Mixed Bag Arrangement

So, for one of our assignment, we had to choose one song we like and make a mixed bag arrangement.

I chose Maroon 5’s Sugar to arrange so that it is suitable for both stage 5 and stage 6s. This song not only contained very repetitive and simple harmony/accompanying part but it also had quite complicated melody/chord part, which can still challenge students who’ve already learnt music for several years.

I tried to keep the originals in my arrangement as much as possible, however, I did made quite a few changes so that it can suit to students in the music classroom.

  1. Changed the key to G Major – I choose to change this into G major since it is the comfortable range for the singers to sing, but also it still contained the feel of the original music (less confusion for students who are already familiar with the original key). Also considering other transposing instrument, G major allowed me to have no more than 4 sharps, and 1 sharp for all the other string parts/C parts. Also it allows Orff instrument to play along and still be able to improvise on top of other chords with adding just one more key (F#).
  2. Adding additional harmony part – So that this arrangement can suit in any class members, I added additional harmony part to the score. I made sure that each part has the transposition part to Bb, Eb and A so that we would not have any lack of harmony from the lack of instruments. Also, by creating new harmony part, it extended the texture/tone colour of the piece, which will create interest to students. Harmony part will be also useful students who are not up to advanced version (melody). It will be still challenging them with note readings and rhythms however, I made it very repetitive so that the teacher can drill it with students and extend their ability of performing the music.
  3. Advanced/simplified parts – I’ve included complex and simplified part into my arrangement so that the score will be available for students in any level. Vocal line has quite a complex leap in the chorus where some students will find it quite difficult. So I’ve included the harmony part underneath so that if students find that difficult they can always feel free to sing down the harmony part. I used similar approach to the piano/keyboard part. Since the piano score is quite complicated with notes/chords and rhythm, I arranged the simpler version of the piano part (less notes, no chords) so that the students can at least focus on learning the rhythm, which is the “fundamental element in music” (Hill, 2008, p. 1). This rhythm can be taught through saying the divided syllable  of word (Hill, 2008, p.2) with co-relating boy movements (Andreasen, 2014, p.47)Sugar piano_0001.png
  4. Rehearsal Marks – I’ve added rehearsal marks in all parts so that it is easier for students to follow the score. Since they would be familiar with the music, it will be easier for them to follow the score with the marking of verse, pre-chorus and chorus.
  5. Guitar Chords – For my guitar part, I’ve only added the chords on top and when I give them out the individual parts, I will give them the score with the lyric so that it will be easier for them to follow along the piece. The reason I made the score chord only is that I want to give them chance to improvise their own rhythm with the repetitive chords given to them and hear which rhythms suits with other ensemble members – which will develop their aural learning. As I explained earlier, I have two seperate guitar parts with different chords. This is so that if the students is comfortable with playing the chords, they can easily go to the advanced score where the chords are little bit more complicated. Sugar guitar_0001.png
  6. Orff Approach –  I’ve included some Orff Approach into my arrangement which can scaffold student’s learning step by step. For the glockenspiel and percussion, I’ve arranged it so that they have very repetitive rhythm throughout the music, which can be learn through rote learning. I will teach them first by body percussion (body movement) – clapping, stomping, tapping their chest (differentiate the different layers). Then, I will ask them to choose the percussion which fits the song or their gesture (e.g. clapping – tambourine) and ask them to play the same rhythm on the chosen instrument. With glockenspiel, I will incorporate the singing therefore students will be familiar with harmony before they go on to the actual instrument. I will provide chance for both glockenspiel and percussion to have a go in the improvisation, even though it is very simple. I would be good to layout it more if students feel uncomfortable – such as giving some tips, just chose one note in each bar (from the chord) and variate rhythms hence, they could at least still express their decisions and feelings about the music. (Shain, 2011, p.8)
  7. Improvisation – I’ve included 8 bars of rest where students are feel free to improvise over simple rhythmic chords. I’ve made it 8 bars so that 2 students can have a turn in improvising in one cycle. The teacher will point to the students each time/ or students could nominate themselves in turns. Through this work, not only students will “explore soundscape” and become the “critical listener” (Peters, 2011, p.30) but feel the part of music community and feel that their expression is “encouraged and valued, musical experiments are carried out, and tolerance for differing views in practise.” (Frazee, 2006, p. 18)
  8. Audio File – Ive exported an auido file of every part so that I can still give chance of learning to students, who are not familiar with the traditional notation, through aural learning.


Andreasen, Felicity. (2014)., Entry to music specialist high school: Addressing gaps in rhythm and pitch competencies through Orff, Kodaly and Dalcroze strategies, Musicworks: Journal of the Australian Council of Orff  Schulwerk, 19, 47-51

Frazee, J. (2006). Orff Schulwerk today: Nurturing musical expression and understanding. New York: Schott Music.

Hill, Gloria L. (2008)., Teaching rhythm to beginning piano students: An analysis of various counting systems and the integration of Kodaly and Orff rhythm strategies. The University of Mississipi. Retrieved from http://ezproxy.library.usyd.edu.au/login?url=https://search-proquest-com.ezproxy1.library.usyd.edu.au/docview/304528696?accountid=14757

Peters, B. (2011). The orff approach and canadian music education curriculum for the 21st century. Canadian Music Educator, 53(1), 29-31.


Shain, E. (2011)., Feasibility of orff-based music therapy on the identification and development of coping strategies in children with psychiatric issues: Case studies. University of Kansans. Retrieved from http://ezproxy.library.usyd.edu.au/login?url=https://search-proquest-com.ezproxy1.library.usyd.edu.au/docview/874961411?accountid=14757



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