Student Exercise: Making Music Matter

This is a student exercise designed to encourage sharing to find connections and tensions between different kinds of music that students have produced an expressive product about.

It is a structured protocol, which means that although there are time recommendations, these can and should be adapted to your own circumstances.

  • Pair/Doubles Exercise: Put 2 projects in conversation (can be group or individual projects
  • It is designed to take about 10-15 minutes for each person, and be repeated for both participants.
  • These steps should be followed for each project and are followed by a chance to connect and reflect for about 20-30 minutes
  1. Put the project where everyone can see it.
  2. Choose a recorder to make lists about each of the works where everyone can see (Chart Paper? Projection? Whiteboard?)
  3. Start with looking (3 minutes).  This means you are describing the aspects of what you see, not interpreting meanings.  Here are some helpful filters
    1. Name the patterns you see or hear
    2. Talk about the colors and shapes on the picture plane, or how the harmony feels
    3. Point out textures or kinds of sound (is it a crayon? is it a saxophone?)
  4. Then connect (5 minutes).  This means you are describing connections between the formal parts of the image like how shapes and colors interact with patterns
    1. Do the patterns you see or hear seem related?
    2. Are the colors or harmonies related to the other parts of the work?
    3. Overall what do you notice
  5. Finally begin to interpret (8 minutes). This means you can talk about how you are making meaning out of the work.
    1. Think about how it feels.
    2. Is it telling a story? What makes you say that?
    3. Do you think it is a particular genre? Does it look or sound like anything else?

Once you have done both projects look at your lists everyone who is participating should individually identify three differences and three similarities.  (2-4 minutes)

  1. Everyone names one Difference and the recorder color-codes them with arrows and circles (1-2 minutes)
  2. Everyone names one Similarity and the recorder color codes them with boxes (1-2 minutes)
  3. Take time (2-4 minutes) for everyone to think or write about what they think about these similarities and differences.
  4. Open the floor to discussion (10-15 minutes)

After the discussion give everyone time to think, write, draw, or make music for a few minutes.

(Inspired by Making Thinking Visible, specifically and Think, Pair, Share)

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