Second Grade Compositions: Step 4

Composition with tempo and dynamics added

Composition with tempo and dynamics added

My second graders have completed the final steps in writing their compositions.  After choosing and writing rhythms and pitches, they added expression markings to their pieces.  Each chose andante, moderato, or allegro as a tempo (some more than one).  They also added dynamic markings, using at least forte and piano, although some who take piano lessons added mezzo piano, mezzo forte, crescendos, and diminuendos. Continue reading

Second Grade Compositions: Step 3

BEFORE:  Rhythm composition with solfege pitches

BEFORE: Rhythm composition with solfege pitches

AFTER:  Rhythms and solfege pitches translated into standard music notation

AFTER: Rhythms and solfege pitches translated into standard music notation

My second grade students have completed the third step in their composition process–translating their rhythms and pitches into standard music notation. They began by writing 16 beat rhythm compositions, using quarter notes, pairs of eighth notes, and quarter rests. Then they added solfege pitches of a pentatoic scale (do, re, mi, so, la) to their rhythms. Now, they’ve used their solfege pitches to place their rhythms on a staff.

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Second Grade Compositions: Step 2

Composition-Solfege

My second graders have continued their work on their four measure compositions. Since composing the rhythm of their pieces (see Second Grade Compositions: Step 1 for more details on that), they have been learning about pitch by studying the solfege scale. They’ve become quite proficient in labeling the solfege syllables of a song written in standard music notation, and then being able to sing the tune accurately without hearing it first. I was considerably older than second grade before I could do that! This new knowledge was applied to their compositions last week.

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I’m on a Podcast!

composer-quest-podcast-470I was recently interviewed on the podcast Composer Quest about teaching composition to my students, my perspective on composition as a performer, and my ethnomusicology research.  You can listen to it at the link below.

Composer Quest Ep. 10: Teaching Kids to Compose with Maia Hamann

Please check out Charlie’s other great Composer Quest episodes, and leave him a review on iTunes!

Second Grade Compositions: Step 1

If only all of the papers I have to correct provided such an ego boost!

If only all of the papers I have to correct provided such an ego boost!

My second graders are composers! They’ve just completed the first step in a process that will result in each student having created an original piece of music, written in standard music notation. So far, they’ve exceeded my expectations (as they often do), and they seem to really enjoy the work.

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