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.


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