Vol.17 No.7

Techniques: Building a Song

How to assemble the parts of a song for home recording

National Standards: 1-3, 5-7, 9, 11


Ask students if anyone has written a song before. What was the process like? Without looking at the article, who can name one or more parts of a structured song?


Have the class read Techniques: Building a Song (page 20 of the student edition).

Example 1

The first step to building a song is laying down a rhythm. Brainstorm what kinds of objects you have in your house that might be useful for making cool drum sounds. Share with the class!

Example 2

Remember, harmony is the combination of simultaneously sounded musical notes to produce chords and chord progressions that sound good together. There are so many possibilities when it comes to building chords. Be adventurous and experimental, or stick to the basics.

Example 3

Most of us don’t own a bass guitar, but luckily programs like Garageband have bass sounds already built in. Or substitute for any instrument you do have in the low range! Get creative with a piano, a clarinet, even your voice.


Challenge students to build their own song. No materials are off limits. It doesn’t have to be a full song, either. It can be a few bars just to demonstrate that they understand the four distinct sections.