Improvisation and Composition Activity Series 2


An improvisation and composition activity series to spark the imagination of 7-12 year olds and encourage musical expression.

SKU: 3506 Categories: , Tags: ,
Sold By: Kate Thompson


This printable activity is intended for use in musical instrumental lessons, (or class music lessons where pitched instruments are available), to:

  • Support strong rhythmic skills
  • Make improvisation fun and accessible
  • Develop musical expression through the use of dynamics, tempo, articulation and pitch
  • Incorporate an understanding of time signatures
  • Inspire composition


For online lessons, use in a platform that allows screen-sharing and annotation. Screen-share the theme card and use annotation to write in the time signature and rhythms.  Or have your student use a paper copy.


  • Five theme cards
  • Five themed notation templates
  • 15 sets of rhythm cards, of varying complexity (in the time signatures 4/4, 3/4 and 6/8)
  • Rhythm sets range from those suitable for beginners, to more complex rhythms including triplets
  • Instructions


The five themes included are:

  • The dragon’s keep
  • The hidden glade
  • The wilderness
  • Sunrise
  • The secret dell


Activity instructions

  • Choose a set of rhythm cards and a theme
  • Place the rhythm cards in the spaces on the theme page in any order they like
  • Identify the time signature and write it in the space on the theme card:
    • Sets 1, 2 and 3 are in 3/4
    • Sets 4, 5 and 6 are in 4/4
    • Sets 7, 8 and 9 are in 6/8
    • Sets 10, 11 and 12 – triplets in 4/4
    • Sets 13, 14 and 15 – triplets in 3/4
  • Clap the rhythm
  • Think about the theme—how might they use articulation, tempo, pitch and dynamics to convey the theme in their music?
  • Consider whether a major or minor key would best fit the theme
  • Playing their instrument, improvise a melody inspired by the theme, using the rhythm on the cards
  • Experiment with the order of the rhythm cards, using a different set of rhythm cards or using a different theme
  • Try notating improvised musical phrases on a stave – use the theme notation template and add in performance directions
  • If using a keyboard instrument, develop an accompaniment using primary chords or experimenting with other chord progressions
  • Extend the activity by developing longer compositions, using the improvised phrases as a motif. The final page of this resource is included for notating longer compositions


Additional information


Primary School (4-11), Secondary School (11-16)


Beginner (Initial), Early Elementary (Grade 1), Elementary (Grade 2), Early Intermediate (Grade 3), Intermediate (Grade 4)

Resource Type


Teaching Focus

Composition, Improvising, Rhythm


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