Sarah Perry                                                                                                   A&HM 4029

March 2, 2004                                                                                                Spring 2004


Elementary Lesson Plan


Software needed: Morton Subotnick¹s Making Music.  I tried this out at the NYPhilkids website and thought it would be a great thing to introduce in the classroom that the kids can take home and show to their parents thus making it not only an educational tool but a family activity.  It also never hurts to have a child be able to teach his parents something that he learned in school.



Objective:  The students will demonstrate the ability to represent musical sounds with symbols.  The students will create and notate their own original musical composition that demonstrates an understanding of melodic contour and musical line.  The students will demonstrate the ability to create the inverted and retrograde forms of their compositions. 


Purpose:  This lesson will help to set up the beginning stages of understanding musical notation and song form.  It can also be used to develop ear training and vocal range. 


Materials needed:  1. A slinky.  2. Markers or crayons.  3. Blank, unlined paper. 

4. Making Music CDRom by Morton Subotnick or access to website.  In website select ³composer¹s workshop.²   


Anticipatory set:  Vocal exploration.  Upon arrival the students will begin to explore their voices.  First the teacher models by singing an open vowel sound preferably in head voice.  Then the teacher will ask the students to make a siren or other sound with their voices.  Next the teacher will introduce the slinky and ³attach² everyone¹s voices to the slinky.  As the teacher expands or contracts the slinky the students are to make their voices do the same.  During the slinky activity the teacher should be modeling and changing her voice as directed by the movement of the slinky.  The students will then be asked to draw the sounds on a sheet of paper.  The teacher can first demonstrate by selecting one vocalization from the slinky exercise and draw it on a wipe board, chalk board, or paper for the students.  Once the students have completed the sound to symbol activity the teacher can ask the entire class to sing the melodies that have been notated and talk about how the melodic line goes up or down.   


Procedure:  After completion of the vocal exploration the teacher will take one of the compositions and turn the picture upside down and ask the children to sing it then tell them it is an inversion.  She will do the same to explain retrograde using one of the students¹ compositions.  Then the teacher will instruct the students that they will now compose their own song without singing it first by drawing a picture on the computer using the Making Music program.  The students will be instructed to draw their composition and to play it in each instrument offered to allow them to hear the same melody line played by different instruments.  The teacher will then demonstrate how to


S. Perry                                                                                      Elementary Lesson Plan

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Change the instruments and how to use the retrograde and inversion options by showing the students what happens when they click on either of the cues (people¹s heads in different positions). 


Demonstration of students¹ understanding:  The students will successfully sing a melody that has been written by another student making their voice change melodically with the highs and lows and contour of the line in the drawings.  The students should also be able to show or say that a melody can be turned upside down or played backwards or in reverse to change the line and successfully change the melodic contour of their voices accordingly.  The teacher will also see that the students can take their melodies composed on the computer and play the retrograde or inverted forms when directed.


Closure:  The teacher will ask the students what they liked about the vocal exploration and the computer program.  Questions to be asked can include:  When we sang everyone¹s compositions how did we know what to do with our voices?  How was the computer composition different from the vocal compositions you made?  What is retrograde?  What is inversion?  How did your voices have to change when we sang these different forms of your compositions? What happened to the melodic line when you turned your composition upside down on the computer?  How did the melody change when it went backwards?  Did you make your composition go fast or slow?  Did you choose different instruments?  How did the piano sound different from the trumpet?


Extensions:  Once the students have displayed an understanding of melodic contour you can have them sing two lines (with no specified pitch) to begin ideas of contrast, counterpoint or even fugue.  You can also take various rhythm instruments and ask the students to design a symbol to represent each sound or instrument and ask them to create a composition using the rhythm instruments.  Then they could even take their original melodies and add the symbols for the rhythm instruments as a second line as an accompaniment to their first compositions.  Have the kids play this ­ maybe half the class sings while the other half plays the rhythmic accompaniment.  After they have demonstrated an understanding of melodic contour you can also begin to introduce notes on the staff and show as the dots go up on the staff the notes get higher and as they go down they get lower.