Monday, January 25, 2016

Templates for Composition Packets






 
Word document templates for typing up student compositions


My first-year orchestra students compose several short pieces throughout the year.  They hand write their compositions (see a few earlier posts for worksheets: Open strings, D-string notes, A-string notes), and then I type them up to make packets of everyone's pieces, by instrument.  Students are able to try out pieces that they and their classmates have composed, and they have tons of extra material to help reinforce their newest notes on their instrument.


Typing these up is definitely time consuming, but having a template to work from makes this process go a little more quickly.  From my template document in Word, I type in the composition's name and composer's name first.  Then, I type up the four-measure composition in a music notation program (I have a version of Finale).  When finished, I hit "print screen," paste the screen shot into Paint, highlight the composition to select it, and then copy/paste that into the Word document.  Maybe there's a way to do this with fewer steps involved, but I haven't found it yet.  I did find that in Finale I had to change the background color to white, otherwise the default off-white texture stood out compared to the rest of the Word document.  I also stay as zoomed in as I can in Finale to keep the screen shot pretty sharp.

Here are Word documents for the first three compositions of the year.  I include a key of the notes on the staff with letter names and finger numbers for reference at the top of the page.  For cellos and basses, I tend to double dip and include their pieces for both packets, adjusting octaves as needed, just because there are usually fewer students who play these instruments and I want them to have a decent number of compositions to play. 


From these, feel free to change fonts, headings, etc. to meet your needs, but I hope they save you a bit of time or at least give you a starting point for making your own packets of student compositions!


Monday, January 18, 2016

Birthday Bulletin Board



Calendar of musicians' birthdays for bulletin board



There's this great  set of downloadable monthly calendars with birthdays of famous composers and musicians that Music K-8 makes available for music teachers each year.  Quite a range of musicians and composers is included--from classical to folk to pop with conductors, singers, classical instrumentalists, composers...you get the idea.

Kids can see if they share a birthday with a musician on the calendar, and I've printed pictures to highlight a couple birthdays for each month.  I rotate which months are posted, so all the months are up on the bulletin board at some point.  Hopefully students will recognize some familiar names, and they'll make a connection with the visual.  Seeing these musicians as actual people with actual birthdays helps to make them more than just a name.


Calendar of musicians' birthdays for bulletin board



Calendar of musicians' birthdays for bulletin board



Calendar of musicians' birthdays for bulletin board



Calendar of musicians' birthdays for bulletin board

Monday, January 11, 2016

Practice Tips Bulletin Board



Practice tips for beginning orchestra students


Here is a list of practice tips.  The ones on the left are geared toward first-year players, and the ones on the right I have used with my second-year students.  The first couple of beginning practice tips go up on the board early in the year; the bowing related ones come up when we start to combine the left hand notes with the bow.  These give students a logical set of steps to take when presented with music that uses the bow and stopped notes.  It is easy to forget how overwhelming this can be for a beginning string player, and these steps encourage students to break the music down into more manageable bits before putting it all together.


Practice tips for beginning orchestra students


Monday, January 4, 2016

Magnets



musical symbols magnets


You can make a lot of handy classroom tools with a laminator and magnets :)

The clefs and notes come from a package of musical symbols, and I made the instrument labels with a Cricut cutting machine.  These are easy to see from even the back of the room (though my color choices were maybe not contrasting enough), and having these movable notes saves on time in class and dry-erase marker usage.  

I use these magnets most often when introducing new notes to my students.  For practice, I'll have a student come up and point to different notes and their classmates will play what they see, performing this improvised creation.  Then, if I have a small group of, say, violas followed by a cello or violin group, it's easy to move the notes up or down on the staff as needed as the kids are coming in and unpacking versus erasing the marker and drawing new notes.  One of my schools has a white board with the staff lines built in to the board, which is great for a music classroom.  For my other school, I bought a sheet that goes right over part of the white board and has three staves on it.  


musical symbols magnets