Musical Fractions - Interpretation & Creation (1)

3 teachers like this lesson
Print Lesson


SWBAT write fraction equations to represent the measures in a very simple musical score and will prepare to create their first score!

Big Idea

Students use math, music and technology in this engaging lesson on fractions!

Note for the Teacher: How to Use the Noteflight Program

This is an instructional video on how to enter notes in the Noteflight program.  I suggest that you watch it and play around with the program on your own and then teach it to the students yourself instead of using this video, which is fast-paced and has extraneous information that is not needed for this lesson.

One thing to consider is whether you want students to create  individual Noteflight accounts or if they will be operating using accounts you create.  My students have their own district-supplied gmail accounts, so it is easy for me to have them create an account at this site with their district user name and regular password.


2 minutes

I tell students that today they will be looking at several more examples of music (continuation of yesterday's Introduction to Musical Fractions) with the challenge of explaining the relationship between fractions and the notes.  

We will also create a simple musical piece together in Noteflight which will prepare them to create their own music tomorrow!  Prior to starting with the guided discussion, I ask them if they have any questions about what we did yesterday or what we will be doing today.

Guided Discussion

20 minutes

We review the value of the different notes by looking at this example of a simple chord melody.  There are two approaches you could use to do this - either talk through the labeling of the fractions together or  print this page and have students write on their own individual papers.  While we work on the fractions I also play the simple chord melody.  This is how I explain it.

Then I discussed a more complex example because some of them were ready to try something more complex and all of them were interested.  Here is an explanation, for you (the teacher) of the advanced review exercise. If you'd like to use this example as well, here is a file with just the music.

I also show them how they can reset the playback speed, which is useful when they are listening carefully for the relationship between notes.

Creating a Class Score

30 minutes

I demonstrate how to open up the program, go to a new score, and place whole, half and quarter notes.  Then the students help me select notes and we create a few measures together.  

Now students pair up (2 students for each mini laptop) and we go through the account creation and log in process together.  When that is completed, we create a two measure score together.  

Most of the students are able to follow along and the students that are getting tied up in the technology simply put the computers aside and follow along again on the big screen.  I have found that if students are taught a program as a whole group then enough of them catch on to it that I can then recruit them as teaching assistants to get the rest of the students over the initial hurdles.

Wrap Up

5 minutes

At the close of this lesson, I ask students to think of one aspect of the new program they learned (for example, technology skill) and one equivalency represented by the music (for example, two quarter notes equal one half note).  

I have students leave the program up on their computer so I can go around and check on their progress at lunch time.  I use this information to place them in informal groups for tomorrow:

  • Independent 
  • Review
  • Extra Support 
  • Alert!