I have just finished a unit of inquiry with my Year 9 Music students, and I’m so proud of what the students were able to achieve. I won’t talk about everything we did, but I will share with you what we achieved in the last two weeks and their assessment task.
The students were all given a melodic instrument that they had never played before in order to provide a more level playing field in the classroom. I also introduced the students to a range of percussion instruments, and then I showed them a clip from Charlie Chaplin’s ‘Modern Times’ and told them to create a composition for it using the instruments we had explored but didn’t know fully how to use.
We laid the percussion instruments out on tables in front of the movie screen and went through a range of different phases…
– everyone playing everything at once (not really paying attention to the film)
– everyone playing everything at once a little more carefully (paying attention to the film)
– everyone experimenting with dynamics (volume levels) while paying attention to the film.
– deciding when and when not to play
– thinking about and creating layers of sound
– discussing how we can verbally communicate what sound we want
– discussing how we can visually communicate what sound we want through a graphic score.
– discussing how a composer can add meaning to visuals and what it must be like working with the director or producer of a film.
– creating a graphic score
– choosing which musicians from class we want to perform our composition and why
– modifying our ideas for our composition
– performing our final composition
I feel like we have very thoroughly investigated how musicians communicate, now to perfect the unit of work for the next lot of grade 9’s!