Whole-class Songwriting

Painting by Mrs Page (Angela Beaumont) 'Saraswati by the Sea'
Painting by Mrs Page (Angela Beaumont) ‘Saraswati by the Sea’

Recently we had the pleasure of being involved in a songwriting lesson, led by local artist, songwriter and teacher, Mrs Angela Page.

Mrs Page began the lesson by asking students to think of their favourite things. As students raised their hands, she wrote their ideas on the white board. Soon there was quite a list (being a rural school many of these ‘favourite things’ were nature-based). These included:

  • Leaves rustling in the breeze
  • Platypus swimming in the creek
  • Blue sky
  • Green grass
  • Kangaroos
  • Smell of fresh rain

Mrs Page read through the list out-loud and pointed out some of the poetic phrases that were there. She began to write each line that stood out in some way, asking the class if there was a different way to phrase the idea as she went along. The students caught on quickly and soon the lyrics to the chorus were written, followed quickly by the first verse.

At this point Mrs Page picked up her guitar and started playing chords she felt might go with each line. Students made their suggestions the entire time, with Mrs Page’s prompting: “Should it go up here? Or down?” “Faster, or slower?”

This lesson was like a musical extension of a poetry lesson. It wasn’t long before a second verse was written and the whole song was finished. When the song was complete, it was recorded using an app on Mrs Page’s phone so that the melody could be remembered. ‘Our Favourite Things at Bobin School’ has now become our school song: