Target Method Lyric Writing

Submitted by Anne Joseph

Anybody having a hard time getting your students to write songs? Well, for me, the Target Method really helps my kids with getting words onto paper and allowing creativity to flow. I used this method with my class, and we won the Little Kids Rock songwriting contest in our age group and category!

First you start off by drawing a 3 ring target. The most inner ring is where you write the topic of the song i.e. Food, The Beach, Love, Friendship, etc.
Then in the middle ring, you ask your students to call out words that first come to mind when you say the topic word (food) i.e. greasy, delicious, plenty, fruit, snacks, junk, tasty, fried, chips, baked.
After establishing those words, you then choose out of that middle selection one word (i.e. baked) to then expound upon in the last ring i.e. cake, dessert, apple pies, sweet, brownies, cookies, filling.

Now, you have a whole bank of words, that you came up with as a class. You task your students to write 2-4 lines using the words on the board. After some time, the students present their 2-4 lines with a melody they have come up with, or some students may rap their lines. As the teacher, you discern which melody is catchy, simple, and easily played. You also establish the notes that are being sung/played, the rhythm, beat, & the tempo.

A student’s example could be:
Thinking about food gets me hungry all the time
The grease, the taste of it is now on my mind
Chips, brownies, cakes, I would choose
Even though my mom says “Eat more fruit!”

Give it a try! And if there are other methods you use to get your kids to start writing, please let me know!

Example “Target Method Lyric Writing”