Saturday, December 16, 2006

Secondary General Music Classes

So my first entry is something I put together for my portfolio submission. We did a brain storming assignment and this is the expanded version of what I cam up with.


Assignment:

You are in charge of creating your own secondary general music classes. You have three class periods and your classes are on a two-year rotation. You have complete creative control for this assignment. You can choose to make your classes any length (nine week, semester, year, etc.) and these classes can be for any level of musical experience.

Class 1 - Three classes over two years that build upon each other. The first two

classes are semester long classes followed by a yearlong

class. This set of classes is designed to be for students

of any musical experience. The classes are structured

as follows:

Beat It! - Move It! - Make It!


Beat It!

This class is designed to be accessible to anyone, but is easily accessible to those with no musical experience. This course is designed to allow students to explore many different sounds and to discover that music can be found anywhere. The students will use any items that can be obtained to create sounds by striking, dropping, or throwing them. As the semester progresses, the students will be required to write down their favorite ideas. Also during the semester, the students will watch other groups that also perform on makeshift instruments to get some ideas. And at the end of the semester, the students will put on a performance without any musical notation. This performance could just be video taped for the class or could be in front of an audience, that would be decided by the class.

The goals of this class would be to teach some basic notation. As the students start to need to write their ideas down, notation becomes a needed subject. Pitches would not be emphasized unless it becomes necessary. Students will also learn the basics of improvisation. They learn to start with known rhythms, and then to create rhythms on the spot from a synthesis of know rhythms. Finally, students would learn about putting on a performance, and they would have to evaluate their performance from a video made of them doing their final project.


Move It! (prerequisite: Beat It!)

This class follows Beat It! and continues with the concepts learned but begin to add movement to beats that the students create. They will not begin to move while playing until about halfway through the semester. The beginning focus of the class will be to continue to create music while half the class moves to the music. Students will be encouraged to explore as many different types of movement, as well as contrasting their movement with the style of music. As the class progresses students will be taught various styles of dance and will learn about some basic choreography techniques. The goals of this class will be to teach the students a little history of dance, to teach the students various styles of dance, and to get the students comfortable with planning movements to music.

The class also would further develop past concepts.


Make It! (prerequisites: Beat It! and Move It!)

The third and final class in this series is a full year long and combines the principles found in the previous classes plus adds a few new elements. The end goal of the class will be to develop a variety show that includes fast and slow music as well as many different dance styles, synthesized however the students visualize. The new element in all this is that the students also learn about the different elements of the stage. They will explore every aspect of the stage from curtains, to lighting to sound. The students will also learn about set designing and set building. Intertwined with all this will be a history of the stage and all its components. The goal of this class would be to design and execute successful stage productions. The class also would further develop past concepts.


Class 2 - Three classes over two years that build upon each other. The first two

classes are semester long classes followed by a year

long class. This set of classes is designed to be for

students of any musical experience, but it is geared

to those that already have some musical experience.

The classes are structured as follows:

Theory/Composition I - Theory/Composition II - Composition Styles


Theory/Composition I

This is a one-semester class designed to be available for anyone, but it is geared to those students that are already into music. This class will teach a basic understanding of theory; note reading, triads, sevenths, and inversions. While learning this basic theory, students will be shown examples of what they are learning from real music, everything from classical to contemporary. Students will also be shown examples of what they are learning in music that is found on the radio making this a very applicable course for students.

Also mixed with this course will be elements of composition. Students will be taught the basic rules of composition and will be given assignments that correspond with the theory that they are learning. At the same time they will have one project that they constantly expand and modify and toward the end of the semester they will be encouraged to finish the piece and the piece will be performed by available performers and will be recorded.

Theory/Composition II (prerequisite: Theory/Composition I)

This is a continuation of Theory/Composition I and is designed to follow the same pattern as the previous class. The main difference is the theory content; special chords, voicing, form, analysis, and transposition.


Composition Styles (prerequisites: Theory/Composition I & II)

This class is a two-semester course designed to teach the histories and styles of composition. The students will also learn about the various instruments and ensembles and how they fit together. The first semester is dedicated to the intensive learning of all this as well as going to rehearsals and performances of professional ensembles. Also, the students will compose small pieces many of the styles that are discussed. The second semester is for the students to use a few styles of writing and then to compose a full piece. The students will pick a few styles that they want to write for, then they will pick an ensemble they want to write for, and they will spend the rest of the semester writing their piece. At the end of the semester the students will have their pieces performed and recorded. The final project will be a CD compilation of all their pieces.

Class 3 - Four classes over two years that are completely independent of each other.

The first three classes are designed to give students a

basic understanding of instruments that can either be

rhythmic or melodic. The fourth class is designed for

students of some musical interest or who have taken

one of the previous classes. The classes are structured

as follows:

Percussion - Piano - Guitar - Jam On!


Percussion

This class is one semester and teaches all the basics of the percussion family. The students will start on non-pitched instruments, then move to mallet instruments, and finally to the drum set and various toys. The students will play in various ensembles and learn some improvisation techniques on the various instruments with the intent on being able to play in another ensemble as a rhythm instrument.


Piano & Guitar

These two classes are each a semester long as well. Students will learn beginning playing techniques. They will begin with single note melodies then will move to chords. The students will also learn about chord structures and basic accompaniment techniques with the emphasis on being able to play as an accompaniment instrument or a melody instrument in a smaller ensemble.

Jam On! (prerequisite: some musical experience or Percussion, Piano, or Guitar)

This final class is designed to help student with performing prepared and improvised music. The students will be taught how to work together to improvise music based on a set form, and also how to plan out chord progressions and create melodies out of chord progressions. The goal of this course is to develop the ability to be creative musicians. So that when the students are on their own they can still create music.

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