Arranging Folk Songs

Students will be placed into groups and work together to arrange a folk tune. The teacher should assign student groups prior to announcing the assignment in order to ensure that each group contains students with as much variety of musical backgrounds and levels of experience as possible.
In Part 1, students will choose a tune from a pre-established list of familiar folk tunes and begin to arrange and rehearse their selected tune. Part 2 (one week after Day 1) will be for a second 50-minute rehearsal period. In Part 3, students will perform their arrangements in class. Students will be expected to rehearse outside of class over the two-week period. Students will also maintain a rehearsal journal in which they reflect on their experiences of arranging their selected tune and preparing it for performance.

This item has been voluntarily field-tested by Michigan teachers with a non-representative sample of students.

This is an analytic rubric. The column on the left shows the dimension that is being measured in the student’s performance. The levels across the top row indicate the performance level in the dimensions. Occasionally all dimensions and performance levels are exemplified by multiple students in a single recording.


  • Dimension
  • Creativity/ Complexity of Arrangement

  • Journal Completion

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • Arrangement is incomplete and/or represents minimum effort.

    N/A at this time.
  • Arrangement is basic and straightforward. It is a complete representation of the original song but does little in the way of innovation.

    View Exemplar
  • Arrangement is somewhat creative and uses some features like harmony and, for vocalists, vocal percussion. Arrangement may be less innovative than a Level 4, or it may depart so much from the original that it is hard to recognize.

    View Exemplar
  • Arrangement is creative and makes successful use of features like harmony and, for vocalists, vocal percussion. Arrangement is innovative but remains true to the original tune.

    View Exemplar
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