Monthly Archives: May 2014

Melodic Ostinato and Improvisation

The grade 3 & 4’s have been learning about ostinati (short repeated rhythmic or melodic pattern) as well as improvisation. Over the past couple of lessons the students have been learning a short melodic otinato on xylophones and metalophones that will accompany their improvisations. For last weeks ‘See, Think, Wonder’ musical analysis we looked at the fabulous Bobby McFerrin’s vocal improvisation


Voice City Sounds With Prep G

Continuing on from last weeks focus on exploring sound and various sound colours (timbre) the preps this week applied their knowledge and creativity to this image depicting the sounds of a city. Leading up to this the students listened too and analysed a fantastic piece called “The Little Train Of Caipira” by Villa Lobos. The music describes traveling through the Brazilian mountains on a steam train. Then the students in small groups were given a copy of the City Sounds and set a task to come up with various voice sounds to match the sounds depicted on the image. After a whole class discussion on which sounds would better suit each of the objects. I then conducted the students through the performance.  See below for Prep G’s performance.

The Wheels (Preps) On The Bus

Last week the preps were exploring sound with instruments and song through an old favourite ‘The Wheels On The Bus’ . After listening to and singing the song, the students had to then think carefully about changing their voice to suit the sound colour (timbre) of the thing on the bus. Eg If the Wheels could sing what would they sound like. Preps being preps, there were some interesting interpretations. Levelling up the student then had to choose and instrument that also matched the timbre of their voice to support the sound of the song. Please enjoy Prep R’s performance below.

Prep C

Grade 5/6 Sci Fi Compositions

Some of the most exciting music ever written has been for the genre of science fiction. John Williams; Star Wars, ET and Close Encounters Of The Third Kind, come to mind when thinking about music and Sci-Fi. Over term 1 grade 5 and 6 students have used a number of technologies to create short compositions that represent the characters, setting and atmosphere of their planned science fiction narratives.

 Core to my philosophical beliefs as a music teacher is the idea of demystifying the role of the composer so that the students themselves can be composers too. As in other areas of the curriculum students are taught to be writers, readers, mathematicians and historians. One sure way to encourage  students creative thinking process is to allow them to collaborate with others to create short compositions. This can be done through using tuned and untuned percussion instruments. However, technology can empower students by giving them agency to arrange and compose through computer software tools such as Garageband and Soundation.

For their compositions the grade 5 and 6 students used Soundation. Its a powerful online music generator, that allows the students to arrange a number of pre recorded sound samples and loops.The electronic nature of these loops were ideal for the sci fi sound the students were trying to portray.

When planning their Sci Fi narrative the students worked in small groups or pairs and used a fantastic mind mapping tool called Using this plan/outline the students then each week composed short vignettes to support the characterisation and atmosphere for each section of their narrative.

Please listen to some examples are below. However, you can find more at the bottom of the page

Find more here:

5/6T Sci Fi Compositions

5/6R Sci Fi Compositions

5/6I Sci Fi Compositions