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Becoming a Composer

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Keywords: Music, Composition, Creation
Subject(s): Technology, Music
Grades 9 through 12
NETS-S Standard:
  • Creativity and Innovation
  • Communication and Collaboration
  • Research and Information Fluency
  • Critical Thinking, Problem Solving, and Decision Making
View Full Text of Standards
School: Valhalla High School, El Cajon, CA
Planned By: Kristin Sturek
Original Author: Kristin Sturek, El Cajon
Approximate Lesson Completion Time: 3 days, 1hr classes.

Class Taught: Marching/Symphonic Band

Class Size: 40 students.

California State Standard:
2.6 Compose music in distinct styles.
2.7 Compose and arrange music for voices or various acoustic or digital/electronic instruments, using appropriate ranges for traditional sources of sound.

Required Materials:
Classroom set of Tablets, Teacher Tablet connected to projector.

Direct Instruction:
Teacher will present a powerpoint lesson from his Tablet about different genres of music. The main genres discussed will be: Classical, Rock, Pop, Hip Hop or Rap, Jazz, Alternative or Indie.

Independent Instruction:
Students will then be broken up into groups of 6. Each group will consist of students from different instrument sections. One student will be assigned as the note-taker for the group. Each group will be assigned a musical genre, and brainstorm qualities associated with their genre. Students will be asked to focus on: rhythm, beat, time signature, key signature, and instruments used. The note-taker will be in charge of presenting the information collected to the class.

Guided Instruction:
As a class we will create a chart of each genres main features, as presented by the note-taker. Other groups will be able to give their input on the topic, and the note-taker will add to their groups' research.

Independent Instruction:
Students will then be asked to research their topic as a group on their Tablet, and read about their musical genre. Once students are comfortable with their genre they will be supplied a musical score on their Tablet by the teacher. Students will play the piece with their group and discuss what makes their piece fit in the genre they were assigned.

Guided Instruction:
Groups will play their piece to the class and discuss what they heard in regards to their research. Other students will provide input. Students will be given a tutorial of Music Composition Pro.

Independent Instruction:
Students will be asked to, within their groups, create a 30 second musical score using at least 4 different instruments that is written in the style of their genre. They will create a 2-5 minute presentation as to how their piece fits into the genre.

Students will play their piece to the class on their Tablets, and present their research. Students will be assessed on the quality of their work and research, as well as their understanding of their genre of music. During presentations, every student will be required to answer questions associated with each different presentation.
Cross-Curriculum Ideas
It could be interesting to incorporate a written aspect to this project about a composer, or a time in history, depending on the time allotted for this state standard.
This project could easily transition into state standard 3.3: Compare and contrast the social function of a variety of music forms in various cultures and time periods.
Materials: Mobile Labs, Projectors, Projector Screens, Music, Pro Composition, Midi Instruments