Magazine article The Canadian Music Educator

Using Basic Contrasts

Magazine article The Canadian Music Educator

Using Basic Contrasts

Article excerpt

Put on board (or in big letters up on your wall):

Ways to make use of these:

1 As a class starter. Instead of asking students to be quiet in the many ways we as music teachers have attempted, try pointing at the above spectrums (students will play their own version of what is pointed to) and then make a "cutoff" gesture. I've found this a very positive and focusing way to begin. After the first few classes ask a student to start class by pointing at these spectrums (have a special pointing stick that you can just pass to one of them).

2 Spontaneous conduction of music (students can create and conduct).

3 Middle of the class focus or "shake-up" of a difficult rehearsal.

4 Compositional tools. These are the things that composers use to draw us into their compositions; going quickly between them can be an exciting contrast. (You can add others that recall traditions like Tension-Release, Ugly-Pretty, and my favourite, Music-Noise.)

Using these spectrums allows students to still have their own definitions of fast, long, soft, or low and also provides a great opportunity for student conduction or composition. …

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