Music Composition Example Rubric
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Student creates

Aesthetic Appeal

Does not present an effective general impression. Musical ideas do not hold the listener’s interest.

Includes at least one interesting musical idea. Yet, the overall impression is not effective.

Includes some interesting musical ideas. The general impression is pleasant and moderately effective.

Strong aesthetic appeal and general impression. Would be enjoyed by many listeners. Keeps the listener interested.


Student work is


Musical idea is familiar or a cliché. No variety or exploration of musical elements (range, timbre, dynamics, tempo, rhythm, melody).

Musical idea is neither familiar nor a cliché. However, there is no development, variety, or exploration of musical elements.


Involves some original aspect(s) or manipulation(s) of musical idea(s). Explores and varies at least one musical element.

Includes very original, unusual or imaginative musical ideas. Explores and varies at least two musical elements.

Student demonstrates excellent 


Gives no sense of a completed musical idea. Exhibits no clear beginning, middle or end section. Form appears random rather than organized. Musical elements (range, timbre, dynamics, tempo, rhythm, melody) do not connect well or are not used to organize musical ideas or the form.

Presents one complete musical idea. However, composition lacks overall completeness. Fails to use musical elements to organize musical ideas or form.

Ending feels final. Uses at least one musical element to organize the musical ideas and overall form.

Presents at least one complete musical idea. Has a coherent and organized form with a clear beginning, middle, and end. Uses musical elements to organize musical ideas or the form.


Rubric is a modification of one presented by: Hickey, M. (1999). Assessment rubrics for music composition. Music Educators Journal, 84 (4), 26 -33.