One of my pet peeves is how disconnected the music curriculum can seem to be from the music that our students actually LIKE! I created this assignment as a way for students to apply the concepts we learn in class to their own music that they listen to on their own time. My favorite part is having the students bring in their selections and spending an entire class listening and discussing how the samples reflect the musical elements we are studying.
This is so much more than a one-time assignment because it can be re-used several times for different grade levels and units of study by changing the musical element they are looking for. I assign these to each of my classes several times throughout the year. Here are just a few examples:
• Features a strong beat in 4/4 time. (3/4, 2/4, 6/8, etc)
• A repeating melody.
• A syncopated rhythm.
To use, simply add the specific musical element you would like to look for, write it between the horizontal bars on the first page, photocopy & hand out!
There are a few side benefits of this assignment. First, it forces students to think more critically about the music they listen to (and read the liner notes!) I have had students who were very disillusioned to discover that their favorite pop star doesn’t actually write their own songs. Second, it provides the opening for a discussion on multiculturalism and tolerance. The music that a person chooses to listen to is a very personal one, and everyone needs to feel safe sharing that music with the class. We always start with a reminder that it is okay not to like a person’s musical selection, but it is not okay to make negative comments.
This file includes the assignment hand-out and the marking scheme is located on the same sheet.
This product is also found in the Jr-Int Music Classroom Startup Bundle