Assignment 20: Teaching Music Through Participatory Culture in Contemporary Society

Drawing Connections:
One of the primary connections I made to the project based learning with convergence is the scaffolding that takes place, built in or not. In doing a project such as a remix, mash-up, arrangement, etc., there are requisite musical and often technological knowledge bases that students must know or be guided towards in order to achieve. For example, to create an arrangement of a song, students must know: the affordances and constraints of the instruments involved in the new version of the song (timbre, range, technical execution), how to execute aural skills (for melodic, harmonic, and rhythmic content), and how to express music beyond notation. Therefore several smaller projects or assignments could be planned and executed to scaffold student learning in hopes for setting them up for success in a larger scale project, like a full-on arrangement of a song, or whatever it may be. Engaging in musicking in non-traditional ways is another aspect in which project-based learning can connect to the approaches mentioned in the article. The students are engaging in music and applying skills in a manner not consistent with traditional band, choir, or orchestra, yet they are still learning about and engaging with all of these musical concepts that are taught in traditional music classes.

Project Proposition:

Generative Question: How are the dimensions of music able to express different styles of music?

Music Problem: Which are the main musical dimensions that you found constitute different styles?

(Target) Musical Concepts Engaged With: timbre, instrumentation, texture, and articulation

Project Idea: Have students assess musical dimensions of a song, and through repetitious active listening and aural and written stylistic research, create a cover of a song in another style. Example: My song “Jet Black Heart” is a pop punk song, but I’d try to do it in a big band style. This type of project engages the students in multiple dimensions of music, links to topics that they enjoy and are personally interested in, and provides an alternative manner for musical expression; all of which are covered in the article and project based learning.

Billboard Hot 100 Selection:

Rap and Place Project:

To continue such a project on rap and place, one could start having students experiment with beat production. Being able to produce an authentic background track that has a rappable form to it. Then, once the beat is formed, have students begin writing their own lyrics to a rap utilizing a different sense of place than their original rap. (Example: If their first rap was about Arizona in general, make it specific to their city of residence.) Then the students would have to submit some final product as a testament to their understanding of the content. That could take form in submission of: just the lyrics and just the beat, a recorded performance of the whole rap, or a live performance of the rap.

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