Midweek Music Activities

Every Wednesday we’ll be adding a new #MidweekMusic activity for you to do at home or in school. You’ll find all the help and resource you need by clicking the folders below, and you can share your responses with us too!

Week 5: Composing Music

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Exploring Sounds and Creating Graphic Scores

Making up our own music is a great way to explore how we feel, and enables us to tell a story about what’s going on in our lives. This week we are going to explore all the different sounds we can make on our instruments or using our bodies and create some graphic score symbols to represent them.


Use the Chrome Lab spectrogram tool to investigate how different sounds can be reflected as different shapes and colours. Click on the mic button to input your own sounds – experiment with different voice and body percussion sounds, instruments if you have them or even everyday objects like pencils and paper.


Open Chrome Music Lab



In music when we write instructions for playing music it’s called a score. Some scores look like this:

Other scores use pictures and symbols to tell us which sounds to make. This is called a graphic score.

Here’s an example of a graphic score for a piece of music called ‘Kitchen Noises’!

See if you can follow the score while you listen.

Hear Kitchen Noises See Kitchen Noises


Look at these symbols. How would you make a sound that reflects that symbol?

  • Experiment with your voices, body percussion or instruments.
  • Is it high, low, quiet, loud, short, long, sharp or soft?
  • A few different notes or just one?

Now it’s time to make your own graphic score

  1. Draw, colour or cut out four symbols, words or shapes. If you are stuck for ideas, think of a theme: try cartoon noises or emoticon faces.
  2. Decide what sound you are going to make for each symbol. Practise them in different orders and decide on a final sequence. Are you going to repeat any sounds? How will you know how long each sound is going to be? What will the ending be like? Draw or stick your symbols on a piece of paper in the order you have decided and add any other details.
  3. Finally – perform your piece! You could use the backing track in this video to add a pulse (steady beat) to your music – or you could keep it totally free.

Have a look at some more examples of graphic scores.

Graphic Scores

Choose one of the scores to perform yourself – decide what sound you will make for each symbol. Here’s a good one to try:

Wiggles and Squiggles

Ask someone else to perform your graphic score.

Think about what instructions or information they might need. You could create a key like in ‘Kitchen Noises’.

Kitchen Noises Key (School of Noise)

How does it sound different?

Can you perform the music using different instruments and sounds?

Experiment with some of the other music-making tools in Chrome Music Lab.

Chrome Music Lab



Week 4 Activity
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Making Music with Ableton

Over the next few weeks we will be creating music in different ways. #MidweekMusic Session 4 takes you through creating music online using Ableton’s Learning Music.

If you have ever used Garage band or Fruity Loops programs to create music, you will be familiar with some of the topics on the site. There are plenty of musical exercises to get stuck in to, so this is about YOU creating music and hopefully learning as you do it.


Launch the Ableton Learning Music website and let’s get started straight away.

Open the website


On the first page if you scroll down you will see this grid:

Each box triggers a different instrument sample. Simply click the play button on any box and the sample will begin to play. Press it again and it will stop.

Watch Mr Haythornthwaite’s video using the samples he enjoyed. This is to give you an idea of what you can do using just a few samples.

Go to Main Activity for your task…

Your task is to create a piece of music using these samples.

This is about YOU creating something that YOU like so play around until you find a combination of sounds you enjoy. Try and avoid copying the examples.

  • Create a piece that is a minimum of 30 seconds in length.
  • Listen to the music as it is playing and create interest by stopping and starting samples at different points in time. See if you can create your own composition in this way, make a note of which ones you use and how many times they are repeated before you turn them off and on so that you can perform your ideas to a friend or family member.
  • Remember it’s about what YOU like!!

In the   Extension Activities    we look at creating drum loops.

Making Beats

  • Drumbeats or ‘beats’ provide the Pulse and Rhythm to music.
  • A beat can be used to create atmosphere, dynamics, feel and intention to a song. Think of a style of song you would like to create and imagine how that drumbeat might sound, would it be fast or slow? Busy or simple?
  • Your task here is to create a couple of drumbeats of your own using the drumbeat application on Ableton’s make beats website. Look at Mr Haythornthwaite’s video and image below as an example of Back Beat.
Learning Music: Making Beats



Changing one little part of a drumbeat can drastically change the sound and feel of the beat, Changing the *Tempo can too, so please feel free to try things out and experiment. There are no wrong answers. Find something YOU like and most importantly enjoy yourself!




* Unsure what ‘Tempo’ means? See videos on Tempo in Midweek Music Activity Week 2

Use these pictures of example drumbeats from songs you will know to feed into Ableton. Listen to the original version of one of the examples:

  • What can you add in or take out to make it sound more like your own version of accompaniment to the song?
  • What would make the most difference?
  • What would make it more interesting? For example – what would happen if you add a snare drum or take out the closed-hat sounds?

Now create your own patterns and form something of your own.

Dance Monkey

Umbrella – Rihanna

Watch a performance of Sakura Tsuruta using Ableton

Week 3 Activity
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Welcome to WEEK 3 of Cumbria Midweek Music activities. We hope that you have enjoyed the sessions so far that connect with Cumbria Sings. Have you uploaded anything for our video yet? Closing date for submissions is 10 February.

This week, we’re focusing on Anna Kendricks version of the Cup Song from Pitch Perfect.

Watch the official video:


These warm ups require a cup! Choose one or two of the following to try.

In this first example you will be listening to, and repeating rhythms before doing call and response activities to the song I don’t care if the rain comes down.


For this next activity you will need two cups.


For the second part of this warm up activity either copy the rhythms or read the notation yourself. You will still need your cup!

Or try either of these more advanced copy games with a cup along to Dance Monkey

or Coffin dance

Our very own Mrs Kenyon from Cumbria Music Hub has created this video to help you learn the cup song rhythm pattern. Why don’t you watch it and  have a go yourselves?

Here is a performance version of song. Could you and a friend of member of your family recreate this and perhaps make a little video to share with us?


Upload here


Watch an acapella version of When I’m Gone:

Is there someone in your family or at school who could accompany you performing your own version of the cups song on the Ukulele? Here are two videos from many on YouTube that show the chord progressions for When I’m Gone.

When I’m Gone Ukulele 1

When I’m Gone Ukulele 2

1: Try out the cup song rhythm to other songs:

  • List the songs to which the rhythm fits well
  • Or those to which it doesn’t
  • Can you work out why? Is it something to do with the tempo of the music?
  • What does Tempo mean?

If you are not sure, take a look at these two video clips to help you understand the meaning of the word Tempo.

Tempo 1 (Mr Henry’s Music World)

Tempo 2: Explanation and Quiz (Elementary Groovetracks)

2: Make you your own Rhythm pattern to accompany a song that you like, either with or without the cup.

If you need help creating a rhythm pattern, watch this rhythm composition video to help you:

Rhythm Composition Video

1: Finish your music session today by clapping along to When Can I See You Again with lots of different rhythm patterns:


2: Or choose one, or all of these amazing versions of the Cup Song to watch and finish with. It took 47 takes to get this cup rhythm piece right – they make it look so easy.

Watch the perfected version first…

Then the bloopers version

Week 2 Activity
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Our Week 2 #MidweekMusic Activity is to extend the work we did last week based around the song “It’s ok (Please just say)”.

As you may have already gathered, the song is about sharing our feelings and improving mental health. We will therefore focus more on wellbeing tasks in this session as well as reminding you to submit and upload any videos, photos or helpful comments that will contribute to the Cumbrian video that we have already started to make.

It is important to look after your voice and warm it up before you have a singing session.
Here are two Vocal Warm ups from BBC Teach to try before you sing “It’s OK”. Choose between KS1 or KS2 and older.


KS2 or older

A: It’s Ok, Singing and Signing

Watch the Video of “It’s OK” Lyrics and signing.

Sing or Sign through all of It’s OK.

  • Can you do any of this now from memory?
  • Can your teacher film it in your location e.g. your classroom or in the playground?
  • Or, if you are at home can you and your family film it somewhere more unique that makes us identify with you being in Cumbria – e.g. at a special landmark near where you live perhaps?

When you have done this we’d love you to share with us so you can be part of Cumbria Sings. You could share:

  • a film of you signing or singing
  • a short clip or photos of you doing something together as a family, that might inspire others to have a go and have some fun


Find out more


B: Creating a coping Toolbox

Find a box and place things that you have at home into it that remind you of good times. For example,

  • photos
  • drawings
  • a gift
  • a note from a relative or a friend
  • a sachet of hot chocolate
  • a note of your favourite film to download
  • a message to yourself of something physical that you can do to make you feel better – even if it’s something small, like take ten slow deep breaths.

What message could you write that would help someone else who is feeling low at this time? We would love you to upload this message to our website if you are willing to share it with us?

Download your full pack of FREE resources, including videos, lyrics and other fun activities from OneMoreSong. Just sign up for a code to access the resources (worth £12.99).

Other FREE children’s wellbeing activities:

  • Visit Partnership for Children
  • Look out for support from Cumbria County Council’s promotional activities supporting the National children’s mental Health Charity PLACE2BE during Mental Health week 1-7 February
  • My Time Cumbria will be delivering 40 min webinar sessions for parents on anxiety – what’s normal and when you might need some help
  • CCC will also be launching a longer public information campaign to support CYP, Parents and Carers access to resources and services supporting Emotional Wellbeing and Mental Health
  • Kooth online chat forums will also be taking place on different themes during Children’s mental health week – and is a fabulous mental health resource for all young people

Choose the activity which suits you best, or cool down with them all:

It’s alright (from SOUL): Rhythm reading and body percussion


Sing along to it’s alright with Jon Batiste, celeste, official lyric: Fight Song video Rhythm reading level 1: Sing and clap

Fight Song video Rhythm reading level 1: Sing and clap

Week 1 Activity

Week 1: 20 January

Cumbria Sings: It’s OK Week 1

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Our first project is a video about wellbeing during our third lockdown, featuring children, families and teachers from across the county. The song “It’s OK (Please just say)” is about sharing our feelings and improving mental health.

We’d like you, your family or your class to

  • film a clip of you singing, or singing and signing, any part of this song to share with us, or
  • you can just share photos of you doing things together that make you feel better (a family walk, playing a board or video game), or
  • tell us your top tip for dealing with anxious or sad feelings that we may be able to include in the video performance of our song.

Managing changing and challenging situations, such as those that we have all faced in the last year, create some complex emotions in us that are better if they are acknowledged and explored. It is absolutely OK not to feel OK! Just say it out loud, share your feelings with others and you will be taking a step towards feeling happier. We can’t wait to share our message and hear from you.

Please share your responses with us before 10 February.

Singing is one of the most positive forms of human activity, supporting both physical and mental health. Our voice reflects our mood and general wellbeing. So, in this first activity session we will focus on learning to sing the song “It’s Ok”.

We will share more wellbeing resources in Activity 2 next week.

Watch the Video of “It’s OK”.

a: Listening

  • Write a couple of sentences about what the main message of the song is all about and how it makes you feel?
  • On your second listening, describe what key musical elements contribute to the mood of the song? For example, is there something about the way in which it is sung? Or because of how many people sing in the verse? Or the actual musical ingredients themselves that enable the music to make us feel this way? (Is the music fast? Slow? Lively? Smooth? Loud? Soft?)
  • What instruments can you hear?
  • Can you write down the structure of the song using the words Verse, Chorus and Bridge in list form (the Bridge section in a song takes you from one section to another and is often slightly different to the rest of the song).
  • In “It’s OK”, the bridge section suggests some things we can do to manage our feelings. Can you write down something you do that helps you manage your feelings when you are feeling blue?

b: Learn to sing the song

  • Follow the Cumbria Sings video or visit YouTube.
  • Visit One More Song for your full pack of FREE resources, including videos, lyrics and other fun activities. Just sign up for a code to access the resources worth £12.99.
Learn to Sign the chorus of “It’s OK” watching the signing version of this song through the free download of the resource pack (see link above).
Choose a task from the activities below:

1: Make your own Sock Puppet

2: Make a list of video, photo or written ideas that you could submit to share in our Cumbria Sings performance.

Choose the level and activity that suits you best:

  1. Happier Video Rhythm clap along Level 1 (reading easy notation)
  2. Happier Video Rhythm clap along Level 3 (this includes semiquaver patterns)
  3. Get outside and try this Basket Ball routine to Happier