High School Lesson Plan
Students will be able to identify the characteristics of minimal music, itıs relationship to minimalism in art, realize the historical time period and what pop music was concurrent, acquaint themselves with several minimal composers, and have the criteria to compose minimal music.
This unit will teach students where minimalism fits in the progression of art and popular music during the 20th century, and will add another dimension to their understanding of composition.
Musical Instruments (as called for by students)
Students will walk into the classroom while Steve Reichıs Clapping Music is playing in the background. Students will sit at their desks and notice on the screen in the front of the room a projection of a picture of Robert Smithsonıs sculpture Terminal.
After the music is finished, students will be given about five minutes to write their impressions of both, and if they see any connections between the two. Then we will take another five to ten minutes to discuss studentıs observations. Next, I will go through my powerpoint presentation on minimalism, first discussing its name derivation from the visual arts and identifying the characteristics of minimal art and music, then moving to its time period and composers of this genre. Furthermore, I will play some popular music from the late 60ıs and 70ıs to show the time relationship between the advent of minimal music and what was happing in popular culture. After this, I will show students the specific structure and compositional techniques that Reich used in Clapping Music. Then, I will give students a play-by-play set of instructions to compose their own version of Clapping Music, and have them notate their works after teaching them to use percussion notation on Sibelius.
Check for Student Understanding
Once the students have tried their hand at minimal music composition, I will assign them a project to check that they understand what minimal music is. They will have to come up with their own minimal composition, with ³minimal² guidelines (such as time limit/requirement and due date). They will submit an outline of their basic idea so I can check to make sure that there is a concept (and not just a sound repeated ad infinitum), and then submit a final composition using the Sibelius notation software. Then we will have a ³concert,² where other students learn the parts of their classmateıs compositions. This will be recorded using Garage Band, and a compilation CD will be made and distributed to the students at the end of the semester.
I will ask the students summarizing questions such as ³Who were some popular artist that were famous at the advent of minimal music?², ³What are some specific features that characterize minimal music?² and ³Who were/are some minimal composers?²
If possible, I would want to take the students to see a concert of minimal music. This would expose them to additional styles and forms of minimalism, as well as show them the added effects it has when experienced live.