A bit of a mixed week this week, with the problem before we’d begun being that Sibelius still wasn’t registered in the lab so learning that was out of the question, and then losing the whole of the first tutorial time because there was an electricity outage in the front half of the lab. So I promised you you’d find everything you needed here… and you will.
We began with a new round, “Shalom”, to warm up. I promised you I’d transcribe that (I learned it by ear from my wife, who is much more expert than I in things singing), so I have below. We discussed the fact it was another natural minor piece so perfect for improv like the Chant and Drone in week 1.
Next we moved onto my When Doves Cry “Remix” (arrange, really, but the word remix is much cooler) Unit for year 8. We started by breaking down the drum beat into body percussion and then talked about instrument transfer and put into individual lines. Consider doing this for your arrangement in assignment 1. It’s a fun way to teach a rhythm that keeps everyone involved.
All of the resources for the original When Doves Cry unit of work I made about 5 years ago are available on my website, and on my GarageBand page there is a series of links to the covers I used in many different styles. Comparing the styles was a good way into discussing the concept Duration, and I reminded you how the three Learning Experiences (Listen, Perform and Compose) could all revolve around a single piece of repertoire, and reminded you this is what I’d like you to do in Assignment 1. Check out my last lecture notes if you haven’t already for more on this. The focus concept was Duration, and the composition came next…
Later in the second tutorial we downloaded the loops and “remixed” When Doves Cry ourselves. We also learned how to make a basic drum beat in real time: the video tutorials on the unit will show you how to do this if you were in the first, electronically-absent group. I also showed you how to create your own loops in case you’d like to do this for one of your assignments as resources for composition projects. Here’s a video showing you how to do it if you missed it in the tutorial:
Looking at the online When Doves Cry unit gave us an idea of basic online delivery of work, or “blended learning” as it’s called when you deliver resources both online and in person in the classroom. It really was a very basic example, and I explained to you that I have changed many of the ways I do it nowadays, as well as the ways I’ve changed the online delivery – this screen grab is the current format this unit of work is in with the year 8 class I’m teaching right now (note there aren’t even “stages” or “steps”, just sections that people need to work in):
Ways I’ve changed my delivery of the unit include:
- Remove the expectation and structure of “week by week” teaching. Rename the weeks “stages” or “steps”, and be surprised how much students will achieve in one week.
- Don’t stand at the front of the class for 20 minutes each week showing them how to do stuff. Give them a short blast of the skills to inspire them early on, for just 5 mins, and then tell them to explore the tutorial videos I made as they go.
- Open up remixing of When Doves Cry to be any song they like, so they have good motivation.
- Get away from the front of the class and sit with them: I try to move to the back of the class once I’ve done the quick show in an early week, and sit amongst the students, helping them arrange their songs.
This has allowed me to make loops for more songs with the students, and some of the ones in this list are also made by students from the #UWSMTeach course who were kind enough to let me steal their work when they did it for one of the assignments. Feel free to download these loops (never the whole song, usually just the first verse or a chorus, so they can get started) and use them with your own classes.
- Coldplay – Paradise
- Jimmy James – Fashionista
- One Direction – One Thing
- One Direction – What Makes You Beautiful
- Beyonce – Run The World
- Chris Brown ft Justin Bieber – Next To You
- Coldplay – Clocks
- Daft Punk – Around The World
- Guetta – Where Them Girls At
- Short Stack – Die Young Stay Pretty
- Will.i.am – Heartbreaker
- Beyonce – Smash Into You
This allowed us to think about what kind of resources I was providing online and what you might provide for your assessment. We listed:
- Your classroom arrangement and parts, preferably as PDFs: Melody in C, F, Bb and Eb, Harmony part (piano or guitar probably), Percussion and Bass plus score.
- Optionally backing tracks, could be MP3s (you know how to make those in GarageBand) or MIDI files (you can make those in Sibelius or Finale when you finish your arrangement. You know how to put them in Dropbox or Divshare and link to them.
- Optionally tutorial videos.
- Videos or recordings (YouTubes?) of the piece you’re studying.
- Ideas and resources (templates, loops) for composition – you’ve made many of these now too.
Considering the presentation of those resources allowed us to think about the structure. I showed you one way to structure this on your website if it’s made in WordPress – these are videos I made last year but it is the same process for you now:
There were a few other issues that came up on the night which I know I promised I’d make tutorial videos for, but I think this covers everything I can think of now. As ever, email me (and email me often) if you need help. If I get a request I think would be useful for everyone, I’ll make a tutorial video to help you all out. Just one thing – I know that since I made the Dropbox sharing video two weeks ago, Dropbox have changed the option that was called “Get Shareable Link” to simply “Get Link” – just in case anyone was feeling confused about that!