TSS #4

Well, it has been an interesting 24 hours. These are some things that have happened:

  1. My computer randomly stopped working so I restarted it, and when I restarted it, I went to open Word and keep working on this assessment. Unfortunately all the work that I had done hadn’t been saved. So I had to start all again. Luckily through writing a lot of it up on here, my blog, I was able to quickly get back to were I was before I lost it all.
  2. I got the 6 detailed lesson plans done last night.
  3. I am just finishing off completing the 6 lesson plans.
  4. I am feeling pretty good about it.

I currently feel like I am on the home stretch right now, I feel like the majority of the hard work  is done and now it is all the easy stuff to go. The only problem is that all the small stuff is really irritating and some what time consuming to do. Currently the things I have left to complete are:

  • Create resources
  • finish of the fine detail for my Unit of Work
  • continue blogging

This may not seem like much, but it will be time consuming. Look out for another post tonight!!!!

TSS #3

Uggggggghhhhhhhh. I am well done right now. I have zero motivation to finish this assessment. I have less then two days left to finish everything and I know I will get it done but I just no desire to do so! I have been reading the regular updates of my classmates about how they are going with this assessment and it is absolutely crazy the amount of resources they are creating. Like I think creating lots of resources can be good, but I have always been about the minimalist approach of minimal resources and using what you would be able to find in a generally in a music classroom. Creating a iBook is all well and good, but if the students don’t have iPads or Macs, then it is a bit of a waste of time. I do like programs that you can use in the browser for this very reason, they don’t limit you in what you can do and what the students can access. I think creating resources that can only be used in a specific location on a specific device is also a bit pointless, and dare I say it, backwards. Education has gone open, lets keep it that way.

Time to get an update on my assessment so far. I have decided to change the unit of work to focus on Ulpirra by Ross Edwards, instead of Thou Shalt by Naomi Crellin as I was having trouble getting hold of a score for Thou Shalt. I have found pieces that I will study in this unit of work to supplement studying Ulpirra. They are: Hungarian Dance No. 5 by Brahms and Six Dances in Bulgarian Rhythm by Bartok. I have chosen these as they provide good content for concept study in the areas of PitchDuration, and Structure. Studying these in detail will enable students to understand PitchDuration, and Structure material presented in Ulpirra.

Now that I have given you a quick update on my UOW plan, it is time for me to sit down and write it. Hopefully, next post will be an update on how I have finished my UOW!!!

TSS Round 2

Well, here we go again. Another day, well 2 since the last post, and another post about another assessment that I have to do before I finish this semester. The last post I did I gave a brief overview of the 5 pieces I am planning on looking at. Unfortunately, I had another look at the the TSS unit outline and realised I needed to change some pieces. Currently my list is as follows:

  1. Ulpirra by Ross Edwards (1993)
  2. Ghost Gnat Parasite by Tim Hansen (2011)
  3. Tangents by Roger Zare (2014)
  4. Thou Shalt by Naomi Crellin (2006)
  5. The core performance piece of each student in the class

As you can see the main differences in this list is I have decided to do a string trio by Tim Hansen instead of his orchestral work Goldbrick Oilslick. I have also decided to do Tangents by Roger Zare as an orchestral work, but also because Zare is an international composer. I have finally decided upon a piece by The Idea of North. I am going to study Thou Shalt by Naomi Crellin, as it fulfils both the category of non WAM music and a piece by a female composer.

I have also decided upon the types of students that I theoretically have in my class, and filled out most of the table that I am required to fill out for this assessment (see below). I am yet to fill in the column that talks about what I plan to assess and focus on in each piece.

Instrument Approx. AMEB grade Repertoire Assess
Oboe 6 Monologue by Philip Czaplowski
Soprano Voice AMUS The Lake Isle of Innisfree by Gordon Kerry
Saxophone 7 Different Hats, in the Park, on Sunday by Andrew Peachy
Cello 5 Dawn Lament by Paul Stanhope
Flute 6 And my Angel whisper peace to me by Jim Coyle

I decided pretty randomly what instruments my theoretical students played as the only criteria was you cannot have a student that plays the same instrument as the teacher. I used the Australian Music Centre (AMC) to find pieces at an appropriate level and time length for my students core performance. The AMC have a page that provides an extensive list of pieces composed by Australian composers in the last 25 years (link here: http://www.australianmusiccentre.com.au/guides/hsc). This is a really handy resource that can be used by teachers and students alike. As a member you can also download scores for perusing for 3 weeks which is really handy as it allows students to find pieces that they like and will enjoy, in conjunction with the teacher.

I have also started on my Unit Of Work (UOW). I have decided to do my UOW on Thou Shalt as it will provide a good pathway into Australian Indigenous culture as well as providing a good way into understanding the concepts through choral works. Thou Shalt UOW shall be supplemented with other pieces that are yet to be confirmed. This unit of work will run over 6 weeks with two lessons a week that run for an hour and a half each. The UOW will give students an opportunity to perform, compose and listen through a variety of scaffolded activities. I hope to share with you a basic structure of my unit of work soon.

 

Peace out team, and wish me luck.

 

Planning TSS

Dear squad,
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.

 

 

 

CME Mix-bag Teaching Methodology and Reflections

My mix-bag arrangement of various hip-hop themes was designed with stage 4 groups in mind for beginner to intermediate players but focusing more on the beginner end of the spectrum. This arrangement however, could be used for good stage 3 ensembles, and as a repertoire piece for stage 5. All parts except the horns (because seriously, how many horns do you come across in the average school!!) have both a hard and easy part, and appropriate ranges have been taken into consideration. For example, the harder clarinet goes over the break, while the easy part does not. I included two improve sections, one in that is major and one that is minor. This allows students to get an understanding of how both sound like and what notes sound good when improvising over major and/or minor.

I choose to use themes from hip-hop songs, as they are very memorable tags and thus easy to memorize. This lends this composition to be learnt from an Orff approach approach. They way I would teach this using the Orff approach would be by first taking one part of the piece, such as the start and teaching the students the ostinato derived from the score. For example:

Ostinato 1  1

Ostinato 2 2

Ostinato 3  3

Ostinato 4  1

Once the whole class was able to do these on body percussion, have them swap around, and get used to performing all of them. Then once there is a good groove happening, I would start singing the melody line from the start of the piece. I would however change the words though so they are more appropriate for a school setting.

Eg:         (imagine Gold Digger melody here)

It’s in the morning,

When I’m in need,

Oh she’s a latte

Yes indeed

It wakes me

Oh it wakes

Yea this latte

It wakes me

 

Then I would teach the students, this melody, so they could sing the melody, while performing the ostinatos. Then I would transfer these ostinatos and melody onto instruments and come up with melodies for the ostinatos. Then I would get students to come up with a bordun, and harmony parts and then have the class perform the piece. From here I would teach the rest of the song using the mix-bag arrangement score. As students already know half the piece it will be easy for them to pick up the rest of it.

As a composition activity the melody line, harmony line and bas line, could be recorded into a audio or MIDI file and then given to students on GarageBand. Students would then have to come up with there own arrangement of the given material, as well as keeping an improvisation section in their own arrangements.

Below is the mix-bag score that I arranged:

arrangment cme – Full Score

Reflections Week 2A Comp – 04/08/15

Today we learnt about mix bag arrangements. A mix bag arrangement is one that simplifies a band score to make it accessible to different levels and different instrumentation. Using mix bag’s is good as it allows a solid arrangement of a piece to be performed without sacrificing the need for specific instruments. To learn about mix bag arrangements we played through 2 types of mix bags. This was really helpful as our first assignment for this subject involves creating our own  mix bag arrangement.

Reflections Week 1A Comp – 31/07/15

This day was a Friday. It was a nice day outside and being stuck inside for 2 hours was the last thing I wanted to do. However, in this comp mus. lesson we looked at the creative movement and looked at the history surrounding that. It was really interesting to see a shift in that time from performers informing how music is taught to composers sharing and informing how music is taught, and in particular how composing is an important part of the music classroom. I found it very interesting looking at the history of significant composers and music people through the ages and their comments on what is essential, particularly the notion that composition was the way you would know if a student understood music and how it all worked. I also remember (at least I hope the two that I write are actually the ones that were stressed) that two words were stressed which I will endeavour to remember when I teach composition in the classroom. They are “model” and “small steps”. What I mean by those are: always model everything, don’t expect children to just be able to do without guidance or modelling of some kind. This is were small steps come into it. Don’t leave out the middle steps, plan all the little steps, for those small steps will make the process a lot easier.