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Debussy – Clair de Lune


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cMzFvKuZusE– Twilight track

Debussy – Clair de Lune


Musical concepts –The musical concepts you could focus on in this piece could be; structure- long phrases; Pitch- introduce different/unconventional harmonies i.e. whole tone scales and dissonance; Rhythm – how does the rhythm change and enhance the ‘feel’ of the piece and build the music to the climax; Texture- how do the 2 parts, right and left hand work together to create change throughout, are more ‘parts’ introduced; tone colour- what is the instrumentation and what instrumental techniques are employed; expressive techniques- dynamics and phrasing.


Learning activities:

Listening/aural –listen to a recording of the piece without giving any information on it. Ask the class if they have heard the piece before and if so where from. Show a clip from the movie ‘Twilight’ where this piece is featured to put it in a modern context for them. Brain storm, in groups, how the music made them feel and if there were things they did and didn’t like about it. come back as a whole class and discuss their ideas. Then begin a discussion on the techniques they could hear, what sounds could they hear? Did they notice dissonance and did they like it? compare with ‘conventional’ harmonies to show the difference.


Musicology – Get the students to write down a whole tone scale and identify why it is called a whole tone scale, relates it back and get them to identify it in the piece. This will be used, or will have been used, in the performance part of this activity.


Composition –In groups compose a piece short piece based around a whole tone scale in the impressionist style, try and apply dissonant harmonies where possible.  Think about the instrumental techniques and the expressive techniques you could use to enhance the impressionist style. Remember the idea of long phrases and unusual rhythms.


Performance –As a class, on the instruments available, improvise and explore the whole tone scale. Once the composition tasks are complete, perform them for the class.

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Mussorsky – Night on Bald Mountiain



Mussorsky – Night on Bald Mountain – BLOG

Program Music – music which tells a story.

Musical concepts – The concepts we will be looking at in this unit will be; tone colour in regards to instrumentation and the way the instruments are used; structure- episodes, motifs and themes for each character, scene and thought; Pitch and how it is used to describe each theme, does the composer use high or low sounds for certain ideas; Duration and how the tempo and rhythm help to describe the images the composer is painting in regards to tempo and rhythm; expressive techniques and dynamics and how they add to the overall feel of each theme.

Learning activities


Listen to the piece without images, then brain storm with the class. Get them to talk about how the piece makes them feel and identify different themes. Get them to analyse musical concepts of the piece in abstract terms i.e. what they hear? low notes and high notes? And how do these concepts affect the mood of the music and the way it influences their imagination, the images they see. Then add the images, fantasia, and see if they correspond to the images they identified earlier. If there are differences in opinions, point out that music can encourage a diverse range of feelings and images in their minds.


Library activity- Divide the class into groups and get them to research different areas relating to the topic and then present to the class and lead a group discussions in their area.

Research areas

1. Mussorsky – His history and the era he was from. 2. Program music– what is It? What are the characteristics? 3. Night on bald mountain – What is the story line? Where did the story come from? What is the history of the piece? When and why was it as composed? What were the different stages and the different arrangements?  4. Analyse the music; research the instrumentation and thematic ideas throughout, describe the techniques used and how they help create the story – This research area could be for the more musically advanced students.


Whole class activity- Write a story as a class creating a plot, characters and scenes. Separate students into groups and write a theme for each character and/or scene, i.e. bad guy, sweet girl, the hero. Get the students to think about the instrumentation they would use and the sounds they would associate with those characters and scenes. Direct the students to think about the techniques identified in the listening task to apply to their themes and motifs.

Performance – perform for another class or assembly.

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Gotye- Somebody That I Used to know




Gotye  – Somebody that I used to know (Australian piece)- BLOG

Pop/dance song and Remix

Concepts– This unit looks at how musical concepts are used and manipulated to create a remix of a piece. For this piece you could look at; texture, how the instrumentations differs in the different pieces; duration, how the DJ has manipulated the tempo, rhythm etc. to create a different feel; pitch- has the DJ added different parts, melody or harmony or new motifs; tone colour how has the DJ used the change of instruments or addition of electronic devices; structure- have they manipulated the original structure of the original piece, did they take fragments, have they used riffs, ostinatos or have they added completely new material.

Learning activities:

Listening – Listen to the original as a class and identify the musical characteristics. Then listen to two different remixes and compare and contrast in small groups how the versions/ arrangements differ. Use the ideas spoken about in the class discussion to identify the differences. Look at duration, structure, instrumentation, pitch, is there any new material introduced by the DJ. Look at pitch and see if the composer has altered or added a different bass line or motif, it may not be from the original piece. Has the composer mashed two pieces together?

Musicology– Individual research task and presentation -explore different remixes of a song of your choice and analyse it. Give a short presentation on what the composer/DJ has done to change the piece in terms of pitch, duration, texture, structure and tone colour. You must bring a recording of the original piece and the remix you chose to compare and contrast for the class.

Creativity/composition– Remix this song on garage band or acid.  Look at experimenting with duration- faster or slower, add a different drum beat, the rhythm in the bass line. Explore structure by taking fragments and creating motifs or ostinatos, can you add any new material?

Performing – In class the teacher will teach the song to the children the song on barred instruments, guitars and percussion. Teach them the basic chords in the piece, Dm, C and Bb. Teach them the glockenspiel motif and have a few students to sing the melody lines. Let students improvise over the others and explore fragmenting, motifs and rhythmic alterations.


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Ken Robinson 2006 – ‘schools kill creativity’


This was an amazing talk by Ken Robinson on the issue of schools killing creativity in children.
He goes into theories of why it is important for school to encourage free thinking and creative skills.
He develops on the concept that ‘children aren’t afraid to be wrong.. if you aren’t prepared to be wrong then you won’t come up with anything original, and by the time children are adults they have lost that capability.. they become frightened of being wrong’.
He touches the idea that we need to prepare children for an unpredictable future, so therefore we need to encourage free thinking, creativity and innovative minds.
He believes we are educating people out of their creative minds by running school with the idea that mistakes are the ‘worst things you can make’.
He also believes we need to review intelligence as diverse and dynamic opposed to the 19th century idea of meeting the needs of industrialism.
He says ‘creativity comes about by interactions of different disciplinary ways of seeing things’, our brains dont just work in independent compartments.
Finally he concludes that our task as teachers/educators/parents is to ‘educate children’s whole being’ and to see their ‘creative capacity for the richness they are’.

Wonderful view on the future of education and the future for our children.

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