The Challenge : Middle Schoolers have limited familiarity with classical music. The music, the vocabulary and the historical context are all unfamiliar. Time is limited . Most music classes only meet once or twice a week. How do you help students internalize and comprehend information about a composer’s life in this limited time?
The Process : Teacher shows a movie about a classical composer to give them a sense of the 19th century and some initial exposure to classical music within the context of a biographical overview. Teacher circulates a lists of composers and students choose a 1st, 2nd, and 3rd choice. Students come to library and are given an easy biography of their composer.
The Process : Sustained Silent Reading: 2 class periods Students read without taking notes . During the last 10 minutes of each period students pair up and share with each other orally what they can remember from what they read with books closed.
The Process : Reading and note-taking: 2 class periods Students use a worksheet to take notes in brief phrases. Students draw pictures to show notable incidents.
The Process : Searching Youtube for musical examples: 1 class period Students use earphones while searching Youtube for music by their composer. Use search term <animated musical graph> to find compositions with this feature.
The Process : Creating Blog entires: 1-2 class periods Create a list of "most interesting" facts. Add a hyper-link to a composition. If time allows, add an image of your composer.