Looking to create a music composition lesson plan for grade one, but don’t know where to start?

Well read on …

Teaching composition when young children can barely read or play a note is hard!

And most teachers aren’t trained in the area of composition and most teachers aren’t composers! So where do you start with making composition lessons and how do you get your students to be creative?  

I think this area was probably the one thing I had the biggest block with putting into my classes, especially in the early grades. When I first started teaching music, I had no idea what I could do in the field of composition. I wasn’t a composer and I had no idea where to start in getting kids to be creative.

So, over the years I’ve had to learn how to do this in an easy and effortless way.

Would you like to know some of the secrets that it took me well over a decade to learn? 

In this grade 1 training video level, I’ll show you the core basics and STRATEGY behind how to get children having fun with composition and getting creative in just two easy stages.

Think of this as laying the solid groundwork for any teaching composition lessons for any grade.

Stage 1: Watch this introductory video called “Animal Sounds”  where grade 1 students will learn to create an order of sounds and record it.

Music Composition Lesson plan for Grade one with Animal Sounds

In this short four minute video, watch how your students can create music using everyday sounds they will already be familiar with such as dogs, cats, lions and even butterflies! 

At grade 1 the US common core curriculum requires that students are “generating their own musical ideas for a specific purpose”.  The Australian curriculum requires that students “create compositions and perform music to communicate ideas to an audience”. For this reason we connect our music making to communication of ideas, and you’ll see us do that with ideas connected to animals and action ideas in Grade 1.

After watching the video, students listen to animal sounds from the whiteboard, discuss their sounds and create a sequence of the animal sounds to make a short musical story.

Once you see the inner workings of how this lesson works, you’ll be able to use this system of learning to build into your own teaching using any known sounds to start the lesson with. No need to reinvent the wheel!

Stage 2: Watch this second video called “Animal Squares” where students’ learn to create musical ideas using an instrument to represent four different animal sounds and record them.

When was the last time you had the chance to sit in on a lesson and actually see how a teacher progresses from one activity into learning something new? Especially in the area of creating a musical composition? Never!?!  

If you’ve ever been nervous about teaching something new in music, the old and usual piece of advice is “be confident” or “give it a go” – and that doesn’t help much. That’s why in the Fun Music Curriculum we decided to give you a level of specificity you cannot find anywhere else. 

Like watching how an actual lesson progresses and demonstrating simple ideas that even your youngest students will be able to do easily and effectively. 

In this video, you’ll see that musical terms such as names of music notes and rhythms are not even mentioned to the children to achieve the outcome of creating their own music and you’ll see me working through some musical ideas in the video. After watching the video, the children are able to use the ideas to do it themselves easily because you’re showing them how to get started. 

In Grade 1 there is also another step in the development of notation. At this level students are encouraged to develop their own invented “iconic notation” to suggest the notes and rhythms they are playing and I also show you the steps to developing this simple style of music writing.

In this next five minute video, watch exactly the steps to creating a first musical composition using instruments and get them recording their ideas on paper effortlessly: 

Animal Squares Music Composition Lesson plan

More elementary music resources for teaching Composition for grades k-6: 

If you’re serious about making creativity a must in your classroom and teaching Composition to its full potential across the curriculum to all grades from K-6, you’ll see how these smaller ideas transform into an entire program within the Fun Music Curriculum. It’s all laid out step by step and you don’t even have to do any extra preparation to get it started with your classes and you can learn systematically how to develop these ideas into your whole music program.  A bonus training program specifically for teaching composition is included!


You can learn more by watching this short video:

Fun Music Company Curriculum - Full of Music Composition Lesson plans