Back to Year 12! – Composition Diary

16th NOVMastering tracks and touch up scores 

  • What I did today was to to through all the tracks and edited them.
  • First I started with putting some reverb and echo so that tracks does not sound too dead. Screen Shot 2017-11-17 at 12.13.12 pm.png
  • Each colour of line represents the different effects.
  • Then I adjusted volumes so that main melody comes out more and the supporting part will be more subtle in the background and act more like accompaniment.
  • I made few adjustments on the scores so that it matches up with the recording. Screen Shot 2017-11-17 at 7.09.12 pm.png
  • I also changed the ending – legato instead of staccato so that it has more stronger effect.
  • And yes! I am done!

14th & 15th NOV – Recording Session!

  • So! I have finished with my composition and now its time to record
  • I recorded the Violin and the Cello first so that there is a set rhythm in the music.
    • From my experiences from the TME and Ensemble Pedagogy, it was quite easy to set up the recording gears for the instrument.
    • I got some ideas from Jess on bowing techniques and we decided to do this for the main theme phraseScreen Shot 2017-11-17 at 7.01.54 pm.png
    • and this really gave me the sound/atmosphere I wanted
  • After finishing recording two strings, I recorded the piano underneath. There were some struggles playing the rhythm hence we took several takes in bars then combined them into one.

Screen Shot 2017-11-17 at 12.13.23 pm.png

  • it was quite hard to line them up actually. I had to spend fair bit of time to line them up so that we were all playing at the same time.
  • My next goal is to mastering all the tracks and then I am DONE!

11th NOV – Fixing up the score before recording 

  • I’ve fixed up some parts from the feedback I had from last session Screen Shot 2017-11-17 at 6.40.12 pm.png
  • I changed all the rhythms except some triplets – so that when pianist plays the piece, they know the exact rhythm.
  • I added ‘use pedal’ in this section so that it contrasts with previous ‘baroque’ theme where I wrote ‘no pedal’

Screen Shot 2017-11-17 at 6.49.25 pm.png

  • I also made some changes on this section where they told me it did not fit harmonically. And I also added slurs to create more legato sound
  • Hopefully by next session I will have all the dynamic markings done so that it is good to record!

 

6th NOV – Class Feedback Time on my composition 

So today, I had to present my whole 2 minute composition to my classmates.

Feedbacks I got were:

  • I need to change all the ties into SLUR! Screen Shot 2017-11-17 at 6.08.37 pm.png
  • From bar 13 to bar 20, they said that they can not here a sense of harmonic structure – which is what I struggled with as well. I should go on to the piano and just play chords, so that I can hear how the music is moving harmonically.
  • Also the ‘Swing’ Part had a problemScreen Shot 2017-11-16 at 3.53.43 pm.png
  • Rather than notating the rhythm, they told me that if I am writing a ‘swing’ I should write the music as a straight rhythm then put ‘swing’ on top of the music

29th OCTComposing the end section 

Screen Shot 2017-11-17 at 6.02.51 pm.png

 

  • Rather than going on with the middle section, I composed the end part so that I know where I am heading to
  • I wanted to finish the composition with the nice simple ending just like the beginning of the composition.
  • All the players are playing the rhythmic unison – which means they need to be really together when I am recording them. If will be quite obvious if someone is playing out of time.
  • Now all I need to consider is the expressive techniques and the middle section

28th OCT – Composing the next section and some ideas on the ‘Swing’ 

  • With the idea of moving the music in circle of the 5th, I’ve laid out the chord structure for myself
    • D –  A – E – B – F – C – G
    • This was quite hard to follow since I was keep getting clashes in the places I did not want the clash to happen…
    • Also I am very confused whether I am following the right structure or not?Screen Shot 2017-11-17 at 5.44.12 pm.png
  • Here is the middle section between the end of the ‘Baroque’ theme and start of the ‘Jazz’ theme
    • I think there are a lot of clashes which I do not want but I am not sure what to do with it.
    • I am want to imply the ‘Question and Answer’ form here
    • Maybe there is too many jumps for the violin?

 

26th OCT – Composing the Theme

  • Restructuring my composition structure:
    • Now I have 4 sections;
      • 1. “Baroque Theme”
        • Violin + RH piano
      • 2. “Jazz theme”
        • RH + LH piano & Cello
      • 3. Little outro of’ ‘Jazz theme’
        • All Instruments
      • 4. Return of the “Baroque” theme
        • All instruments
  • Main Theme
    • So I composed the main theme for the violin Screen Shot 2017-11-17 at 5.25.38 pm.pngScreen Shot 2017-11-17 at 5.25.44 pm.png
    • From bar 9, it is the return of the main theme
    • I need to fix the ‘tie’ up and change them into ‘slurs’
    • I am not 100% sure whether that is the technique I will be using to create the sound I want. Screen Shot 2017-11-17 at 5.25.30 pm.png
    • This is how it looks like with the piano part. I am just going to use the RH of the piano so that it creates nice simple structure/sound
    • I wanted to create more calm atmosphere for this theme so that when it gets to the ‘swing’ theme, there is a big contrast
  • I really need to think about how I want that theme to sound like – e.g. techniques, dynamics, etc
  • Now I need to see how I can move that theme into the Jazz section

24th OCT –Feedback on our composition draft 

If you’ve seen my previous blog post, we have a course called Composition in Music Education during this semester. In this course, we had an assignment where we had to create a baby step composition for students in high school.

Now, as a second step, we have to create a composition following the baby-steps we’ve created previously – which is a great thing to do to see how it actually works/ helps in composing the music.

So, following my step, firstly I layout the table of what Instrument I want to use, key signature and the map of the composition. I chose violin, piano and the bass to start with.

Screen Shot 2017-11-01 at 9.43.02 pm.png

Then, I composed the theme for the ‘baroque’ – which is my first theme, based on the canonic device. Then, I went to see my lecturer and had some chat about the composition.

Here, I faced with some problems and advises. Originally, my composition had 10 sections – moving around in 2 themes. But, I was targeting year 11-12 students who only need to composed for 2 minutes. This really gave me shock – why did I not think about this (I guess this is a key reason why we are working based on our own assignment). Hence,  I reduced the number of sections to 3 – Baroque theme, Jazz Theme, Combination (maybe I will end with short baroque theme).

Another concern was that I had no unifying theme in my composition. Originally I wanted to make two distinctive theme – different time signature, different chord progression. But I agreed that this is just making everything TOO DIFFICULT and TOO MUCH to think about. So we came up with an idea of composing Jazz in 3/4 time + harmonically move in 5th.

So this is where I’m up to at the moment. It was great to have a chance revising our own assignment and spot all the problems which I did not consider student’s point of view.

 

23rd OCTSome ideas on the Structure and Instrumentation 

  • I chose to follow the same structure as the original composition. 10 sections with mixture of baroque theme and jazz theme
  • Instead of using the ‘Blues’ theme, I chose to go with the ‘swing’. I feel like I am more comfortable with composing the swing than the blue. Just because I am quite unfamiliar with the musical ideas of Jazz.
  • Instruments:
    • First, I looked what what I am available with in my class.
    • We do not have a flautist, however we have quite a few good violinists – hence I might change my main instrument to Violin
    • I will keep the piano as the melody and the bass part
    • I will change the bass to cello – I can easily record it
  • Structure/ Instrumentation plan:
    • Section 1
      • Violin + Piano playing the canon in duet
    • Section 2
      • Violin + Piano playing the canon but little bit of chord difference (use of 7th maybe?)
    • Section 3
      • Piano solo
      • ‘Swing’ theme comes in
      • Cello enters as the walking bass line
    • Section 4
      • The ‘Baroque’ theme returns with cello continuing the canon
    • Section 5
      • Start to mix up the Jazz and Baroque – Imitations, Questioning and Answering form
    • Section 6
      • Key highlight of the composition
    • Section 7
      • Back to the Baroque theme
  • Section

    1

    2

    3

    4

    5

    6

    7

    8

    9

    10

    Instrument/s

     Violin +

     

    What is it playing?

    How?

  • Now I just have to start writing my theme and the ending and see what I can do with my composition

 

21st OCTStarting on my Composition 

Some thoughts/ideas:

  • I want to create something very different to other compositions based on minimalism
  • I came across with this composition by Claude Bolling called “Baroque and Blues” for flute, piano and the bass.
  • So going back to the baby step I’ve created, first, I analysed the song. So this song has 10 sections: combination of the ‘baroque’ theme and ‘blues’ theme. As the piece develops, the ‘baroque’ theme and the ‘blues’ theme mix and creates a whole new idea.
  • I was really impressed on how the two very different but also quite similar genre can be mixed into a one piece. And it was really interesting to see how the composer incorporated two genre and produced a new musical idea.
  • My next step will be to start resembling ideas on overall structure and instrumentation.

Reflection on the Non-WAM assignment

About the Song

Settle Down (Forum5Recordings, 2010) is from Kimbra’s debut studio album Vows. This piece has highly developed layering skill of the vocal harmonies and percussion parts. As soon as Olivia suggested this song, we immediately thought this will give us good challenge and develop our vocal and arranging skills. After choosing the piece, we spend fair bit of time to check whether this song was suitable for school students, in terms of range, register, key, lyrics and the music video.

 

Reflection

As our stepping point, we decided to annotate and write out everything we can hear from the original song, main melody to tiny little accompanying parts. My role was to notate all the bass part/percussion part in the original song. Since the original music itself develops from layers of harmony/percussions, it was critical to notate all the percussive materials as much as possible, so that we have more resources to arrange later on.

Picture1.png

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So, this is what I started with on our first session. Notating rhythms were quite challenging since they were mostly syncopated. However, as soon as I notated the main rhythms of each section, most of them. were repeated or just slightly variated. After notating all the bass and percussion parts, our group combined everything into one score and created a master score. Then, we spent time together arranging the piece through singing few parts together, adding more harmony and more body percussions. We also researched some covers of the song on the YouTube for ideas, for example a performance from the live SXSW 2012 (Palladino, Segundo, 2012).

Then my main role next was to set up the recording spaces for the recording individual voices. We had some struggles singing parts all together since we did not have many singers in our group, hence we chose to record individually. I had experience on recording for the other assessment hence myself and few others set up the appropriate microphones to record singing. Then I was in charge of recording all the vocals into the GarageBand. We recorded parts by parts so that it was easier to monitor/re-record/edit but also easier for singers since we had all the parts moving around equally to each member.

Picture2.png

 Then the next job was, I had to import the Musescore files into Sibelius and polish the percussion parts. First, I added the ‘Clapping’ rather than ‘wood block’ or the ‘drum set’ then polished notating problems such as rests in wrong position or in the different part. Example underneath;

Picture3.png

 

An idea of A cappella, vocal group with no instrument accompanying – has been growing for past few decades (Folds, 2015). People, especially young adults learn ways to communicate and express their emotions through A cappella. As they communicate their parts, listen to harmonies and shine when they have melody parts really give young adults unforgettable experience in their life.

 

The one of most challenging part and interesting part of the A cappella is the arranging. It is amazing how the original music can be changed by re-positioning melodies and accompanying parts. Deke suggested to avoid the song which has already been arranged by another A cappella group (Sharon, 2017, p.12). However, we did not follow this since we are targeting for students rather than the professional A cappella group. We thought it would be better to arrange the song with some example around the internet, hence students can easily compare how one music can be varied by changing/repositioning a musical element in the music. And the reason we chose the “Settle down” was that it already had a lot of musical element within the music – hence it can be easily approached to students in teaching about various components in music and how this can be used to arrange a piece. Deke also suggested to listen to the original song repeatedly (Sharon, 2017, p.12). This was essential to hear the harmony and be familiar with the overall structure/atmosphere of the music so that it will be easier when it comes to performing the song. Having the parts written on the computer programme was helpful as well. We exported the individual parts in the mp3 so that it can be used as a resource for students to hear and practice their individual parts, then hear the song as whole – then this will give students a better understanding in their role in the group. This also aligns with the Orff’s approach where the aural learning is essential in student’s school time.

 

While we were arranging the score, we made sure that the melody and accompanying part was passed around in each member, equally as possible, as Kenny suggested during the lecture. The idea of passing around the melody was to keep the piece interesting and gives each individual a chance to sing the melody line rather than repeating the same bass line over and over again. This also gives an opportunity for students to express their emotion toward the music and communicate them with other individuals in the group, and hear how there are tweaking the original and creating their own unique music. Hence, this will create stronger connection between the student and the music. We incorporated this idea into our arrangement and had the melody passing around the different members of the group. We particularly focused on creating the different tone colour through various voices and try to accompany those individuals with strong harmonies. The reason why Ender (male voice) did not had the main melody was that he had very focused body percussion part. We created this part for students who are not confident in singing out loud. In this way, we can still include them into the group and make them fill valuable in the group first with what they can do. Then slowly, the teacher can put it harmonies for the students to open up and sing out loud with others and enjoy singing in a group.

 

Vocal range was another factor which was raised for our arrangement. This was another reason why we added quite complicated percussion part in our arrangements. For boys who are going through the voice cracking can still be part as an ensemble hence give them chance to develop their vocals slowly. Also for the girls, as Ramsey discussed in the article, we had parts where it was more catered to sopranos but we also included parts for altos (Ramsey, 2008, p.73). If we use these as an educational resource, we will suggest that they can sing octave lower if they feel too stress singing the high notes – which we did in one of the harmony part.

Overall, this assessment has definitely challenged me in thinking vocal arrangement critically. Through creating an resources and actually singing the product was a challenging process and definitely gave myself an insight on how it can be developed better for the future.

References:

Palladino, Segundo. (2012, Mar 16). Kimbra – Settle Down (live SXSW 2012 – Spotify Sessions) [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sd7GLvMYSHI&feature=youtu.be

Fold, Ben. (2017). Foreword. Choral Director, 14(2)

Forte Femme. (2014, Feb 14). Settle Down – Forte Femme (Kimbra Cover) – A cappella [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HCEk7ncEvPk&app=desktop

Forum5Recordings. (2010, Jul 6). Kimbra – “Settle down” [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yHV04eSGzAA

Ramsey, Andrea. (2008). Choral Music in the Junior High/Middle School: A Junior High State of Mind: Considerations for Composing and Arranging for the Middle Level Choir. The Choral Journal, 49(2), 73-74

Sharon, D. (2017). Contemporary A cappella arranging in ten steps. Choral Director, 14(12), 12-13.

Review of this semester + GTD

So today was our very last lecture of 2017!! We’ve experienced and learnt so many cool stuffs during this packed semester as you’ve seen from my blog posts – I’ve still got so many other things to upload!

We started our very lecture with the discussion of exposing the technology to children in early age. James gave us an example of the literature by Craft, 2012 – which assesses labelling  all the literatures on technology and children. The author declares that all the literatures can be divided into two groups: Children at Risk – “We are ruining children’s brain” or Children Empowered – Children are exposed to so much informations.

Then the discussion lead on to one of the Ted x Talks by Christakis on the ‘Baby Einstein’ video (which is well-know for the learning video for infants and young children). Even though it is very well-know as the go-to-video for learning, his research shows that it actually shocks young children and has nothing to do with learning, more like it is not good at all. I remember, in earlier stage of our degree, we had a lecturer who opened the discussion for this video. Even her research shows that the video targeting for music learning actually has no correlation between what they are showing on the screen and the topic they are teaching. So, according to Christakis, he proposed that the reaction which child shows when they are watching the video, is actually not a ‘Yay, learning’ response, but it is a shocking.

The second half of the lecture was on about Getting Things Done – which is a big issue in our society atm. James showed us this great graph of what to do when something ‘to do’ comes in.

SO, when something comes in, first divide them into No or Yes section.

If it is NO (it is something I have to do in sometime) then ;

  • Eliminate
    • Trash
    • Recycle
  • Incubate
    • Someday/Maybe lists and folders
  • Reference
    • Paper/ digital files & folders (Evernote is great for this! If you are a handwriting person, if you take a photo of your work, Evernote even recognise the handwriting and generates it into the system so you can find it with simple key words)
    • This is great to do if you do not want to go through 1000s of emails OR get distracted by another new incoming emails.

If the thing is YES (I could do it but it would not harm me if I don’t do it) then;

  • Do it
    • If it will take less than 2 minutes
  • Delegate it
    • Then track it in “waiting for”
  • DEFER IT – This is the most important thing, and I know it’s hard to say NO (since I’m like those ones, but it can do so many worse things to you e.g. ruining your health with stresses)

SO yea, that was it for our very last lecture! I really enjoyed learning so many use of technology in music + music education. It has definitely been a great course!!

BUT! the blog posts are not end yet!! There are still more to come through + my final group project is still going on and we are pumping through it! We’ve just uploaded our first Vlog on the YouTube so go check it out! Please Subscribe and Like for a support 🙂 It would be great to have some feedbacks!

Thanks:)

OUR EXCITING TECH PROJECT: A TRADITIONAL KOREAN SOUND LIBRARY

This is what we have been doing with our final technology project! Check it out:) Vlog – created by myself if coming very soon

myminimuso

Our upcoming project for Technology in Music Education. Ashley Son, Mathew Owen and I are creating a sound library for a select few traditional Korean instrument! They have blogs too so go check them out! Our hope is that this sound library can enable students to create compositions using traditional Korean instruments in GarageBand, Ableton etc. On top of blogging we are also putting together some vlogs of the whole process!

Taepyeongso 1

So far we have decided to have the taepyeongso 태평소 (pictured above) as well as a few percussion instruments. Our first big challenge? Someone to play all these instruments for us so that we could record them! All of us are classically trained western instrument musicians and thus had little knowledge on how to actually play a traditional Korean instrument. Luckily, we eventually found Hannah Kim who also happens to attend the Sydney Conservatorium of Music and was able…

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First Feedback on the Composition Assignment

If you’ve seen my previous blog post, we have a course called Composition in Music Education during this semester. In this course, we had an assignment where we had to create a baby step composition for students in high school.

Now, as a second step, we have to create a composition following the baby-steps we’ve created previously – which is a great thing to do to see how it actually works/ helps in composing the music.

So, following my step, firstly I layout the table of what Instrument I want to use, key signature and the map of the composition. I chose violin, piano and the bass to start with.

Screen Shot 2017-11-01 at 9.43.02 pm.png

Then, I composed the theme for the ‘baroque’ – which is my first theme, based on the canonic device. Then, I went to see my lecturer and had some chat about the composition.

Here, I faced with some problems and advises. Originally, my composition had 10 sections – moving around in 2 themes. But, I was targeting year 11-12 students who only need to composed for 2 minutes. This really gave me shock – why did I not think about this (I guess this is a key reason why we are working based on our own assignment). Hence,  I reduced the number of sections to 3 – Baroque theme, Jazz Theme, Combination (maybe I will end with short baroque theme).

Another concern was that I had no unifying theme in my composition. Originally I wanted to make two distinctive theme – different time signature, different chord progression. But I agreed that this is just making everything TOO DIFFICULT and TOO MUCH to think about. So we came up with an idea of composing Jazz in 3/4 time + harmonically move in 5th.

So this is where I’m up to at the moment. It was great to have a chance revising our own assignment and spot all the problems which I did not consider student’s point of view.

Using Adobe Photoshop CC

So we are currently working on the last project for our TME assignment. Our project is creating the music educational resources for teachers and students in not only Australia, but all around the world. We decided to create the Virtual Korean Traditional instruments, so that Korean Traditional instruments are more accessible for anyone studying the world music. – Vlog coming soon! Stay in tune:)

While other groups are working on programming the virtual instruments, my role is now to edit vlogs and photos I’ve been taking during our recording sessions. So! I give you a quick tutorial on how to use Adobe Photoshop CC since myself also had some trouble using this program for the first time.

Simply, first, drag the photo you want to photoshop into the programme and you will see the new window like this;

Screen Shot 2017-11-01 at 10.06.28 am.png

It is very confusing with TOO MANY tools for people who are using this for the first time. The easiest way to use this program is to click image on the top – and use Auto Tone, Auto Contrast and Auto Colour. This will clear you image immediately. If you don’t like the change, you can simply use ctrl + Z to go back to previous image.  Screen Shot 2017-11-01 at 10.08.46 am.png

If you want to be more precise with adjusting, click ‘Adjustments’.

Screen Shot 2017-11-01 at 10.11.06 am.png

As you can see, you have more choices to make precise changes. When you click the tab, you can simply drag the arrows to see what you like and save them.

Screen Shot 2017-11-01 at 10.14.15 am.png

Other great thing about this photoshop is that if you click tools on the left-hand side, It has short explanation + video of what the tool is used for. This was extremely useful to me since I do not had to go through thousands of tutorials to find what the tool is for. The most useful tool was the Dodge tool – which is the one in different shade on the above image. Dodge tool lightens the area of the image I select. I used this tool to highlight the Instrument and the Mic.

 

So this is what I finished with! I hope this was helpful to people who just started using this programme.

Thank you!DSC_0029.JPG

Teaching with technology – Design and Instructional Design. Aural drilling and music theory.

Publishing our own thoughts to the public is quite accessible nowadays and accessing to different people’s opinions are also very accessible comparing to previous years. Therefore, we, as teacher and student, are reviewing constantly throughout our research on the internet. Then why reviewing other’s thought is important?

  • It can change the thought about our philosophy
  • It can change the debate
  • With reviews, you can reach the real-life outcome – which is more motivated and interesting
  • It makes you reconsider your thoughts
  • It leads to the critical thinking – which means, it can make me as a more balanced person. The research shows that even though people are exposed to various debates, it is hard to shake their fundamental thoughts. If we can change at least one person’s thought on the ‘music education’, isn’t this successful? and vice versa.

 

Our second topic was on the Aural Drilling and Music Theory. The programme we looked at was called Auralia and Musition. They are both specialised in AMEB skills and instrument recognition. They are both targeted for students from year 5 and above. Bare in mind, these are a ‘drilling tool’ not a ‘teaching tool’. We had a great opportunity to talk with the programmer who programmed these two softwares. So, first,

Auralia:

  • This is mainly for the ear training
  • It develops not only students but also educators.
  • You can make a class for you students and assess them individually. You can also give students a different levels – great tool for differentiation and great tool for year 10, where the class is mixture of music 1 and 2 students.
  • Contents are – Very Comprehensive, including harmony writing. However, Counter Point is NOT included.
  • It can be worked in Mac, Window and browser – However, if you are using the browser, you cannot be the admin. Hence, the programme can be only used as a pure experience for students.

 

Musition

  • This is mainly for the theory training
  • Works exactly same as the Auralia – you can create your own classes, differentiate student’s learning through setting the level for each students individually, can mark the test and see the result straight away.
  • The report can be downloaded into pdf – which is very efficient way of tracking results + sending them to parents.
  • It also works in Mac, Window and browser
  • It is $29 per year as the teacher

 

After the talk, we had chance to explore through the software – and it is AMAZING. Our whole class could see us using this resources in the classroom. We could all see why it was a ‘drilling tool’. It was great to see that it had a various level to cater each individual and gradually progress their aural/music theory training step by step, and the teacher can easily see the individual report – Easier to spot the student’s weakness. It is a great tool for not only students, but also for the teacher who are not comfortable in aural learning themselves. They can easily improve the area they are weak in by just doing 10 minutes of exercise constantly. Definitely have a go in these two softwares!

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.

References:

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

 

1 & 1 BYOD

As a Music teacher, living in the 21st century where technology is the main part of student’s life, we should all have at least one programme which we are very familiar with such as Apple or Microsoft. But, you should be also aware what is out there in the world and how student’s accessibility is changing in the technological world.

Why is this so important? Recently, it is very common to see the BYOD rule at school.

byod_illustration.png

Then what is BYOD? is everyone else familiar with this term?

BYOD – Bring Your Own Device, which means that student brings their own devices from their home, and this is why not only music teacher, but all the other teachers should be aware of the various browsers. Yes, it will be quite common to see the Microsoft or Apple, but THAT’S NOT IT! From my experience at my practicum school, I had too deal with some devices which I’ve never seen or heard before like, Chrome BookMetabox and more. To be honest, and as a Apple user, it was quite confusing and sometimes it felt hard to keep my students on task.

But why BYOD? (if it creates more confusions?)

  • It is beneficial in the student centred learning – according to the statistic from The Howard Country Public School System’s Department, 81% of the students believe that the technology will help with their school works. By with chance to bring what they are using mostly in their life in to the classroom, that device turns into the learning platform and students will feel responsibility of their learning and also, continue their learning after school.

BYOD-Survey-Infographic.jpg

 

  • Then how about students who does not have accessibility to their own devices (such as financial problems)? Doesn’t this raise the issue on the inclusive? – mostly no, almost every school with BYOD rules will provide school devices to those students, hence they would not be stopped from their learning.

So now, only problem which music teachers are faced is that some big music programmes, such as Ableton can not be run in some of the smaller devices… so what do we do?

For the second half of the lecture, we had a special guest who flew over from the France!. Nicolas Froment (@lasconic) from the MuseScore came to talk to us about Why MuseScore? and How can we make it better?!

So people who do not know what MuseScore is (you definitely should use it), it is #1 notational programme in the world like Sibelius. Unlike other programmes, it is FREE (the best part, isn’t it?) hence, everyone/ every students can access to it and produce music! It is very easy to use and it does have shortcuts – so read the manual and from what I heard during the lecture, you can also create your own shortcuts so that it is easier for you to compose/ notate the song. They service in 55+ languages around the world – so if you are a Windows, Mac or Linux users around the world you can definitely use it wherever you are. You can also download or share the sheet music which you’ve created on their website for free. They also provide the mobile app as well.

So, the first question raised was that how and why? Why did you start this free business? So Nicolas was originally a classically trained drummer and also an engineer. And most questions which he’s seen on the YouTubes and other music website was that “do you have the sheet music of this?” So, there he goes, researching the market of the sheet music. And what he found was quite heart breaking – the sheet music industry was broken. Why?

  • High price
  • Very limited offer
  • Forced to buy the actual book
  • Slow to release the new titles
  • Only for popular instruments

So, he set the mission to fix this sheet music market with some creators and empower musicians with free software to create their own sheet music. So there he goes, created the free software, MuseScore with his teammates.

He showed us around the actual MuseScore and the subscription website, which was just so amazing! It actually blew all of us’s mind. So, from the MuseScore website, you can find so many different sheet musics created by various people in the world. you also have the audio feature, where you can here the music and see where the music is going on the sheet music.

But the most amazing part was when he showed us the feature connected with the Youtube. You can literally bring the Youtube video to the MuseScore and you will be able to see the video, hear the audio and play along with your sheet music!! It will automatically sync with the video you’ve connected so that you will be able to play in the same tempo, keys, and expressive techniques. – How amazing is this?! TBH I was quite shocked to see this feature.

This programme is also great for teachers since you can create your own group on the MuseScore and invite your students into that group so you can produce a class composition or you can assess and see individual progress on the composition tasks.

They are on their way on releasing the MuseScore 3 very soon! It will be SMARTER, FASTER and EASIER. So keep you eye out on this amazing software!

Reflection on our CME

SO! today is bit different of what I usually do.

Recently we had our CME (Composition in Music Education) assignment due in our music education course.

What we had to do for our assignment is that we had to create a composition task where we layout the task in ‘baby steps’ for our students, rather than giving them the ‘task’ – go compose. This was a very big topic which we discussed in the lecture.

Why do students feel scared with the name ‘composition’? even if we are trained to do it from our earlier school life? What does it sound just so ‘big’?

I had to go and look for some studies on use of technology in composition task. The book Music Education and Technology (e): Education and Digital Technology by P. Burnard and J. Finney discusses how technology is introduced in class and some strategies to the change. In the second chapter, they discuss about that nowadays, students are so much more familiar with band instruments rather than the western instruments. Hence, teenagers are more engaged in working on softwares where they can play around with drum, guitar etc. If we, as a teacher, as students to ‘improvise’ on the western instrument/ compose a melody, students will struggle, whereas, if we ask students to go and play around on the drum/ percussion/ guitar, they are happy to explore various sounds and produce sounds.

So, with my baby step composition task, I’ve chose the example music which explores the western musical ideas but they incorporate those with the idea of swing. Hence, students will be still using their knowledge of what they’ve learnt (my task is targeted to stage 6) but incorporating it with something they are more familiar to/ find it more interesting. And with this music, I thought that I will be able to challenge and make it enjoyable for both sides; students grown up, learning the traditional western music and students grown up, learning the popular music.

Another reading I did was the MUSIC NOTATION SOFTWARE: SOME OBSERVATIONS ON ITS EFFECTS ON COMPOSER CREATIVITY by John Peterson and Emery Schubert.

To be honest, I did see where they were coming from, but I did not really relate to their research. They said that people nowadays use the notation software for the ‘playback’ feature, so that they can hear what they’ve compose straight after they put it into the program. Peterson and Schubert commented that this give the lack in creativity and it does not save time then hand writing the composition.

Hence, they did the test with 8 different composers in thirty – fifties. They gave and certain time to arrange the music. The result they got was that when the person is on the notation software, they spend more time in exploring the features of the software itself, rather than using that time to expand their creativity.

From my perspective, I think it is true for people to have some struggles with the notation devices, where they’ve spent most of their life hand-writing the composition. However, is this going to be same to the teenagers as well? where the technology is their second life? And from my personal perspective, I don’t think spending time in exploring the software is the waste of time. It is time for them to be familiar with something which they have never seen/ heard before and fining out ways to use them in composition is valuable in my point of view.

However, I took some advices from this research and laid out my composition task so that students have chance to think and extend their creativity by writing it out in their workbook/ or thinking about them in their head, rather than asking them to do something straight on to the notation software. So in the iBook I’ve added table in each chapter for them to visually see their thoughts and physically filling in the table with their ideas. Then, I gave them the task where they then had to go on to the notation software such as Sibelius or Soundtrap to have a go in hearing what they’ve created.

If you have time, go and have a read in these book/article and please share some thoughts about them! I am keen to hear other’s thoughts.

 

Reference Lists:

Burnard, P. and J. Finney (2010). Education with Digital Technology. London, Continuum.

Peterson, J., & Schubert, E. (2007). Music notation software: some obsevations on its effects on composer creativity. Paper presented at the The inaugural International Conference on Music Communication Science, Sydney, Australia.