Archives for 25 Oct,2009

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I’m really big on music games in my lessons. I find they can be even more effective than music theory worksheets, because the student is so engaged in a fun activity. It’s easy to turn commercial games into games for your lessons. One I recently made is “Musical Checkers.” All I did was buy a cheap checkerboard for $4 at Walgreens and draw musical symbols in the red squares with a sharpie pen. The rules get shifted a bit by making the student say out loud the name of the symbol he moves his checker piece to. Other than that, it’s just the same rules as regular checkers. My kids beg me to play it every time, and it’s paying off, because they are finally memorizing the symbol names now! [···]

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(Improvisation Journals, Budding Ideas, Blossoms and Bouquets)

Last month I talked about students making improvisation journals to jot down their musical ideas. Paralleling the creative process to stages in development of flowers and bouquets, ideas were offered in these areas (see Blossoming Improvisation – Part One dated 9/25/09) :

  • Preparing the Soil for Creativity
  • Planting Seeds (motifs).

Today I want to talk about the remaining three stages in my flowery discussion of creativity:

  • Budding Ideas (phrases)
  • Blossoms (sections)
  • The Bouquet (the composition)

Budding Ideas (Phrases)

In this section, short motifs from the “Planting Seeds” section (see Part One of this series) will be expanded in to phrases. The motifs may be used as “take-off” points, or combined to create an interesting theme.

Since a phrase is a musical sentence, it needs to have a beginning, and build through the middle to a period or question mark at the end. The picture of a rainbow shape is a helpful analogy of a phrase shape. Though all phrases do not follow the same melodic and dynamic shape, the rainbow shape will ensure nicely rounded, successful phrases for introductory purposes. Once this is achieved, turn up at the ends of the phrases to create question phrases.  [···]

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