On this page you will find activities that I did with 6th, 7th, and 8th grade General Music classes during the 2009-2010 school year.
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Lyrical Connections - "What A Wonderful World"


This started out when I noticed that a lot of students couldn't make sense of a song lyric or didn't know the background/history. A lot of the time the explanation is literal and not interpretative at all. Plus I wanted them to "Understand relationships between music, the other arts, and disciplines outside the arts." In this project the students compared two or more elements of each art (for example, timbre in music, line in visual arts, etc.) and how it can be used to transform similar events, scenes, emotions, or ideas into works of art.

For the first part of the project, music students listened to a variety of musical selections and had to describe the scene that comes to their mind as they listened to the different types of music.Lyrical Connections Student Worksheet.doc They then listened to and discussed various interpretations of the song “What a Wonderful World”. After a discussion on the elements of Music and Art, the students were given a set of lyrics from the song "What A Wonderful World" and found Creative Commons images which represented the words. The students had to use proper bibliographic format to cite the picture and they also created a “student statement” using the elements of music in their explanation of why they chose a certain picture.Lyrical Connections Student Instructions-without names.doc

The second part of the project involved art students viewing the selected images and doing Gesture Line Drawings of the exact same image or mood. Gesture Line sounds just like what it means. It's a form of line that has a sense of emotion, or feeling to it. These lines can be soft and dreamy or hard and angry. Artists often use this technique to warm up and loosen up their right brain. A gesture drawing can be a doodle or squiggly line. Students eventually begin to call these studies "scribbles." It is like brainstorming or free writes—when you don't care about penmanship, spelling, or grammar—you're just trying to get the idea down as quickly as you can. Gesture line is quick, continuous movement in which value is increased by closeness and pressure of overlaps.

As this project progressed the students were aware that they were thinking outside of the class in which they were in. Music students had to become artists in choosing images and art students had to become like musicians in freely creating a composition. The project developed into a “book”, with a mixture of images, text, and drawings. It was through this book that I was able to show how different arts portray the same scene in unique ways, and have the students craft an abstract visual piece in response to a musical composition. Here is an issuu document of the finished project:

Google Earth Musicians

My music 6 and music 8 classes have recently generated .kml files for use in Google Earth. In the course of the curriculum, I do a general survey of 20th Century musicians/styles with the 6th graders and music periods/musicians with the 8th graders. When doing an activity like this there is so much information and the goal is for them to be able to distinguish the differences and be able to list the characteristics. This also broadens their knowledge about different musicians/styles. Instead of me telling the students factual/bibliographic information I wanted the student to find the information and then use web 2.0 software as a study guide for the material. As we all know, learning that is generated by students is a higher level skill, and of course all participated.
This activity was realized after an idea that was shared during on of J. Mummert's sessions. Google Squared Labs lets you list bibliographic information on a variety of subjects. Instead of me doing that, I gave each student an individual musician. The students then filled in a Google Document Spreadsheet in which they had to find the place of birth, date of birth, place of death, date of death, cause of death, and an interesting fact of a musician. I was then able to easily upload this spreadsheet into a Google Fusion Table and generated a .kml file by geocoding the places found on the spreadsheet.
By highlighting the file under Temporary Places within Google Earth, you can click through a tour very easily. If you click on the individual placemarkers you can see the information that students generated. I have also added video to each of the musicians. Since I have generated these files, it is easy to add other items to the actual placemarks, like characteristic, which I should have done - to further make the connection between the stated goals and target knowledge. As we viewed these files, students completed a worksheet through discussion which listed the material to be assessed. Through this activity the students were able to identify, explain, and analyze historical styles/genres and chronologically list important musicians for each of the periods of music history or 20th Century American music. As I was completing the activity the students broadened their appreciation of the role of different American music styles or music history periods and learned to recognize specific musical styles, genres, and musicians. It was interesting to have the students come up with the characteristics and factual information instead of me telling them. As the PA standards state: this was definitely "knowing and using traditional and contemporary technologies for furthering knowledge and understanding in the humanities."
To view the tours that the students created, you must download/save the files, (right click on the links below). This only works in the Firefox browser. Once done with that, clicking on the file will open them up in Google Earth - this must be installed on your computer. Here is the link to download it: Google Earth If you want more information or are interested in doing this for your own classes, please feel free to contact me.
Composers-Music History

Musicians-20th Century


52nd Annual Grammy Awards

Click on the above link to pick your choices for a Grammy Award! Some of the major categories of Grammy awards are given from the 52nd Annual Grammy Award Nomination List. Test your knowledge of who’s hot - and who’s not - by choosing who you would want to win in each category. If you don't like any of the nominees, choose who you would think will win. You can only choose one nominee from each category.

The ceremonies will air on the CBS Television Network from 8 - 11:30 p.m., Sunday, January 31st, 2010.

Glogster - Music History Unit

Students were given an assignment to use Glogster to create a composer Glog. The project was done by two music 8 classes using netbooks and the school's computer lab. Over the course of 3 class periods, each student created a Glog about one composer from different musical history time periods. The Worksheet that I gave them to explain the process is included here:. With Glogster EDU I was able to view all of their creations in a teacher account. We also used a that I created using RubiStar to assess the material that was contained in the Glog. While this project was designed to teach all of the musical history periods within a limited time frame through the music/facts of certain composers, one of the side benefits of this activity that the students really enjoyed was the actual creating and designing of their "poster". Here are some representative examples:

Johann Sebastian Bach
Gustav Holst
Peter Tchaikovsky
Richard Wagner
After we viewed their creations in class, I ended the unit with this worksheet that tested their knowledge of the material presented.

Dipity/Wallwisher Assignment


WALL LINK #1: http://wallwisher.com/wall/08TxmKBtn5

WALL LINK #2: http://wallwisher.com/wall/VvFD4GuicD

WALL LINK #3: http://wallwisher.com/wall/dpow20U8Nf

What can YOU say in six sentences?

I have recently completed an assignment called 6 Sentences. The purpose of 6 Sentences is to "write, express oneself, be creative, and have fun."
This was done in connection with an American Musical Styles unit. The first part of the unit dealt with completing a "tree" of musical styles from around 1850 to the present. The students and I discussed the characteristics of each of the major styles and how one led to the other. The second part involved a document which had representative video examples. The students then wrote 6 sentences about the music contained in the video. This unit was easily completed with the use of 25 Asus Eee PC 701SD Netbooks, which I have recently acquired for my classroom! Here are a few sentences that are the result of the student's work:

BLUES: Robert Johnson – “Crossroad”
It sounds like an older song. The background instruments are really choppy sounding, and it seems like the singer didn't really plan out the song very well. The song seems like the singer just thought it up in his head while he was singing it. It was a blues song because it was a song about the mans life, the sad parts of his life. It sounds like it's either a sad song or it's just kind of boring, I'm not sure. It is a very repetitive song, because the singer keeps repeating that he went to the Crossroads. - Allyson M.

RAGTIME: Scott Joplin – “Maple Leaf Rag
This song is very popular. Its very fast. There aren't any words. Its sounds like a small kids show theme song. He's very talented. In some parts it sounds like he's slamming on the keys. - Dani D.

BLUES: Louis Armstrong – “Heebie Jeebies”
Sounds like multiple instruments. Maybe 1 solo trumpet and a band. Scat singing? Hard to understand what he is saying... Music sounds more like jazz then blues. Not typical of blues- not sad at all. - Andrea L.

SWING: Glenn Miller – “In the Mood”
Played with a full brass band and no singer. Loud and seemingly proud music. Sounds like a song for celebration. Sounds a little like Ragtime mixed with cheerful Blues music. - Patrick B.

RHYTHM & BLUES: Frank Sinatra – “Fly Me to the Moon”
Its a lot slower than swing. There are a lot more lyrics than swing. The lyrics always seem to rhyme. The instruments being played are in a large band it seems. His voice and the lyrics are the main part of the song. The music is more of a background sound. - Rachel R.

ROCK & ROLL: Jerry Lee Lewis – “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Going On”
This is a fast song. This is a three person band. The instruments are piano, guitar, and drums. There is only one person singing. The person singing and playing piano looks like he doesn't really no what hes playing on piano. He looks like he is hitting random keys. I really don't like this song. - Austin S.

ROCK: Jim Morrison – “Light My Fire”
There is a band playing this song. It's sung in deep tones. The camera angles in this video are strange. All of the band guys are jamming to the music while playing their instruments. There is a part where only the instruments play, it sounds very unorganized. - Emma H.

DISCO: Donna Summer – “Last Dance”
This song is slow. I think I've heard this song before. This song is soft. It's not really what I pictured disco music like (or at least the dancing kind). This sounds more modern, too. I think I've heard of Donna Summer before. - S. Williams

RAP: DJ Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince – “Parents Don’t Just Understand”
Sounds like speaking, only in a rhythm. Strong beat in the background. Also, can hear sound effects. No singing at all, just rapping. Sounds like typical rap. Don't think there are other instruments- not sure though. - Andrea L.

I wanted all the students in the class to add to a discussion about the different types of music. Usually, there is a small percentage of students that state their comments or add to the discussion. With this activity, all students had a comment and we could review, add, and expand on the comments made by each student.
What can YOU say in six sentences?

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