[Updated July 2018 – bonus walkthrough video added below]
Free Music Technology Lesson Plans
This is the first of a new ongoing series of more “formal” lesson plans that suggest simple ways to incorporate technology into music lessons. I’m aiming to map each lesson to the US and Australian national standards for music education (UK coming soon too!).
I’d love to know what you think about that idea: is it useful for you? What types of things would you like to see? Leave a comment below letting me know what you think.
Lesson: Rap My Name – I Like That
This lesson plan works well with grade 2-8 and can be adapted in many ways. It’s a good activity for the beginning of the year when you’re trying to learn new students’ names!
Students will write a 4-measure name rap within the specified structure and create a rhythmic backing to accompany themselves.
Music Education Standards
- 1. Singing alone and with others, a varied repertoire
- 4. Composing and arranging music within specified guidelines
- 4.3 Create, perform and record compositions by selecting and organising sounds, silence, tempo and volume
- 6.3 Rehearse and perform music, including music they have composed, by improvising, sourcing and arranging ideas and making decisions to engage an audience
- 8.2 Develop musical ideas, such as mood, by improvising, combining and manipulating the elements of music
- 8.5 Perform and present a range of music, using techniques and expression appropriate to style
New Zealand Curriculum Level 4
- DI Developing Ideas in Music – students will use musical elements, instruments and technologies to improvise and compose simple musical pieces
- CI Communicating and Interpreting in Music – students will prepare, rehearse, present and evaluate brief music performances
- UC Understanding Music In Context – Students will identify and investigate characteristics of music associated with particular contexts, purposes and styles in past and present cultures
- Computer, Chromebook, iPad or other tablet device
- Music software, app or website that allows you to create a rhythmic accompaniment
- Rap structure template (below)
- Smartphone, iPad, or other tablet to video-record performances (optional)
Speaking lyrics in time to a beat
Part 1: Preparation
As a group, keep a steady beat using body percussion. Practice saying the name rap over the steady beat – use the samples below or ask students to make up their own.
Part 2: Write the rap
Ask students to write a rap using their own name, based on the structure provided below. They can work individually or in pairs (one student can keep a steady beat while the other practices saying their name rap)
Tempo 80-90 BPM
Hey I’m ________ and I like to ___________
(in second line, say something about thing you like. The final word in this line should rhyme with the end of line 1)
I like that
Oh yeah, I like that
Example 1: (by a grade 3 student)
Hey I’m Josh and I like to sing
It sounds croaky in the morning but I am the king
I like that
Oh yeah, I like that
Hey I’m Ava and I like the color blue
It makes me happy, so what you gonna do?
I like that
Oh yeah, I like that
Part 3: Create a rhythmic accompaniment
Using your chosen music software, app or website, create an 8-measure rhythmic accompaniment to go with the rap.
Note: 8 measures of rhythmic accompaniment will give students a two-measure introduction before they start rapping, and a two-measure outro at the end.
Option 1: Groove Pizza (free)
- Visit Groove Pizza (free online rhythmic step sequencer)
- Set the tempo to 80 BPM
- Build up a rhythmic pattern by clicking on the dots on the “pizza” or in the drum pattern grid (it’s a good idea to start with the bass drum on beats 1 and 3 and the snare on beats 2 and 4 and then add other sounds
Option 2: Desktop software
- Launch your choice of software (such as GarageBand, Mixcraft, Soundation, Soundtrap)
- Set the tempo to approx 80 BPM
- Audition drum loops and select a suitable one to go with the rap
- Drag the loop on to the project area and extend it until it is 8 measures in length
Option 3: GarageBand on iPad
- Open the GarageBand app and create a new song
- Select the Smart Drums
- Choose a drum kit and drag instruments on to the grid to build up a rhythmic pattern
- Press Record and record 8 measures
Related: for other rhythmic accompaniment options, see How To Make A Funky Beat In 30 Seconds
Part 4: Perform the rap
Start the rhythmic accompaniment and after two measures, start saying the rap. There will be a two measure outro at the end.
Video-record the student performances using a Smartphone, iPad or other tablet or camera.
- If your music software/app allows, add an audio track and record the rap part over the backing. Other instrumental backing parts can be added as well: bass line, keyboard part, strings and so on.
- Older students can create a drum part from scratch using a software instrument: add a drum track, record a 1 or 2 measure loop and then extend the length of the recorded loop to 8 measures
- Notate the rap using stick notation: use pencil and paper, notation software such as Noteflight, Sibelius, Finale or MuseScore, or apps such as NotateMe or Notion (Noteflight is also an excellent choice for iPads and other tablets).
The students can successfully perform their name rap over the top of their rhythmic accompaniment.
Bonus! Full lesson walk-through video: Rap My Name Using Groove Pizza
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Want more music tech lessons like this?
This video is a sample from my collection of Super-Simple Music Tech Lessons Using Free Resources which is available to members of the Midnight Music Community. The Super-Simple Music Tech Lessons Using Free Resources collection includes lesson for:
- Groove Pizza
- Beepbox (video game music)
- Hook Theory
- Chrome Music Lab
- Isle Of Tune
Interested in becoming a member so you can access these lessons, plus LOTS of other resources and online professional development? Find out how to join here.
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