"Experiences No. 2" The music of john cage in 4 lessons

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Lesson Plans for developing the Cage song "Experiences No. 2"

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"Experiences No. 2" The music of john cage in 4 lessons

  1. 1. The Vocal Music of John Cage 4 Lessons for Grade 9 Focus: Taking Action By Peter Bodnarchuk
  2. 2. Brainstorming List: 1. Who was John Cage? 2. What type of vocal music did he compose? 3. Using the two songs The Wonderful Widow of Eighteen Springs and Experiences No. 2 as the means of demonstrating Cage’s particular style of vocal composition. 4. Have the class sing the Experiences No. 2 in differing sections placed in different parts of the room, furthering the spatial effect of the work. 5. Make use of the element of chance. This is a concept that Cage used to create his compositions.Planning Web and List of Resources:
  3. 3. Lesson 1 of 4Internet accessible computer and corresponding projectorSMART BoardPower Point and ProjectorCD or Flash drive containing PowerPoint presentation for Lesson 1Assignment #1 (as part of PowerPoint presentation)Lesson 2 of 4Recording of Experiences No. 2 and device appropriate for playbackPowerPoint and ProjectorSMART BoardCD or Flash drive containing PowerPoint for lesson 2Internet accessible computer and corresponding projectorHandout of Vocal Sheet for Experiences No. 2Lesson 3 of 4Internet accessible computer and corresponding projectorRecording of Experiences No. 2 and device appropriate for playbackHighlighters (if students require them)Handouts (be sure to have extra copies of the musical score, students forget things) Lesson 4 of 4Recording of Experiences No. 2 and device appropriate for playbackInternet available computer and projectorAudio/visual recording device that can be connected to the internet and the projected to thescreen (for playback of the student’s performance)Handouts (students must bring their highlighted versions)Additional Handouts of Vocal Score for Experiences No. 2 (just in case)Handout containing Assignment for lesson 4 & Handout of rubric for lesson 4
  4. 4. Introduction: Composers such as John Cage, stretched our concepts and beliefs about music. Cage inparticular challenged the audience with works such as 4’ 33’’. Here the performer makes nosound, rather, he or she walks onto the stage and (other than adjusting the piano) remains stillthroughout the entire work. In this case the audience becomes the music. It is the sounds theycreate within the silent framework that are the composition. This group of 4 lessons is intended for my grade 9 students. The conceptual focus of thispackage is Taking Action. I have chosen The Vocal Music of John Cage as my overall inquiryquestion to be based upon four sub-inquiry questions. Herein my students will learn what Cage’s style of music entails. This knowledge will inturn be utilized for the purposes of performing (in-class) Experiences No. 2. This will bearranged in a pseudo antiphonal setting so as to further enhance the musical purposes behind thiswork. The ultimate intention will be to perform this work and place it onto www.youtube.comfor the purposes of showcasing a choral version of this composition. The result will be a fun,rewarding, educational experience for all involved.Please note: regular class attendance is a must for this to work. The goal of these four lessons isto perform Experiences No. 2.
  5. 5. Music Education Learning Plan – Lesson 1 of 4Lesson Time Required: 45 minutesRequired Resources and Materials:Internet accessible computer and corresponding projectorSMART BoardPower Point and ProjectorCD or Flash drive containing PowerPoint presentation for Lesson 1Assignment #1 (as part of PowerPoint presentation)Grade Level & Conceptual Focus: Gr. 9: Taking ActionKey Inquiry Question: Who was John Cage and what was his musical philosophy?Arts Education Components Addressed:Cultural/Historical, Critical/Responsive, Creative/ProductiveProposed Music Learning Outcomes & Indicators: 1. CH9.3 Investigate diversity of artistic ideas, styles, and media in contemporary arts expressions. Students will: a. Demonstrate an awareness of key historical developments in relation to contemporary arts expressions (i.e., the term contemporary typically includes arts expressions of the late 20th and 21st centuries). b. Investigate how function and purpose influence artistic decision making. 2. CR9.1 Respond to professional dance, drama, music, and visual art works through individual or collaborative inquiry and the creation of own arts expressions. Students will: a. Use individual or collaborative inquiry to develop questions and learn about a selected art expression. 3. CP9.8 Combine the elements of music and principles of composition to express unified musical ideas.
  6. 6. a. Investigate ways that beat, accent, and metre can be used to create a specific “feel” in music. Investigate ways that tempo, rhythm, melody, harmonic structure, or tonality can be used to express an idea or emotional quality in music. b. Demonstrate understanding of how music elements and composition principles create form and structure in music.Planned Learning Activities:This lesson will be comprised of: 1) A presentation of the composer John Cage and brief, but in-depth look into his life and compositional style and thoughts. Specific focus will be on his use of silence, or the space between pitches. Listen (see: “about silence” below) to Cage’s own words regarding the concept of silence. 2) Listening to musical works Imaginary Landscapes, 4’33”, and The Wonderful Widow of Eighteen Springs (see website links below). 3) Each student will be required to write (a maximum of one page) on their thoughts regarding Cage’s musical philosophy. This must also include their own feelings about the music itself.Step-by-step Procedure: 1. The teacher will present an overview of the process of the four lessons. a. Within the next 4 lessons we will learn: 1) Who was John Cage and what was his musical philosophy, 2) Learn to sing Experiences No. 2 as large ensemble as preparation for our pseudo-antiphonal performance, 3) How can we use the element of chance to rehearse (and eventually perform) Experiences No. 2, 4) Review of Cage’s musical philosophy and perform Experiences No. 2. This final lesson will include an in-class/take home essay. 2. The teacher will present John Cage and his musical philosophy. Teacher will note that Cage favoured the element of chance and utilized this concept to create his music. a. Biography and Musical philosophy of John Cage http://www.oxfordmusiconline.com.libproxy.uregina.ca:2048/subscriber/article/grove /music/49908?q=Cage%2C+John&search=quick&pos=1&_start=1#firsthit b. John Cage “About Silence” http://www.youtube.com/watch? v=pcHnL7aS64Y&feature=related c. Imaginary Landscapes No. 4 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A0BNsBlzQII
  7. 7. d. 4’ 33” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gN2zcLBr_VM&feature=related e. The Wonderful Widow of Eighteen Springs http://www.youtube.com/watch? v=8MaUVTfHgF0 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wy2SNbm5aSY&feature=related3. Teacher will present Assignment #1. This is a short, (maximum single page) in-class essay asking each student to present his or her own thoughts regarding Cage’s musical philosophy. This must also include their own feelings about the music itself.
  8. 8. Assignment for Lesson 1* In our class today we have learned about the life and musical philosophy of the composerJohn Cage. You are now asked to write (to a maximum of one page) your thoughts about JohnCage, his music, and his musical philosophy. Make this assignment personal. It is not so much about being right or wrong but tellingme your thoughts and describing the work in your own words. This assignment is not a graded paper but will considered as part of your overall classparticipation assessment.* This would be presented as the final power point slide.
  9. 9. Music Education Learning Plan – Lesson 2 of 4Lesson Time Required: 45 minutesRequired Resources and Materials:Recording of Experiences No. 2 and device appropriate for playbackPowerPoint and ProjectorSMART BoardCD or Flash drive containing PowerPoint for lesson 2Internet accessible computer and corresponding projectorHandout of Vocal Sheet for Experiences No. 2Grade Level & Conceptual Focus: Gr. 9: Taking ActionKey Inquiry Question: How can we learn to sing Cage’s vocal work Experiences No. 2 as anvocal ensemble?Arts Education Components Addressed:Cultural/Historical, Critical/Responsive, Creative/ProductiveProposed Music Learning Outcomes & Indicators: 1. CR9.1 Respond to professional dance, drama, music, and visual art works through individual or collaborative inquiry and the creation of own arts expressions. Students will: a. Use individual or collaborative inquiry to develop questions and learn about a selected art expression. b. Create own work in response to a selected professional arts expression, and describe how the new work is inspired or influenced by the original. 2. CH9.3 Investigate diversity of artistic ideas, styles, and media in contemporary arts expressions. Students will: a. Demonstrate an awareness of key historical developments in relation to contemporary arts expressions (i.e., the term contemporary typically includes arts expressions of the late 20th and 21st centuries).
  10. 10. b. Extend knowledge of artistic styles across a range of cultural contexts. c. Investigate how function and purpose influence artistic decision making. 3. CH9.4 Create interdisciplinary arts expressions individually or through collaboration with peers, and examine the work of artists who create interdisciplinary expressions (e.g., sound and poetry, performance art, audio visual installations). Students will: a. Examine a variety of new and non-traditional art forms that integrate disciplines. b. Investigate connections that exist among the arts, and incorporate more than one art form into own work or collaborative project. 4. CP 9.7 Use voice, instruments, and technologies to express musical ideas. Students will: a. Experiment with the voice and instruments by creating and imitating sounds. 5. CP9.8 Combine the elements of music and principles of composition to express unified musical ideas. Students will: a. Investigate ways that beat, accent, and metre can be used to create a specific “feel” in music. b. Investigate ways that tempo, rhythm, melody, harmonic structure, or tonality can be used to express an idea or emotional quality in music. c. Demonstrate understanding of how music elements and composition principles create form and structure in music. 6. CP9.9 Compose and perform sound compositions to express perspectives and raise awareness about a topic of concern to youth. Students will: a. Generate musical ideas from both internal and external sources, developing these ideas to achieve meaning and expression.Planned Learning Activities: 1. Students will learn to sing Cage’s vocal work Experiences No. 2. 2. Students will learn to sing as a group while being conducted by the teacher.
  11. 11. 3. Students will learn what a pseudo antiphonal choir performed work sounds like.Step-by-step Procedure: 1. Teacher will revisit Cage’s philosophy regarding music, specifically his concepts of silence and chance in music, presented as PowerPoint presentation. 2. Teacher will handout vocal sheet for Cage’s Experiences No. 2. 3. Teacher will play the recording of Experiences No. 2. 4. Teacher will ask the students what elements of Cage’s music they hear in the composition. 5. Teacher will replay the song once again. 6. Teacher will teach the song stanza by stanza and humming part by humming part, having the entire class repeat it as they go along. 7. Once the class is able to roughly perform this song, divide the class up via numbers 1-5 (depending on class size). 8. Now ask the students to each find a spot in the room they feel comfortable, sitting or standing, so long as they are to see the teacher. 9. The class will once again perform this song but will only sing when the teacher makes a hand gesture representing your assigned number. 10. Repeat the song in this manner once again. 11. Have the class return to their seats and discuss what they heard and felt. What were the differences between singing it as on entire group and dividing the song into parts? How did the elements of space and silence affect our performance of this work? Music Education Learning Plan – Lesson 3 of 4
  12. 12. Lesson Time Required: 45 minutesRequired Resources and Materials:Internet accessible computer and corresponding projectorRecording of Experiences No. 2 and device appropriate for playbackHighlighters (if students require them)Handouts (be sure to have extra copies of the musical score, students forget things) Grade Level & Conceptual Focus: Gr. 9: Taking ActionKey Inquiry Question: How can we use the element of chance to rehearse (and eventuallyperform) Experiences No. 2?Arts Education Components Addressed:Cultural/Historical, Critical/Responsive, Creative/ProductiveProposed Music Learning Outcomes & Indicators: 1. CR9.1 Respond to professional dance, drama, music, and visual art works through individual or collaborative inquiry and the creation of own arts expressions. Students will: a. Use individual or collaborative inquiry to develop questions and learn about a selected art expression. b. Create own work in response to a selected professional arts expression, and describe how the new work is inspired or influenced by the original. 2. CH9.3 Investigate diversity of artistic ideas, styles, and media in contemporary arts expressions. Students will: a. Demonstrate an awareness of key historical developments in relation to contemporary arts expressions (i.e., the term contemporary typically includes arts expressions of the late 20th and 21st centuries). b. Extend knowledge of artistic styles across a range of cultural contexts. c. Investigate how function and purpose influence artistic decision making. 3. CP 9.7 Use voice, instruments, and technologies to express musical ideas.
  13. 13. Students will: a. Experiment with the voice and instruments by creating and imitating sounds. 4. CP9.8 Combine the elements of music and principles of composition to express unified musical ideas. Students will: a. Demonstrate understanding of how music elements and composition principles create form and structure in music. 5. CP9.9 Compose and perform sound compositions to express perspectives and raise awareness about a topic of concern to youth. Students will: a. Generate musical ideas from both internal and external sources, developing these ideas to achieve meaning and expression.Planned Learning Activities: 1. Students will consider the element of “chance” and apply it to the performance of Experiences No. 2. 2. Students will consider how the element of “chance” applies to their own interaction with one another and the environment that surrounds them.Step-by-step Procedure: 1. Ask students how they felt about the performance last class. What are their thoughts? 2. Play the recording of Experiences No. 2 once again. 3. Explain how Cage would use the element of “chance” to create his compositions. For example, he might throw all the papers down; however the performers pick them up would be the order in which they were performed. Use: http://www.oxfordmusiconline.com.libproxy.uregina.ca:2048/subscriber/article/grove/mu sic/49908?q=Cage%2C+John&search=quick&pos=1&_start=1#S49908.4 if necessary for background information regarding this subject. 4. Ask students to take out their handouts for Experiences No. 2 and a highlighter. Provide highlighters if needed. 5. Students will now be asked to highlight any words or phrases or humming parts that they wish to perform.
  14. 14. 6. Once completed the teacher will pick up all the papers.7. The teacher will then shuffle them and hand them back to the students.8. The students will then be asked to stand in a spot where they feel comfortable and can still see the teacher.9. Students will perform the composition.10. The teacher will pick up the scores from the students, shuffle them once again and hand them out.11. Students will once again perform the composition.12. Repeat steps 10 and 11.13. Students will be asked to return to their seats and consider how “chance” has affected their performance. What has occurred?14. Teacher ask them to consider how chance affects their own lives and their interactions with one another and the environment. Next class will involve a recorded performance of this work followed by an in-class/take home essay regarding how “chance” affects us as a society. Music Education Learning Plan – Lesson 4 of 4
  15. 15. Lesson Time Required: 45 minutesRequired Resources and Materials:Recording of Experiences No. 2 and device appropriate for playbackInternet available computer and projectorAudio/visual recording device that can be connected to the internet and the projected to thescreen (for playback of the student’s performance)Handouts (students must bring their highlighted versions)Additional Handouts of Vocal Score for Experiences No. 2 (just in case)Handout containing Assignment for lesson 4Handout of rubric for lesson 4Grade Level & Conceptual Focus: Gr. 9: Taking ActionKey Inquiry Question: How does (or does it?) this element of “chance” apply to our interactionwith one another?Arts Education Components Addressed:Cultural/Historical, Critical/Responsive, Creative/ProductiveProposed Music Learning Outcomes & Indicators: 1. CR9.1 Respond to professional dance, drama, music, and visual art works through individual or collaborative inquiry and the creation of own arts expressions. Students will: a. Use individual or collaborative inquiry to develop questions and learn about a selected art expression. b. Create own work in response to a selected professional arts expression, and describe how the new work is inspired or influenced by the original. 2. CH9.3 Investigate diversity of artistic ideas, styles, and media in contemporary arts expressions. Students will:
  16. 16. a. Demonstrate an awareness of key historical developments in relation to contemporary arts expressions (i.e., the term contemporary typically includes arts expressions of the late 20th and 21st centuries). b. Extend knowledge of artistic styles across a range of cultural contexts. c. Investigate how function and purpose influence artistic decision making. 3. CH9.4 Create interdisciplinary arts expressions individually or through collaboration with peers, and examine the work of artists who create interdisciplinary expressions (e.g., sound and poetry, performance art, audio visual installations). Students will: a. Examine a variety of new and non-traditional art forms that integrate disciplines. b. Investigate connections that exist among the arts, and incorporate more than one art form into own work or collaborative project. 4. CP 9.7 Use voice, instruments, and technologies to express musical ideas. Students will: a. Experiment with the voice and instruments by creating and imitating sounds. 5. CP9.8 Combine the elements of music and principles of composition to express unified musical ideas. Students will: a. Demonstrate understanding of how music elements and composition principles create form and structure in music. 6. CP9.9 Compose and perform sound compositions to express perspectives and raise awareness about a topic of concern to youth. Students will: a. Generate musical ideas from both internal and external sources, developing these ideas to achieve meaning and expression.Planned Learning Activities: 1. Students will give a final performance of their “chance” versions of Experiences No. 2. This will be recorded.
  17. 17. 2. Students will watch the recording of their performances and be encouraged to comment on them. 3. Students will write an in-class/take home essay regarding their opinions about how the element of “chance” may affect themselves and their environment. This will also include reflecting on how they might better interact with one another knowing that events happen to each of us that are beyond our control.Step-by-step Procedure: 1. Tell students that we will once again be performing Experiences No. 2. 2. Ask the students to take out their highlighted handouts. 3. Play the recording of Experiences No. 2. 4. Ask the students to once again find a spot where they feel comfortable. 5. Perform the work (recording it). 6. The teacher will now collect the handouts, shuffle them and hand them back to the students. 7. Perform the work once again (recording it). 8. Repeat steps 6 & 7. 9. Have the class return to their seats and watch the performances. 10. Ask the students to comment on the three performances. What did they see? How did they differ from one another? How did the students feel? 11. Handout the final assignment and corresponding rubric. An in-class/take home essay. 12. Return assignment from lesson 1 to the students.
  18. 18. Assignment for Lesson 4 You have now experienced the music and musical philosophies of John Cage. What haveyou learnt about the element of chance as it applies to music? What have you learned about theelement of chance as it applies to your life and the lives of those around you? Consider how youmight better interact with one another knowing that events happen to each of us that are beyondour control. Please reflect on this in a short three page essay.
  19. 19. 4 Lessons on The Vocal Music of John Cage by Peter Bodnarchuk Composers such as John Cage, stretched our concepts and beliefs about music. Cage in particularchallenged the audience with works such as 4’ 33’’. Here the performer makes no sound, rather, he or she walksonto the stage and (other than adjusting the piano) remains still throughout the entire work. In this case the audiencebecomes the music, it is the sounds they create within the silent framework that are the composition. This group of 4 lessons is intended for my grade 9 students. The conceptual focus of this package is TakingAction. I have chosen The Vocal Music of John Cage as my overall inquiry question to be based upon four sub-inquiry questions. Herein my students will learn what Cage’s style of music entails. This knowledge will in turn be utilizedfor the purposes of performing (in-class) Experiences No. 2. This will be arranged in a pseudo antiphonal setting soas to further enhance the musical purposes behind this work. The ultimate intention will be to perform this work andplace it onto www.youtube.com for the purposes of showcasing a choral version of this composition. The result willbe a fun, rewarding, educational experience for all involved.Lesson #1: Who was John Cage and what was his musical philosophy?Biography and Musical philosophy of John Cagehttp://www.oxfordmusiconline.com.libproxy.uregina.ca:2048/subscriber/article/grove/music/49908?q=Cage%2C+John&search=quick&pos=1&_start=1#firsthitJohn Cage “About Silence” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pcHnL7aS64Y&feature=relatedImaginary Landscapes No. 4 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A0BNsBlzQII4’ 33” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gN2zcLBr_VM&feature=relatedThe Wonderful Widow of Eighteen Springs http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8MaUVTfHgF0 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wy2SNbm5aSY&feature=relatedLesson #2: How can we learn to sing Cage’s vocal work Experiences No. 2 as an vocalensemble?Recording of Cage’s Experiences No. 2Lesson #3: How can we use the element of chance to rehearse (and eventually perform)Experiences No. 2?Highlighting words in the score, then exchanging these scores with one another, then performing.Concept of “Chance”http://www.oxfordmusiconline.com.libproxy.uregina.ca:2048/subscriber/article/grove/music/49908?q=Cage%2C+John&search=quick&pos=1&_start=1#S49908.4Lesson #4: How does (or does it?) this element of “chance” apply to our interaction with oneanother?Final performance (3 versions using “chance”) all recorded followed by an in-class discussion.Assigned essay on how the element of chance can affect you, your environment, and those around you.

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