Posted in 4th and 5th Grade, Composing, Instrument Activities, Ukulele

5th Grade Instrument Compositions

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Today the fifth graders created songs.  The directions were to use their ukulele in combination with any other instruments in the room to create and write down a song… and to have fun!!  The creativity happening with this activity was incredible.

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Posted in 4th and 5th Grade, Composing, Fourth Grade, Instrument Activities

4th Grade Composition Unit

Fourth grade students are working on a composing unit. Students begin by drafting a composition using a plain piece of paper folded into 16 small boxes. Each box represents one BEAT. If a note is worth four beats, that note must take up four boxes. Students are using xylophones and glockenspiels to work with partners to draft their compositions. A finished draft looks like this:

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Students label each note with a letter on the xylophone. The downward and upward arrows signify whether a note is a higher (smaller key) note or a lower (larger key) note. The notes A and B do not need arrows because each xylophone has only one A and one B!

When students are finished their drafts, they then transfer their composition onto real staff paper. The finished product looks like this:

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The final step in the process is to enter our compositions into a music writing website! We will be using the website http://www.noteflight.com to transform our compositions into masterpieces! Students have been encouraged to check out the website at home and create their own free account.  Students use a checklist to make sure they have finished all the steps…

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and the final, FINAL product looks like this:

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Below are some examples of student work!

Mrs. Morrison’s Class

morrison shea will bradelee the laser dance

morrison maggie and lily midnight dream

morrison emily and chiyu ostrich dance

 

Ms. Keeley’s Classkeeley joyful fields yuna abby matt m

Ms. Grattan’s Class

dreamcatcher caitlin autumn

a rainy day peter and ethan

what if it happened adam and brendan

patches lucas

aqua zone

 

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Posted in 4th and 5th Grade, Classical Music, Composing, Fourth Grade, Group Activities, Instrument Activities

Beethoven’s Motive: The Fifth Symphony

In fourth grade, we learned about the life of famous composer Ludwig van Beethoven.  We then listened to the beginning of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony and realized Beethoven used the same short rhythmic and melodic pattern throughout most of his piece.  Think (dum dum dum DUMMMMM!)   The pattern is , with a fermata (or hold) over the last eighth note in many cases.  We learned that this repeating pattern is called a motive.  We also noticed the first three eighth notes were usually the same pitch, and the last one usually went  down.  We listened to the first 25 or so seconds of the piece to see how many motives we could count: 14 in all!  Fourth graders then used xylophones to create their own motives.  When they were finished, they got to make their own composer biography, in which they described the motive they came up with.

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Listen to Ryan’s song using his motive here:

 

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Listen to Abby’s song using her motive here:

We all played our songs for each other (a motive isn’t song, their songs had to repeat the motive many times), and then watched this AWESOME graphical score of The Fifth Symphony.  I only intended to play the first minute or so, but they wanted to watch and listen to the entire 7 minutes 38 seconds!!!  See the cool graphical score we watched below.

Posted in 4th and 5th Grade, Composing, Fourth Grade, Instrument Activities

Fourth Graders at West are Composers!

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Fourth grade students are working on a composing unit.  Students begin by drafting a composition using a plain piece of paper folded into 16 small boxes.  Each box represents one BEAT.  If a note is worth four beats, that note must take up four boxes.  Students are using xylophones and glockenspiels to work with partners to draft their compositions.  A finished draft looks like this:

Matt V Composition Draft

Students label each note with a letter on the xylophone.  The downward and upward arrows signify whether a note is a higher (smaller key) note or a lower (larger key) note.  The notes A and B do not need arrows because each xylophone has only one A and one B!

When students are finished their drafts, they then transfer their composition onto real staff paper.  The finished product looks like this:

Matt V Composition

As you can see, we only filled up four measures for our first try as a group!  The next step will be to fill up eight measures.

The final step in the process is to enter our compositions into a music writing website!  We will be using the website www.noteflight.com to transform our compositions into masterpieces!  Students have been encouraged to check out the website at home and create their own free account.  The final, FINAL product looks like this:

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After we entered our composition, we were able to listen to it, it sounded awesome!  You can listen here:

We also could listen to the composition as it would sound played by other instruments, such as a trombone, a guitar, an oboe, or a violin.  Check out the Fourth Grade page of the blog soon to see additional examples of student work!