Music Shuffle Creative Writing Exercise


Music Shuffle Creative Writing Exercise

Open your music player/app.
Put on shuffle (aka random).
Hit Play.
Record title, artist, and length of the first random song that comes up.

Use the song title, and/or lyrics, as the prompt for this exercise. You may write a short story, drabble, poem, whatever strikes your fancy—as long as it is inspired by the title/lyrics of your random song.

Make sure to include the song info at the top of the assignment.

★ For an added challenge, write a story/poem that is the same length as the song. Meaning, if the song is 2 minutes 34 seconds (2:34) long, the work should be 234 words long.

Student Outcome: students will practice creative writing skills. Students will produce a creative work inspired by a random song.

Alaska Standards

  • W.9-10.3 Use narrative writing to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, well-chosen details, and well-structured event sequences.
  • W.9-10.3d Use precise words and phrases, telling details, and sensory language to convey a vivid picture of the experiences, events, setting, and/or characters.
  • W.9-10.4 Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, style, and features are appropriate to task, genre, purpose, and audience.
  • W.9-10.10 Write routinely over extended time frames (time for research, reflection, and revision) and shorter time frames (a single sitting or a day or two) for a range of tasks, purposes, and audiences.
  • L.9-10.5 Demonstrate understanding of figurative language, word relationships, and nuances in word meanings.

Assessment: Music inspired work.

Music Shuffle Creative Writing Exercise Rubric
Labeled with song information = 1 point
Exceeds Expectations = 3 Acceptable = 2 Needs Revision = 1
Work is written clearly and cohesively to convey thought, feeling, and/or narration. Work clearly conveys thought, feeling, and/or narration. Work lacks cohesiveness and clarity.
Word choice is thoughtful and appropriate. Word choice is mostly thoughtful and appropriate. Word choice is not appropriate for topic/purpose.
There are no spelling/grammar errors. There are small errors in spelling/grammar. Work contains many spelling/grammar errors.
Total points possible = 10



Sarah Carstensen


“Summertime” – My Chemical Romance, 4:06

Dusk is clawing its last at the horizon, stubbornly clinging as swarthy Nótt rides ever closer. The air in the valley is heavy and cool, carrying the scent of rain. In the distance a sharp crack heralds a pop of sparks. The too-green wood of the bonfire creating a thick cloud of smoke, visible even here, chalky grey against the indigo blues of the sky. A slightly out of tune guitar hums out a scale. Voices rise and fall, shaded warm and companionable. Quilt-topped canvas is soft under sun-redden skin; a damp patch growing where a mason-jar of iced tea bleeds condensation. Sweet juice from the crisp watermelon, still cold from its afternoon in the river, stains fingers tangled together. Contentment and anticipation bubble away at each other; soon subsumed under excitement as the first whistling explosion bursts into color, taking over the sky.

Points = 10


13 Comments on “Music Shuffle Creative Writing Exercise

  1. Fun prompt. In a tangential way, it inspired me to resurrect a blog post from long ago in which I worried my iPod was trying to kill me.

  2. This is a great assignment. I tend to listen to music playlists that other people create. I’ve got some music on my local device but it in no way represents who I or what I really enjoy. I just found a box of CDs (yes, I’m that old) that moved with me 9 years ago (so nothing current) and I’ve been going through them sorting between the keepers and the giveaways. I have a stack on my desk that I listen to throughout my workday. Here is the stack currently on my desk: Moonlight Serenade: Big Band Hits of the 30s & 40s, Sunset Boulevard sound track, Wynton Marsalis: Wynton, Little Feat: Waiting for Columbus and REM: Out of time. I’m not even sure when some of these came from.

    I’m thinking about trying out your exercise just of of the titles.

  3. Not gonna lie… the prospect of doing this terrifies me! Maybe that means it is an excellent assignment. It pushes people like me, who don’t consider themselves to be creative in the creative writing arena, to push their boundaries. 🙂

  4. Pingback: Wing It: Wingman – D'Arcy L. Hutchings, MLIS, Future M.Ed.

  5. Hi Sarah, I agree with Heidi — this is a great assignment! Thanks to music videos industry most of the pop songs already have a story attached to them, interpreted by someone else. It really made me shutter with a revelation that I mentally refer to these stories when I hear pop on my playlist. In fact, and I hate to admit it, I don’t even think twice there could be a different story attached (unless it is jazz, or other type of abstract sound-making). Is musical somnambulism a thing? 🙂

    • I don’t know if musical somnambulism is a thing, it would be an interesting topic to look up though. You could riff it off your tech somnambulism post perhaps.

  6. This is so fun! I think it would be a neat way to get students to share a bit about themselves and get them to thing about theme and mood. Love it!

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