Music Education Project for Middle-School Students
Goals and Sample Activities
Present classical and contemporary chamber music to students.
(In many cases, this is their first introduction to the art form.)
Introduce and explore the instruments (string family, woodwind family, brass instruments, and piano). Discuss their range, usage, and expressive qualities. Explore how chamber music functions, paying particular attention to the role of leading and the necessity of team work in the absence of a conductor. Discuss behavior in a concert situation.
We combine presentations with discussion – so that the sessions are informative, interactive, and hold the students’ attention. To maximize the immediacy and intimacy of the students’ experiences, we do not perform from a stage.
Sample Curriculum and Activities:
• Place the works being performed in their historical context. Discuss differences in musical style and how this relates to currents and trends in history.
• Demonstrate special techniques/ effects, such as pizzicato, col legno, ponticello, and their expressive results in the musical context.
• Use worksheets to explore what the students learned about the instruments and composers, as well as their reactions to the concert experience. (Both teachers and musicians have the opportunity to review the completed worksheets.)
• Talk about the commitment, passion, and dedication necessary to become a musician. Relate this to fields, such as sports, with which the students might be more familiar.
• Extract rhythmic figures from the works being performed and ask the students to explore these rhythms through clapping and stomping.
• Explore “instant choreography” during chosen movements. (For example: “Let your arm be a snake that moves to the music.”)
• Ask the students to respond to the concert through writing, drawing, or other artistic expression (once back in the classroom).