Laurel

“It gives us freedom. It let us explore different genres from classic acoustic classic singing. its a good break from modern music. It’s also a good break from the traditional restrictive classroom. The hardest part was putting in the effort to record and learn the song.” Horia

“You can create your own band and songs. I like that because I get more freedom. The hardest part was singing in front of people.” - Martin

Student Products
  • Write original compositions individually and in teams
  • Critique each other’s song and use feedback to improve
  • Record and release full-length album
  • Hold an album release party
Teacher Reflection

“They’ve all performed in large groups together, but this is in a smaller, intimate setting where no one can hide. It’s more of a challenge that way. ” - Stephen Venema 

Designers

Stephen Venema