Music KS2 / KS3: Composing a piece of music using unpitched percussion

A group of children, who have no experience of composing music, work as a team to produce a short piece performed entirely using their voices and clapping.

Their inspiration comes from the environment around them, in particular a graffitied wall which is full of colour.

They translate what they see into rhythmic patterns and layer up the sounds to create a composition.

The group then perform and record their final piece in a church.

The children learn the importance of keeping in time and how a project develops from a simple pattern to a piece of music.

This is from the series: Compose Yourself

Teacher Notes

Groups of children could follow the steps demonstrated by the children in the clip to create their own piece of music.

The group can pick their own ‘word family’ to base their piece on or it may be more appropriate to have one picked for them, perhaps relating to a current classroom project.

To develop the music further the group could try getting different players to drop out for a short time so that the character of the pattern changes, extend the pattern to repeat every eight beats, rather than four, and add further layers using percussion instruments, additional voices or other ‘layers’.

Curriculum Notes

This clip will be relevant for teaching Music at KS2 and KS3 in England, Foundation Phase and KS2 and KS3 in Wales and 2nd and 3rd level in Scotland.

Also KS1, KS2 and KS3 in Northern Ireland.

More from the series: Compose Yourself

Composing a silent film soundtrack
Finding sounds around you to create music
Taking inspiration from your surroundings to compose music
Using everyday objects to create music