Recorder Musicianship Project
In my Art of Teaching Children Music class we did a musicianship project involving recorders and a digital app of some sort. We had to arrange or compose a piece for two parts to play on two recorders and add either a bass line or a percussion line to it with the digital app. I chose to arrange Bruno Mars’ “Just the Way You Are” and use Garage Band to make a percussion line. In Garage Band I made it so my computer keyboard could act like the keyboard of a piano, but the piano itself was a sort of interface for drum set sounds. By doing this I made it so that my laptop’s keyboard was the interface for drum set sounds. This is important to note when looking at how I notated the percussion line.
Here is the score for the two recorder parts:
This is the percussion part and some notes as to how to perform the piece (note that the letters here refer to the computer’s keyboard; underscores are rest and two letters together-“uh” means that both keys are pressed at the same time):
We then performed these in groups in class and recorded them. Here is the recording of mine:
Following this experience we had to reflect upon it by thinking about and answering three guiding questions. Here is my reflection:
Recorder Musicianship Project Reflection
- What did you learn from creating, teaching, and performing your original recorder ensemble piece?:
In creating my recorder piece I learned that some keys and notes are much harder and others are much easier to play on the recorder. I was very please once I figured out that this song in this key worked out so well. I also learned a pretty good deal about how to make a percussion line through that someone can perform live on Garage Band. I learned how to use the computer keyboard as an interface for a piano and for drum set sounds. In teaching I learned that after having part two do a repeated pattern over and over again that I had to explicitly point out that the part ended on the third of the chord and not the tonic. This was something that, when I was arranging it, I heard so naturally to make a nice harmony, but I realized that, when teaching it, it is something I need to explicitly mention simply because it is different and unexpected. I don’t know if this would really be considered as learning something, but when we performed it I was very pleased with how good all the parts sounded together. It is so nice to hear something that I arranged, even just a small little thing like this, performed and created by good musicians. It is so nice to hear it on actual instruments, as opposed to the fake instruments sounds on midi tracks.
- What problems did you experience/uncover throughout the process?:
I really did not experience too many problems throughout the process; it really went quite smoothly. The only thing I can really think of was that I had originally wanted part two to be a syncopated part, but when I tried putting it together with the melody, which already has a good deal of syncopation, it was very difficult, so I made it straight quarter notes. That said, it was very interesting because once we started practicing it in class the person who played the second part actually naturally started playing it syncopated. She told me that it was easier for her and asked if it would be okay for her to perform it that way. I told her it would be great because that was how I originally wanted it anyway. I’m not exactly sure what to take away from that, but nonetheless I found it very interesting.
- How might this activity inform your own teaching practice? Consider strategies, activities, problems, etc. in relation to teaching children.:
This can help my teaching in many ways. This project gave me practice in using online music writing software and transcription, which are both very useful skills as a music teacher. Additionally, through it I learned how to make an easy percussion line in Garage Band, and this would be very easy for a student to play and create on. Building on that idea, I felt so happy when I heard what I had arranged and created performed by my peers in a live music setting, and this really informs me of how students would feel if they heard their creations performed. This affirms the belief I have about how important it is to have the students create in a music class, and this gives me an idea of a process to use so I can make that happen.