Archive for the ‘teacher professional development’ Tag

MTeach class, week 2

In this week’s class, we looked at three ways of developing students’ rhythmic invention and skills.

Circle game – Accumulative Rhythms

This is a good warm-up, it can create a powerful focus in a group. It is also a big brain-teaser, so needs to be worked on slowly, adding complexity a little at a time.

The whole group stands in a circle. One person (the leader/facilitator/teacher/student) starts a clapping pattern going. The person beside them watches, learns it, and joins in. The next person along does the same, and so on, around the circle. It is important that people don’t start clapping the rhythm before it has come to them – even if they have figured it out long ago and are keen to get started!

Once the rhythm is well-established, the leader starts another rhythm. The person beside them hears it, and joins in when ready, passing it on to their neighbour. See how many different rhythms you can have travelling around the circle at the same time!

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MTeach class, week 1

I am teaching a new class at the University this semester – a group of MTeach students who all have backgrounds (to varying degrees) in music. The focus (as much as has been given to me so far.. it seems to change every time I speak to one of the coordinators) is on contemporary art music, improvisation and composition.

I’ll keep things as hands-on as possible – everything we learn, we will learn by doing, and exploring with instruments and our voices. We’ll cover a number of different approaches to group-devised composing, and work towards a large-scale piece that involves all of us, by the end of the 12 weeks.

These ‘MTeach’ posts have two functions – the first is a planning space for me, to log what we are doing each week, and how the classes (which are 60 minutes long – only – every Tuesday morning) link up and develop; the second is for the students to have a place to recall what we did in class, and use as a resource should they want to revisit the activities with their own classes.

I tend to structure most of my lessons with an initial warm-up game ( I think it is useful for all teachers to have a number of these up their sleeve, so see a lot of value in introducing them to the group), followed by content that is more focused on invention, composing, and structure.

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