By Connor Armbruster
Create your own harmony for "Happy Birthday." You can write it down, or simply sing or play. The chords typically used in this song are I, IV, and V. [For students who aren't familiar with chords, try using the first, fourth, and fifth note of a major scale. For example, in G Major, you would use G, C, and D.] Use these chords for inspiration, or try out something completely different. Maybe a minor chord?
List as many songs as you can that, like "Happy Birthday," you learned through oral tradition. Have you ever seen the written music for these songs?
Create your own neumes. Draw some symbols on a page and see how a friend or family member interprets them. Did they make the same sounds that you had envisioned?
Imagine what written music might look like in the future. What elements of today’s written music do you think will remain the same? What do you think might be added or changed?