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‘The Scientist’ – Coldplay

I created this website to help a year 8 class learn how to play ‘The Scientist’ by Coldplay. They all spent class time using the resources in the website to independently learn how to play the song on their chosen instrument.

It was super easy to create the website on Weebly for free and I was able to add resources after the class started using it. The students asked for me to add specific things to the website and essentially took control of their own learning.


My Final Resource Complete!

I have just finished creating the final resource for my Unit of Work. It includes screenshots of the prominent motifs used in “Eize Hu Chacham?” and a written outline for a composition task inspired by bars 11-24 of the movement. I have used this section for a later class arrangement in week 5, lesson 1, focusing on polyrhythms. This excerpt uses a collection of overlapping rhythmically complex motifs to create musical interest rather than showing any development of the motifs themselves.

I think that this will be a very useful task for students to create some rhythmically complex motifs which could be of use to them in their 2 minute HSC compositions.

It will also allow them to practice using minimal material to create a longer section of music. A big problem for students when writing their compositions is that they have too many ideas. This task will help them to practice expanding on ideas they already have rather than introducing to many ideas in a short composition.

Using the Ideas Panel to Capture Motifs

For a composition activity I am currently writing for my Year 12 class I am encouraging them to use the ideas panel in Sibelius.

The ideas panel allows you to capture numerous ideas and in this particular task will students to capture four motifs to use in their own composition. It is an extremely useful tool for anyone trying to compose on Sibelius.

James Humberstone has made a great video tutorial on how to use the ideas panel in Sibelius (one of many):

Introducing the Melody

To introduce “Eize Hu Chacham” to my Year 12 class I have decided to start the unit off by singing a short excerpt from the movement. I have mostly copied the notes from the original score however I have noticed some of the notes sound different in the original recording so have changed them to what I now have stuck in my head from 50+ listenings. I also removed some of the ornamental notes to make it easier for students who aren’t as confident singing. I have also changed the octave of the 2nd and 4th phrases so that they sit in a more comfortable range.

In my unit, this will be taught aurally however this could also be used as a sight singing activity.

More Boomwhacker Fun

Now that I have moved the polyrhythm performance from week 4, lesson 2 to week 5, lesson 1, I have more available time in the lesson. I have added a fun activity which allows students to practice playing a melody with boomwhackers before they break into groups to create their own boomwhacker arrangements. While this is a useful and logical step to add to this lesson, it is also a lot of fun! They will perform Toto’s “Africa” by following the following Boomwhacker playalong video:

Rewriting a Lesson

For week 4, lesson 2, I had begun with a hocket inspired activity and then had the class perform an excerpt from the focus piece which focused on polyrhythms.

I decided that polyrhythms were too complex to chuck onto the end of a lesson so I have assigned an entire lesson (week 5, lesson 1) to polyrhythms now. I have designed a starter activity to introduce this musical technique which requires students to clap various combinations of the below polyrhythms.

I have provided this resource for teacher use only as I would teach these patterns to students aurally rather than showing them the notation. However, it could be shown to students after they have completed the activity to show them what the various polyrhythms look like in western notation.

With this change, students will also have more time to learn the polyrhythm arrangement and perform this as an ensemble.

I have also included practice melodic dictation questions from past HSC papers at the end of this lesson.

A Day of Making Resources for my Unit of Work

Yesterday, I received the score for my focus work Compassion by Nigel Westlake and Lior! After 2 weeks of worrying I wouldn’t get it in time to make all of my resources for this assignment, it has finally arrived and I was able to make numerous resources yesterday to accompany my unit of work.

I will briefly explain how I created each of the resources and their purpose in my unit of work.

For week 2, lesson 1 I have focused on multimeter and thought this would be a good opportunity to introduce students to an additional work within Music of the Last 25 Years (Australian Focus). Ross Edward’s “mountain Chant” utilises multimeter and I was able to find an sample excerpt of the score online. I have taken 11 bars to arrange for my hypothetical class. I have kept four parts however I have simplified the parts where possible and removed divisions within parts. This excerpt is a perfect example of multimeter and I believe that singing is a great way to learn complex music as it allows them to internalise it. I, of course, won’t expect students to perform this arrangement as well as a professional choir however I believe it is useful exercise for them to gain confidence in singing (necessary for sight singing for the HSC) and performing as part of an ensemble.

I have created a step by step handout to assist them with a syncopation composition task for unpitched percussion. I have always found composition extremely challenging and always love when teachers have been able to break it down in some way. I considered the questions I would have when beginning my own composition and used these to provide some direction for my students. I have also included some great examples of compositions for unpitched percussion to spark some ideas for students.

Polyrhythms are frequently used in “Eize Hu Chacham?” so I believed it was incredibly important to explore this with my class. I have taken these four bars from the original score and arranged them for the instruments played by the students in my class. All of the parts are quite simple on their own (especially once you hear them in the recording) however when they are put against the conflicting polyrhythms, it becomes difficult to sustain an independent part. This excerpt is perfect to allow students to identify and play polyrhythms and also ensures they become more familiar with the music.

In the final week of classes I will have students return to the score and their analysis of it. In the first week I have created a table for them to organise their analysis into the six musical concepts and for this final lesson of analysis I have created a table for them to organise their findings in sequential order. I listened through the piece numerous times and have sorted the sections into the groupings above based on where distinct changes occur in the music. This format will be especially useful for questions which refer to structure.

This resource took surprisingly long to create. I had to read through the entire 30 pages of the score looking for any markings or terms that students may not be familiar with. It was especially difficult to find the names of markings that even I had never seen before. I then had to find examples of each marking/term in a score which was quite difficult for some uncommon terms so I had to scan the score in order to screenshot examples directly from the score. The purpose of this handout is for students to have a sort of glossary to refer to when analysing the score in the first lesson. Students may also choose to write bar numbers where they find examples of any of these markings/terms on the handout.

All of these resources are available in full in this google drive folder:

Mutlimeter Game / Choir Warm Up

Over the years I have done this activity many times as a physical/mental choir warm-up however while writing my Year 12, Music 2 unit of work I have thought about it’s use as a starter activity to introduce multimetre.

I didn’t know a specific name for the game/activity and couldn’t find a video tutorial on the internet so I have filmed myself explaining how it works.

Composition Focus: Syncopation

I have just finished creating the following handout for a year 12 class. The class has been looking at “Eize Hu Chacham” by Nigel Westlake and Lior and syncopation has been used significantly. I wanted to challenge the students to compose a piece focusing on syncopation without worrying too much about pitch and was given the great idea to design a composition task which only used unpitched percussion (or as Samuel Z. Solomon calls it: “indeterminately pitched percussion”).

The aim of this task is for students to focus on complex rhythmic ideas rather than pitch.

You can access the task outline here:

Percussion Family of Instruments: What instruments are in the ...
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