After years of teaching K-2, I am now teaching 6th grade, as well. My school just implemented a one-to-one laptop program, so all my students have PC laptops. Due to budget restrictions, we are using the free Finale Notepad this year so we can do some composition. Do you have any suggestions on how to get the students comfortable with navigating the program so we can do some actual composing?
Should I start with just having them copy a short piece of music so they can practice selecting the right note values and putting them in the correct place? Or should I do something with more creativity built in, such as giving strict parameters, something along the line of “in 4/4 time, write 4 measures in C pentatonic using only quarter notes and half notes”, which at least gives them choice in the notes?
They can’t get more creative until they master the software, so what is the quickest way to do that?