Our Project Situation
Our project’s situation is a middle school orchestra teacher who has a split orchestra class, violins in one class, and violas, cellos, basses in the other class. This is a common problem experienced in this setting because of scheduling issues with public schools. In this situation the two classes would ultimately perform live in a concert together, so it would be crucial for the two groups to rehearse with the other part playing. What we would do is record the classes rehearse and use the recordings for the other group to rehearse with. Another benefit of this method would be that each class could provide feedback for the other class based on listening to their recordings. We would have them turn in a comment of assessment for a grade to the teacher and then the teacher would put the recording and the selected comments on soundcloud.com.
How We Demonstrated This
We recorded two examples of rehearsals, one from each group. We purposely recorded them with obvious mistakes that would be common errors that a middle school orchestra group would make.
Finally, we made a recording of the two groups combined. This serves two purposes. First, it is a representation of the end result at the live concert where the two groups would finally play together after rehearsing together with the recordings. Additionally, this could be another method of assessment for the students. If we were to take the rehearsal recordings of the two groups and put them together then they could assess other elements such as the blend and balance between the two groups and their abilities to stay together rhythmically.
My Reflection (TPACK)
-I found that there were some very helpful ways of teaching certain elements of musicianship through this process. By having the students listen to the recordings of the other class and asking for them to provide feedback for their improvement this requires a few things from them. This helps them learn how to assess and analyze music and helps them remain more aware of the musical aspects they are critiquing in their own playing.
-(TP) The way in which we would facilitate the feedback is an important element of the process. I learned how to use soundcloud.com and feel comfortable with the basic uses of the site. Before, I had literally never even heard of it. This is a great way for the students being assessed to see the feedback as it applies to the music. This project also helped me to think about how to make it so that this feedback is as effective for the students as possible. I find it important to receive this feedback from their peers, but they are not trained educators and so do not have that formal training on how to give feedback, unlike the teacher. I feel the best way to handle this is for the teacher to take written feedback as an assignment and then review these and use the most applicable ones to put up on soundcloud.com.
-I learned a lot about the technology side of this throughout this project. I had no previous knowledge of how to connect a microphone to my computer and record myself playing on Garageband. I learned how to connect the microphone to the audio interface and how to get the audio interface running through the computer by going to the sound settings under system preferences and changing the settings for the input. I also learned how to fade out and change the volume throughout individual tracks in Garageband.
-(TC) Through learning about all of these different elements of technology I realized that I could also use this material as content to teach my students. It would be helpful for them to learn how to use all of the materials that I have learned how to use throughout this project and how to use them toward a musical goal.
-I felt quite comfortable with the content we would need for this project. The main content we needed was the appropriate music for the age group of children we would be working with, and I felt quite confident that I understood what level of music is appropriate for middle school orchestra students. I used this content knowledge to help decide on a piece for our group to use for this project. We went through a few ideas for music and through the use of our content knowledge were able to make an informed decision for the music we would use.
-(PC) I also felt confident in the Pedagogical Content Knowledge aspect of this project. One main element of this was the knowledge of common mistakes that this age group would make with this kind of music. I knew that this group would have trouble with key signatures and the practice of using high second fingers as opposed to low second fingers. I knew that they would have trouble making the dynamic contrast that the music calls for. Another common problem this group would have would be that they would not be able to properly execute the correct stylistic articulation of the music.