Unit 8 Title
Composing

Unit Structure

  • Live Video Conferencing with an ACO musician (20-30 min)
  • Classroom lesson delivered by classroom teacher exploring Unit 8 Classroom Lesson on the website (approx. 45 min)
  • Art activity: compose (draw) a piece based on the Four Seasons (approx. 45 min)
  • Live Final Video Conference with an ACO musician (20-30 min)

Student Objectives
By the end of this unit students should

  • Understand how music can aurally represent words/concepts
  • Understand how pictures/symbols can visually represent words/concepts
  • Analyze poetry for content and meaning
  • Create a piece of music by drawing a picture

Classroom Lesson Strategies

  • On the Unit 8 Classroom Lesson page of the website, watch the video of the Four Seasons, pausing/pointing out/discussing where and how the text corresponds to the music. (If you have the time, watch the whole video (40 min.)  Otherwise, skip to the moments indicated in the timing list, when the music describes the words in the sonnet.
  • Do a close read of this Four Seasons Poem, or have your students write their own poem about the Four Seasons.) http://www.dltk-holidays.com/spring/poem/m-4seasons.htm

Classroom Art Activity
Compose a piece about the Four Seasons by drawing (using pictures/symbols developed in the key) that expresses the words and meanings of the poem.

Extra Step/Final Video Conference
Take pictures of the keys and compositions and send them by email to your ACO musician who will perform the compositions for the class at the final videoconference.

Materials Needed
For Videoconferencing:  none
For Classroom Lesson: Workbook optional
For Art Activity: Paper of any size, pens or pencils, colored pencils, markers or crayons, or paint

The subject of the students’ composition will be The Four Seasons.

To help the students compose their Four Seasons, I’ve found this poem. This will provide a structure for the composition. http://www.dltk-holidays.com/spring/poem/m-4seasons.htm  (Alternatively, the students can write their own poem about the Four Seasons and use that as their foundation.  If they write their own poem, make sure it includes general descriptions, sounds that one hears, emotions that one feels and activities that one does in that season).

Depending on your time constraints and preferences, you have several choices to organize the compositional process for your class.  I’m leaving these choices up to you, because I’ve found that different kinds of students have success in different situations, and you know best how your students will respond and in which situation they will most thrive.

  1. Each student can create his or her own individual composition or you can create a group composition as a class and make one giant mural.  (For individual compositions, each one needs its own key – for a group mural, there can be one key.)
  2. If you choose to do a group mural, you can either compose altogether as a class or separate the class into four groups and assign each group a season.
  3. If your students are creating individual compositions, and you feel that all four seasons are too much for one painting, have them choose just one of the seasons.

Essentially the students will be creating a drawing or painting that tells the story of the seasons. They should use the poem to guide their narrative. As they paint, they should be imagining in their minds’ ear how they would like this story to sound. The students should be reminded to use all of the techniques and concepts that they learned throughout the year: emotions, sound imitations, dynamics, articulation, shapes, tempo, etc… Encourage the students to connect and combine activities, emotions, sounds and techniques (for example, summer could include swimming with loud splashing and happy music). Also, be sure that it is clear how to read the painting (in what order do the events happen?)

When the painting and the key are complete, email it to your musician! They will practice and perform it for the last videoconference session.