Saturday, 2 August 2014

John Cage Inspired Composition Lesson!

In the spring, one of the amazing teachers at our school organized a whole school Jackson Pollock inspired painting! Every adult and child in our building took part by splashing, squirting, flicking, throwing, etc. Community members were involved and even fire fighters from our neighbourhood participated! It was so much fun and a great experience for our students.

Ta-da! The painting is now hanging in our school's main hallway and will be featured at the Winnipeg Art Gallery in the fall! Woot woot!

In celebration of the Pollock hype in our school and the focus on mid 20th century visual art, I decided to focus on a 20th century composer with my grade 6 classes in Music. We discussed the similarities between Jackson Pollock and John Cage's forms of creative expression and how they both were very innovative during that time.

We discussed aleatoric music and how during his composition process John Cage left many choices to chance.

Students created their own John Cage inspired chance compositions for recorder using a die. We did this outside since it was FINALLY warm by June. Students were able to try their compositions out without the chaos of 30 recorders playing in one room!



I created two legends and shared them with the students. Each number on the die corresponded with a four beat rhythm pattern. Each number rolled corresponded with a note name. First, students needed to compose the rhythm of their piece. Once they wrote out their rhythms, students switched to rolling the die to figure out their melody. 



Once they finished, students were required to practice their composition and then share it with me!

Find the composition page HERE. It's nothing fancy, but you can make it your own and insert rhythms and notes of your choice.

This was a great final composition project that was simple and able to get my kiddos outside in the sun while still creating music!

1 comment:

  1. Thank you so much for this! I am a music education major at Shenandoah Conservatory in Winchester, VA and for my Elementary Methods class I am making a Unit Plan on aleatoric music and this concept was just what I needed to fulfill my composing requirement!

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