Overview. Elementary students explore music composition using
remix practices to consider their target audience and purpose while developing
creativity and collaboration skills.
Objectives. Students will:
that popular songs have a purpose, a message, and a target audience
the basic structural elements of song lyrics: verse, chorus, and bridge
creativity and collaboration through composing rhymes and performing new lyrics
for an existing song
Resources and Materials
(or "karaoke") backing track
version of song
to students that some musicians are like authors because they compose
messages to create new songs.
the original version of the song. Children may enjoy two opportunities to listen
to the song once with their ears and once with their bodies (through
movement or dance).
What do you like about this song? What do you dislike? Encourage children
to identify specific features of the song (beat, lyrics, chorus,
instruments, melody, rhyme, etc)
What are the key phrases and ideas (or the characters and story) of the
song? Write these messages down on the board. To get a full list of
phrases, students might need to listen to the song again with this purpose
- Play the karaoke version and ask them what is different about
this version. Invite children to share what they already know about
karaoke as a form of creative play.
- Introduce the activity: Create new lyrics for this song to
communicate a specific message (about an upcoming school event) to inform and
entertain a specific target audience.
- Show an example of work created by other students using the "Teach Me Media" video created by students at the Russell Byers Charter School
- Small groups of students work together to
develop their lyrics, working under deadline pressure. Invite different small
groups to create lyrics for different target audiences (younger children,
grandparents, boys, girls, mothers, teachers, teenagers, etc)
- Use brainstorming and
improvisation techniques to imagine new lyrics that fit with the music and
rhythm of the original song by modifying the message and the purpose within
the structure of the song to inform and entertain the target audience.
- Each team performs their work and records the
new songs using simple audio or video production tools
How did your group's lyrics aim at your target audience? Encourage
students to explain their choices.
- Discuss: What are some other differences between the new song you
created and the original song? Write some of these ideas on the board.
Some people might think that writing new lyrics to an existing song is not
that creative. Other people might think it is example of creative work. What
do you think?
was fun about this project? What was challenging or difficult?
did you notice about how your team worked together?
that the process of using parts of other people's creative work to create
your own messages is called remix.
It is an example of the "fair use" of copyrighted materials. Remix
is an important way to express ideas and can help people develop
confidence in their capacity for creative work.
--Created by David Cooper Moore