Apple Tree Improvisation & Composition - A Unit for Quarter Note & Eighth Notes

Rated 4.96 out of 5, based on 28 reviews
28 Ratings
Anacrusic by Anne Mileski
Grade Levels
K - 3rd
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Anacrusic by Anne Mileski


I know what you're thinking. Improvisation? Composition? With my little kids? You've got to be kidding me.

No friends, I am 100%, absolutely, positively NOT kidding! This creative twist on a favorite folk song for quarter note and two eighth notes gets your kids creating and owning their rhythmic knowledge through improvisation and composition. Gently scaffold your students from reading known rhythms, to speech improvisation and composition, all the way to formal notation--maybe even adding a melody for your big kids!

I've included each and every step you could possibly need to successful sequence your students from reading rhythmic notation to creating their own mini-piece. Incoporate some cooperative learning groups, use a couple activities for assessment, and get your kids creating and making music right now.

**Note: this unit does not use any rhythm syllables such as "ta" & "ti-ti". This particular sequencing is designed for each teacher to use whatever system she uses in her music classroom.

***The Goods Inside***

Teacher Talk with Anne - I'll lay out all the background info you could possibly need to use this set. You'll get my tips for how I use each resource in this unit, with a few thoughts here and there about how to extend for older students. Included is a suggested sequence and seven different lesson segments to perfectly scaffold content for student comprehension and ownership.

Song Notation & Game Instructions - I've included my own notation of this popular folk song, complete with game directions and pedagogical uses. If you haven't used Apple Tree for quarter note and two eighth notes practice, this piece of the puzzle will give you all the info you need to know.

Rhythm Presentation - Sing the song, keep the beat, clap the rhythm, and derive the rhythm of the song by reading the words, transferring to iconic notation, and finally formal notation. The perfect review of quarter notes and two eighth notes! (Note: this presentation does not use any rhythm syllables. Use whatever system you use in your music classroom.)

Speech Improvisation Presentation - I've taken all the guess work out of moving your students toward musical independence and improvisation. Use this speech presentation to introduce students to improvisation using the words "apple" and "tree." By the end of this lesson, you will be ready to perform a class rondo with "Apple Tree" and improvisations!

Notation Improvisation Presentation - Using the familiar sequencing students have already experienced, bridge the gap between speech and formal notation with this presentation. Students will be familiar with the process and will quickly catch on to using quarter notes and eighth notes in free improvisations. Perform a rondo, then move on to some composing!

Composition Manipulatives - I've included both speech and formal notation manipulatives for students to cross seamlessly from improvisation to composition. Hand these out to individual students, pairs, or small cooperative learning groups to allow students to make musical decisions and subsequently perform for their peers.

Assessment Activity - Last but not least, use the included worksheet to have individual students show their creative process, moving from speech to formal notation. This assignment is great for stations, subtubs, or another quiet day for students to show off their independent musicianship. After everyone has finished their composition, swap with friends and perform for the class!

This set is perfect for all ages--I've even included some ideas on how to add a melody to students' newly composed melodies! If you've been putting off this type of extension activity, or just haven't found the most effective way to start improv and composition, snatch this set now! There's no better way to tackle a new concept than by taking mastered knowledge and adding a new layer. Let's help those kids' musical brains grow!


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You might also like:

Apple Tree - a Unit for Presenting do

Apple Tree - Coloring/Dictation Page


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