Saturday, March 28, 2009

Beat It! (in-depth exploration)

This post is (as the title suggests) a more in-depth exploration of a concept i presented earlier, specifically in my post titled, "Secondary General Music Classes"

This class is designed to be accessible to anyone. It is designed to allow students to explore many different sounds and ways to make music. It is also designed to help students realize that music can be found anywhere. The students will use any items that can be obtained, including available percussion instruments, 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, on video and in person, that perform in this improvisatory style and/or found sound style 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, which 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, as well as a beginning knowledge of the history of improvisation and it’s role in classical music. They learn to start with known rhythms, and then to create rhythms on the spot from a synthesis of their prior knowledge.

Introduction (Week One)

What the course is about, and a preview of things to come.

Beats and Rhythm (Weeks Two, Three, & Four)

Students will all be given sticks to begin experimenting with rhythms

Students will also be encouraged to write down the rhythms that they find they like

Students will also experiment in groups of twos and more in the same manner to discover

the way rhythms interact with each other

Found Sounds (Weeks Five, Six, & Seven)

Students will continue with the things in a like manner adding experimentation with

found sounds and incorporating the rhythms to work on “instrumentation”

History in Practice (Weeks Eight, Nine, Ten & Eleven)

Continue with previous concepts and begin discussing history of improvisation

Putting it Together (Weeks Twelve, Thirteen, & Fourteen)

Presentation of projects

Continue working with improvisation

Performance Planning (Weeks Fifteen, Sixteen & Seventeen)

Deciding what rhythms to use and what will be left open

Who plays what

What order to perform in

Performance and Debriefing (Week Eighteen)

Video and audio recording of performance

Talk about what was learned and the experience of spontaneous creation

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