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February 7th, 2009

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11:34 pm - Musical Form Lesson Plan Help!
Hello everyone!

I'm in the process of acquiring a B.ed degree and am currently enrolled in a Music Education course.  In this course we are supposed to give a short 30-40 minute presentation on musical form.  Our textbook spends a considerable time talking about phrase form, but I know there are also larger forms such as binary, ternary, song (AABA) and rondo forms that I'd like to cover.  My question to everyone here is, do you have any advice or lesson plans that I could look at in order to get an idea of how I could present/teach this to my university class?  Do you know of any interactive websites that I could use during the presentation, or that could help me formulate a lesson?  The
class has a very limited background, so it is important to provide them with activities (any suggestions??) so that they can learn some things thoroughly rather than everything superficially...if you know what I'm saying.

Please help!  :)

(6 comments | Leave a comment)


[User Picture]
Date:February 8th, 2009 04:28 am (UTC)
What age level is this geared towards? Are you simulating an elementary classroom or is it supposed to be at the collegiate level? If its elementary, I have a fun lesson plan that I've used several times.
[User Picture]
Date:February 8th, 2009 05:07 am (UTC)
We have the choice of either modeling an elementary classroom setting with a specific grade level of our choice, or we can teach the lesson to adults...I am still debating which option to go for! :P

If you could share your lesson plan with me, that'd be amazing!!! I am looking for inspiration since it'll be my first time doing this kind of presentation... :)
[User Picture]
Date:February 8th, 2009 02:22 pm (UTC)
I taught verse/chorus/bridge, but it can easily be changed into a letter form. (verses always change letters, pre chorus and chorus are always the same, bridge is only played one time and is totally different). Personally, I like to use the words verse/chorus/pre chorus/bridge to explain form because if the kids ever play in a band, thats the terminology they will use.

Anyways. I would tell them that the song goes verse chorus verse chorus bridge chorus and I want them to figure out which sections are always the same or different. I tell them that they are to make up their own moves, how ever the music makes them feel and we'll pick one representative for the verse. So I play Justin Timberlakes "My Love" (they went crazy! ohhhh i loove this song and stuff, it was cute) and we listen to the verse, I pause the music RIGHT before the pre chorus (i just lump the prechorus into the chorus for the younger kids, for the older kids, i keep it separate). When the verse stops, I have one person pick out their favorite dance by a classmate and they come to the front of the room and start our long line of form. They are the first verse. I start to play the chorus, the class makes up moves for the chorus. We stop, they pick out a person for the chorus. I remind them, the next section is the verse, figure out if its the same or different than the first verse. They say it's different, so we pick out a new dance for the second verse. I remind them that the next section is the chorus, they need to figure out if the chorus is the same as the first one or different. We listen and dance, it's the same, so we have someone come up and do the same dance as the chorus representative. We keep going through like that, after the second chorus, they can usually guess which sections are the same or different before listening. Which is the goal.

When its all done you will have a line of students, starting with the first verse, ending with the last chorus. We will go through the song again ONLY following the dance representatives. That really cements the ideas of which sections change and which are the same, they get so tired of dancing the chorus by the end, they dont forget which one is the same. haha.

This is actually the first lesson I did during student teaching! My co op teacher LOVED it and from then on let me do what I pleased. So I always thought this was a winning lesson. Hopefully it can help you out too. You can really change the song to anything, a favorite song of yours, a classic song, the latest hit that all the kids love, anything thats a solid, basic form.
[User Picture]
Date:February 8th, 2009 02:24 pm (UTC)

form is the easiest thing to teach, i think!

take a simple simple song like Hot Cross Buns, and figure out how many phrases and then which are alike/similar. Use shapes instead of letters at first. The reason Hot Cross Buns is the song EVERY 3rd graders learns first on the recorder is that the form is AABA, and kids need repetition to reach mastery.

looking to teach improvisation later? have them play the A sections as written, but make up a B section using only the same notes BAG and any rhythms they have learned.

another idea is to take a "classical" song and create contrasting movements for each section and have everyone dance/move around to it. some locomotor and some nonlocomotor. Some of the songs from the Nutcracker come to mind as well as Mozart's Rondo Alla Turc... but I'm sure you could use anything as everything has a form! :-)

Form is simply how the patterns go together. And patterns help us understand things easier. And we like easy, because it helps us to be successful.
[User Picture]
Date:February 9th, 2009 12:42 am (UTC)
We built a sandwich for rondo form... for elementary or even early middle school, make and cut out props for the sandwich (bread, lettuce, tomatoe, meat, cheese... etc.). Using them during the lesson makes it pretty interactive/gets the kids moving/keeps them actively engaged.
[User Picture]
Date:February 9th, 2009 05:20 pm (UTC)
I think it's very important for it to be based directly on the music. Using specific pieces, talk about these forms, as this is where the forms come from. It's very disengaging to talk about form for a while and then listen to music. Flip it around. Play Mozart's Theme and Variations on Twinkle Twinkle little star, THEN ask them what they heard. Then you can go more in depth and do more examples. Just a thought

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