This piece is part of my Symphony of the Child, commissioned and premiered by the International Grammar School in Sydney in 2009. It uses alternating six-eight and three-four time signatures, like a Flamenco, and is perfect for middle school classes to perform.

In this unit of work students move from performing the piece in class to composing a solo with GarageBand based on the accompaniment. Here’s the whole arrangement:

The above recording is made with GarageBand 09. You can also download:

  1. A PDF of the score
  2. The score as a Sibelius file
  3. The MP3

I introduce this piece with some simple clapping games:

Then in two groups:

Then we learn the whole arrangement by rote.

The task now moves from performance to composition through improvisation. We use the on-screen keyboard in GarageBand to improvise a solo in C major over the accompaniment after students have tried doing this with xylophones or keyboards in the classroom. Thus a direct connection is created between performance repertoire, improvisation and composition.

Download the GarageBand template here:

These GarageBand files could have been created by performing each part, but since I had already made the score in Sibelius I simply exported it as a MIDI file and dragged that into GarageBand. With such an import you usually have to fix up the Software Instruments GarageBand chooses because it doesn’t have a standard GM set, and percussion tracks may not convert correctly. If you’d like to try this yourself, here’s the MIDI file:

Finally, related listening is also embedded – in this case we would listen to other repertoire that uses the alternating 6/8 and 3/4 time signatures, such as America from West Side Story or some traditional Flamenco.

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