Figurative Language Through Song for Language Arts and Music Teachers (Pt. 3)

This is the third blog post in the series of posts on a song writing unit I delivered to a Grade 9 English Language Arts Class. It is also more than appropriate for a music class of any type. Please check out Part 1 and Part 2.

8. Looking at the Make-up of a Song

This component is to help learners understand the parts of a song and how they might go about organizing their own songs when they go to write one. The slideshow helps learners to understand the parts of well-known songs. 

The slide deck begins with a video that learners should watch to help them understand the components of a song (verse, chorus, bridge). Some songs have pre-choruses which are like a chorus that goes between a verse and a chorus. Pre-choruses often provide a longer build to the chorus. The songs in this activity only have a verse, chorus, or bridge. If you are unfamiliar with parts of a song, this video will be very helpful for you.

After the video, there are four songs to organize. All they need to do is move the words from the word bank (verse, chorus, bridge) to the proper part of the lyrics. This was originally delivered online, but will work well in person too. If you are using this particular slide deck, make sure you select “create a copy for each student” in Google Classroom before you assign it. This way, they can move all the components to the places they need to go.

Part 3 of the Figurative Language Through Song Unit

9. Writing Your Own Song or Poem

This is the final stage of the unit; the culminating activity. Learners will be writing a song or poem using the figurative language we have been learning and are encouraged to put their words to music. The assignment brief includes the steps as well as some tips from our guest artist. Your guest’s tips will likely be different than the ones included here. I don’t assess musical elements for a Language Arts class, but if this is for a music class, obviously there would be some other things you might be looking for.

10. Composition Apps

In music classes, learners would more likely be able to accompany themselves on some type of instrument. In a Language Arts class, this is less likely to be the case. However, in both cases, each of the following online music-making tools would be extremely helpful. All of these are cloud-based or have a free version so will work on any device with access to the internet.

BandLab for Education

This site is a versatile Digital Audio Workstation for working with sound recordings. It has a loop bank that can be very useful for anyone with little experience in music. The Education version of this is completely free and is set up like a LMS for schools to use. There is a mobile version with slightly different features, but the mobile app does not have access to the Education side of BandLab. Start with the loop packs if you have no idea where to begin.

Chrome Music Lab
Chrome Music Lab Home Screen

Chrome Music Lab is a collection of apps for making music and experimenting with sound. Song Maker, Shared Piano, and Rhythm are good ones to begin with.

ChordChord

A great site for finding beats and chord progressions. The paid site will make chord charts for you.

HookPad
HookPad by HookTheory

HookPad by HookTheory is a site for making popular music songs (pop, rock, metal, etc.) using a MIDI grid and chromatic colour notation like Song Maker in Chrome Music Lab to make catchy melodies with chord progressions. Users can make great-sounding music in minutes. It looks rather intimidating at first, but it can help to learn about how songs are constructed and users can have lots of fun with it.

Incredibox

A fun music game for creating beats that fit well for any rap style songs learners might be writing.

Soundtrap for Education

This is very similar to BandLab for Education, but the Education version is paid. The free version is great too, but is not COPPA-compliant, meaning its online environment is unsafe for use in schools.

What do you think? Would you like to see more? This particular blog post is only a small part of this unit. New sections of this unit will be published regularly. Keep on the lookout for Part 4 and for a TpT or eBook resource, too!

Until next time, Happy Musicking.

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