Teacher's Guide for APPLESEEDS Becoming a MusicianJanuary 2003
This guide was prepared by Cyndy Hall. Ms. Hall is a Southern California teacher, writer, and keyboard musician.
Words and Ideas for further exploration:
Preparatory"Meet the Instruments" (pages 6-13)
Call and response
Ask students to research the history, development, and design of different orchestra and band instruments.
- Violin - Why do you need more violins than any other instrument in the orchestra?
Harp - How many strings on a harp? What are the pedals for?
Bows - What are they made of? What is rosin and what does it do?
- What is a reed? What is a double reed and which instruments use one? Why?
Clarinet (or "licorice stick")
English Horn - Why is an English horn 'English'?
Bassoon - How tall is a bassoon?
Many woodwind instruments use cork under the keys. Why?
Flugelhorn - What's the difference between a trumpet and a flugelhorn?
Trombone - What is a slide and why does a trombone need one?
French Horn - How long is a French horn if you unroll it? Why is a French horn 'French'?
Sousaphone - invented by John Philip Sousa. Why did Sousa invent a Sousaphone? What made it different from a tuba?
What is a mute? What kinds of mutes do classical and jazz musicians use - and why?
What is a valve?
- How many different percussion instruments does a percussionist play?
How many more percussion instruments can students add to this list?
"Fun Stuff: Build Your Own Band" (pages 18-19)
- Ask high school orchestra and band musicians to visit your classroom and share their instruments. Prepare a class list of "I wish I knew . . . " questions, including:
Make a wall chart or bulletin board (titled "Becoming a Musician") to record and compare answers.
- What is the best part of being a musician? What part is most difficult?
- Why did you decide to play _____?
- Who influenced you to become a musician? Why?
- Many community and college instrumental and choral ensembles allow school groups to watch their rehearsals. Organize a field trip to observe one of these groups and meet the musicians. Ask these musicians the same "I wish I knew" questions from the class list. Compare "I wish I knew" answers to others on the wall chart.
- Give each student a copy of the "I wish I knew" class questions. Ask them to find out if their parents, grandparents, or neighbors ever played an instrument or sang in a chorus or other group (many still do!). Interview these family / neighborhood musicians with the same "I wish I knew" questions, adding their answers to the wall chart. Compare and discuss.
"By the Numbers: The Math in Music"
- Hold a 'Musical Inventor' contest in your classroom. Ask each student to design and build a unique musical instrument using only free or recycled materials. Display completed instruments in the classroom. Use your classroom computer to create a series of humorous 'award' certificates. These might include categories such as "Best use of Duct Tape," "Longest Cardboard Tube-A," "Best Stringy-Thingy," "Best _______ (insert student's name)-phone," "Most Musical Wax Paper-Comb," etc. Have fun!
- Ask each student to find an "instrument that is not an instrument but could be an instrument" in their kitchen, bedroom, or garage. Make sure they have parental permission before bringing these instruments to school for a classroom "play along" instrumental karoke concert. (Note: this is an excellent day before a holiday afternoon activity!)
- Collect 6 - 10 CDs or cassette tapes featuring different kinds of music. Selections may include marches by John Philip Sousa, minuets written by Johann Sebastian Bach, Rossini's "William Tell Overture," Tchaikovsky's "1812 Overture," plus other classical or contemporary (including country western, bluegrass, jazz, rock and roll) compositions.
Next, select small groups of 4 - 6 students for a classroom "Battle of the Karoke Bands," giving each group a cassette or CD player plus one piece from your collection. If possible, hold your small group 'rehearsals' outside, giving each group 10 - 15 minutes to compose and rehearse a classroom band accompaniment to their "instrumental karoke" piece. Regroup the class, then present each group's performance for a fun "instrumental karoke" afternoon activity.
"The Sweetest Melody" (pages 22-25)
- Using the note values information presented in the article, create a series of music-math flash. Use these cards for team relay games, music 'bingo' games, five minute 'time squashers' between activities (clap the rhythms and add/subtract, including fractions), or as the 'given' information for small group rhythm compositions using "Fun Stuff: Build Your Own Band" rhythm instruments.
- Information about reading music, rhythms, and time signatures (another piece of the 'music code') can be found at www.datadragon.com/education/reading (an online introduction to reading music - great basic information).
- Use student learning about note values, time signatures, and rhythms to create patterns. Ask students what these musical patterns would be if converted to "A-B" (language arts) code.
- Convert your weekly spelling list to a series of simple rhythmic patterns. Read, clap, tap, or 'conduct' these patterns, discussing why each word 'fits' the answer. Using a handheld drum (or simple clapping) for accompaniment, ask students to walk, hop, move arms, 'conduct,' and dance to these patterned-words on the playground or in the classroom.
"Crack the Music Code" (pages 30-31)
- After reading "The Sweetest Melody," ask students to write a short paragraph explaining their own "sweetest melody." Read these paragraphs aloud and discuss their answers.
- This folktale would also be a great read-aloud to take home, share, and discuss with parents and grandparents. Ask students to share both their own "sweetest melodies" and the special stories they bring back to the classroom after reading "The Sweetest Melody" with their families.
- Solve the coded-music word puzzles on page 31, then ask small groups of students to create more word puzzles and secret coded messages. Use these new puzzle-words and phrases as 'time squashers,' relay games, and story starters.
- OR . . . begin this activity by asking small groups of students to compile lists of words using only the letters a, b, c, d, e, f, and g. Work on these lists during several short (10 - 15 minute) class sessions, making dictionaries and other reference materials available. Convert these lists to coded-music words and use for classroom activities (including those listed above).
Some extra note-words:
|Fee|| ||Bee|| |
|Feed|| ||Fed|| |
|Adage|| ||Baggage|| |
|Gabe|| ||Cede|| |
|Eb|| ||Cad|| |
- Ask a student artist to create a "Super Music Hero / Heroine" cartoon character. Using this character (and others as they occur in the class plotline), organize a class round-robin 'draw-in' (perhaps as a classroom center activity) to create a "Super Music Hero / Heroine" comic book. Each student adds 1 - 2 panels and their ideas to the plotline. The only requirement? Each panel must use at least one 'coded' music word. You'll get some very humorous - and wild - plotlines out of this exercise while students cement their knowledge of the treble staff 'code.'