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Brian VanAntwerp

Lesson #1/3
Title: Compose!
Class Grouping: Small Group
-Students compose an original work (Focus on coming up with a story or theme that will be
conveyed in the music)
-Students notate their work so that it can be reproduced
-Students develop ensemble skills
-Students perform their composition
-CD Player/ Computer
-Chairs, stands
-Blank paper, staff paper, pencils
-Students participate in listening lesson and discussion
-Observe whether students are behaving and participating during composition
-Final Performance
1. <Assessing> Listen to:
-Rite of Spring (Stravinsky)
-Shostakovich Quartet No.8
-Little Glass of Wine (Stanley Brothers)
Initiate discussion, explain differences in

1. Sit and listen to piece. What do you think?
Whatd you hear? How does each piece tell a

2. Hand out rubric, address major points.

Today, the objective is to develop a story or
4. <Creating> Create rhythms with student
name(s), demonstrate to class how these
overlapping name-rhythms might create an
2. Initiate warm up exercises:

6. <Creating> Turn students loose, be available

for questions.

2. Read rubric, ask questions

4. Create own rhythm based on name.

Demonstrate to class. Create an ostinato with
combined names- rhythms.
5. Participate in warm up activities. Students
play scales and practice ensemble skills.
Students start and end each scale with leading
gestures, change bows together, make eyecontact, are in tune with each other.
6. Students create an individual composition
that conveys a story. Composition is
repeatable. Come up with a story for theme for
composition. Discuss what harmonic
structures would convey theme best (major,
minor, etc).

7. Check in on student groups, monitor time,

and dismiss groups.
2. Performing on instruments, alone and with others, a varied repertoire of music.
3. Improvising melodies, variations, and accompaniments.
4. Composing and arranging music within specified guidelines.
5. Reading and notating music.
6. Listening to, analyzing, and describing music.
7. Evaluating music and music performances.
9. Understanding music in relation to history and culture.

Brian VanAntwerp
Individual Lesson Analysis
Lesson #1/3
The first thing that students learned in Lesson #1 was a strategy to create an ostinato from
student names. Group members were engaged as I sang several examples of ostinato patterns
created with their own names. The group did not use this strategy when they created their own
ostinato for the composition. However, while Marty (cellist) was teaching the ostinato to Liam
(cellist), he had a chance to teach Liam some bar-chords.

Liam quickly picked up the chords

and used this new fingering to easily play the ostinato the group later created.
On a more abstract level, the group members learned what it is like to brainstorm and
work with others in a small group. Group members started off without instruments as they first
chose an exciting, battle scene and then a pirate battle as the theme of their composition.
Having this general story idea served as a foundation for the composition and helped the group
decide on more specific details like the key of the composition. Settling on a broad idea before
composing is a strategy that group members can use in the future. As seen in the video,
freshman violinists Allie and Nicole acted shy in the group. When the boys asked for their input,
melody ideas, or for them to play an excerpt by rote, the girls backed away, mumbling, and
giggling but not achieving much work. The boys learned quickly that they would have to assist
the less experienced girls.
I cut out the warm-up and ensemble exercises due to time constraints. Because the
students were meeting voluntarily before school, naturally we started later than planned and I
knew students would ask to leave a bit early and head to first hour. For this same reason, I didnt
thoroughly go through the rubric with the students. Instead I addressed only the main points and
hoped the students would read the document on their own. Before the lesson, I wasnt sure how

quickly student groups would move through this composition process. I decided to focus the
first lesson on the story theme as students came a bit late and spent time on the listening
lesson. Starting off with a small chunk was manageable for the students.
For better or worse, I didnt monitor the students very closely as they worked. Despite
the fact that I had a video camera rolling, I wanted group members to feel that they were in
charge of their compositions and were not being critiqued during the creation process. I checked
in about half-way through the lesson to make sure there were no questions and to see if progress
was being made. After Lesson #1, I had a better idea of the amount of work groups were able to
complete in a class and I knew to focus on small chunks of material for future lessons.