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Virtual Museum of Musical Instruments

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Keywords: music, instruments, internet project, web page, web site, symphony, orchestra
Subject(s): Technology, Music, Photography
Grades 4 through 8
Original Author: Jayne Taylor, Cleveland
Older students in my elementary school have had two years of exposure to and creativity training on computer software. They have used MS Office functions to produce presentations for many topics and subjects. This project provides for an artistic application to their growing computer knowledge. As their music teacher, I propose a project to allow students to participate in a registered Internet Project in which they will upload photographs of a classroom project to an existing museum styled website and continue their expressive adventure by compiling an additional page to my classroom website.

Before beginning this project, students will be treated to a lesson in photography by a local professional photographer. They will learn elements of photo composition and how to upload digital pictures to the computer.

To complement a unit of study of the development of the instruments of the orchestra, students will create their own instrument using resources they have access to at home as well as specialized music hardware provided by the teacher. After an extensive classroom study of the families and instruments of the orchestra, students will take a field trip to the local Symphony Hall where they will be treated to a back stage tour complete with professional demonstrations of the instruments followed by a concert.

After creating original instruments of their own, they will post photographs of their creations taken by classmates on the project website. They will utilize photo editing software to adjust their photos and upload them to the gallery. The project also allows for written descriptions and recordings to attach which will be accomplished using MS Office features and voice recording hardware.

Phase two utilizes Tool Factory Homepage. Students will create an individual page to attach to my existing web site which is also accessed through the school web site. On their individual web pages, students will elaborate on the inspiration and creation process of their instruments and include additional photographs of these steps and elements. They will assist each other taking the pictures and edit individual web pages to be attached to a library catalog. They will also contribute to a page which chronicles the trip to Symphony Hall and the photography class they participated in.

This two phase project allows students the opportunity to share their classroom lessons and creativity with friends, family, and the world in general. The use of Olympus Digital Cameras and Tool Factory software will allow them to expand their technology education as well as their creative artistic visions. Their appreciation of musical instruments will be amplified as they display and describe creations of their own. State curriculum standards require that students in upper elementary grades be able to describe and differentiate instruments of the four families of the orchestra and elaborate on certain points of their history and evolution.
The budget will vary dramatically depending on available resources, number of students participating, and the skills level of the students. It can be easily adapted for older students and augmented with a rubric.
Cross-Curriculum Ideas
Social Studies: focusing on specific cultures, countries, and time periods can be used as frameworks for instrument design

Science: topics are prevelent in instrument construction as studies of sound production, pitch (and other sound wave analysis), and vibration.

Math: skills are implemented in instrument design to produce desired sound quality and proportion in relation to existing instruments.

Technology: applications are plentiful and varied.

Social skills are available by working in groups or placing individuals incharge of specific operations (ie- one person takes pictures for everyone, one person uploads pictures, one person edits pictures, one person places all pictures into the web page layout...)
Revisit museum site later in the school year to see what other students around the world have produced extending a cultural study. Speculate on how the instruments might sound. Build some of the posted instruments.

Pursue other projects utilizing the scientific principles of musical instruments.
Links: Musical Instrument Museum
Materials: Point and Shoot, Digital SLR, Word Processor, Web Page, Clipart, Video Editing, xD Memory Cards, Digital Voice Recorders, Flash/USB Drives, Batteries
Other Items: 1 Field trip to symphony hall backstage and concert, $ $125 each
1 Guest professional photographer clinic, $50 each, total of $50.00
100 CD/RW to save student work, $40 each, total of $4000.00
100 Photo print paper for school wide display, $50 each, total of $5000.00
Specialty musical instrument hardware (guitar strings, picks, reeds, drum sticks, drum heads), $235 each
Associated File: 696176.kid