Im back again from the dead, resurrecting this site from the grave that I thought I could leave it in. While blogging regularly about work is not my favourite thing the world, I think it is actually a really good idea. It helps keep me accountable to the amount of work I am doing, and to be honest with how I am going with it. Right now I am listening to Bon Iver’s Skinny Love (yes this is actually the original, but Birdy’s version is pretty good too), and drinking tea, so it is the perfect time for me to reflect on my process so far.
In case you were wondering the story so far is that I have been given another assignment that I need to blog about so, the person who ends up marking it will know what I have been thinking as I go along. The assignment is to first come up with 5 pieces to study in the Music 2 course. These pieces need to have an Australian focus, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they have to be composed by an Australian composer. One of the 5 pieces need to be a piece that isn’t Western Art Music (WAM), and all pieces need to have been composed sometime in the last 25 years. In case you wondering that any time after 1991. So to play it safe probably 1992 and later. I then need to create a unit of work on one of these 5 pieces to be taught over 6-10 weeks with two lessons a week with each lesson lasting 1hr and a half. I then need to do detailed lesson plans for 3 weeks of this unit of work. On top of all of this I need to include one other piece other then the Australian focus piece to study. Easy task right. There are lots more components to this assessment which I will detail over my next posts, as I progress through this assessment, but what I have outlined above is the minimum details needed to understand this assessment. By the end of this assessment I hope to provide you, my dedicated few readers with a resource that you can use in your own teaching.
So, in case you are wondering I have just started this assessment, and currently I have come up with a sorta-kinda plan for the 5 pieces to study in class. I will list the pieces in numerical order and explain what I am think for each one.
- Piece 1: I was talking to my cousin about what she teaches her music 2 class during the HSC and how she chooses pieces to study. She said that she always gets her music 2 students to study their core performance piece as it has to be a piece with an Australian focus written in the last 25 years. I think that this is a really good idea as it means students have a working and intimate knowledge of the piece they are playing and will benefit their performance of it. And because they know how to play it well, they will be able to write about it easier.
- Piece 2: I was looking through the AMC (Australian Music Centre) website for Australian composers and came across a guy called Tim Hansen. He has written a bunch of stuff in the last decade and I plan to study one of his works called Goldbrick Oilslick. This is an orchestral work and uses a unique orchestration as it features, guitar, electric bass, and synthesiser – instruments which are not generally found in the orchestra. This piece will extend students perception of ‘traditional’ orchestral sounds and how the boundaries of the traditional orchestra are being broken down by including such instruments as electric bass and synthesiser.
- Piece 3: I think I am going to use a piece by the a cappella group, The Idea Of North. This group do many different things with their voices, taking inspiration from many different music traditions. One of their original pieces will be good to study as my non-WAM piece, as there is a lot that can be explored contextually as well as musically.
- Piece 4: There is a Australian composer by the name of Gordan Hamilton. He is the artistic director of The Australian Voices, and has had many of his works performed by The Australian Voices and the Queensland Sydney Orchestra. His works contain many extended techniques and push the boundaries of music in ways that are bizarre and weirdly relevant. His piece Ghosts In The Orchestra explores what the composer’s role, and can actively involve the audience in the composition. It will be an interesting work to explore in many aspects, but in particular its use of tone colour and notation, as it uses both traditional and graphic notation.
- Piece 5: The last piece I will use is Ulpirra by Ross Edwards. It is a short work written for solo instrument (clarinet, soprano sax, etc). It is a short work, but full of content that students can explore in depth. It features phrases that mimic bird noises, a feature of Australian music that can be explored in depth in other Australian works.
So there you have it, my 5 works that I propose to study. Yes they are all Australian, but with the brief expressing ‘with an Australian focus’, I think that it is easier to examine and study Australian pieces.