I advocate an approach to learning music that incorporates listening, playing, creating and using technology to record / notate.
Here is a sample of a beginner lesson using tuned percussion:
- Begin with having the pupils play a C major scale and arpeggio – explain the concept of steps and leaps.
- Demonstrate a simple four note pattern using ascending steps: CDEF, ask the pupils to repeat this several times until they are comfortable
- Then ‘take the pattern for a walk’, by playing it as a sequence: CDEF, DEFG, EFGA etc.
- Repeat steps 2 & 3 with the Frere Jacques pattern – CDEC.
- Experiment with having the pupils play ascending and descending sequences and using steps or leaps for the starting notes of each repetition.
- Ask the students to spend 2-3 minutes inventing their own pattern and deciding on how to sequence it – ascending or descending, by steps or leaps.
- Ask them to teach their pattern to a peer and for their peer to say what they like / don’t like, find difficult / easy.
- The teacher can listen into the pairs to check the pupils are actually playing what they meant to, and make helpful suggestions if required.
- The patterns can be combined to make a short melodic phrase.
- Demonstrate examples of famous melodic seqences, such as Bach’s Toaccata in D minor.
- After adapting or revising their patterns, the pupils can either record their patterns (perhaps on their phones) or write down the simple instructions, e.g. Note 1, up a step, up a step, down a leap, or, if they feel able to, write them on manuscript.
This links in with Bloom’s (revised) taxonomy of learning.