Now that introductions have been made and the schedules set….for the most part :-), it is time to think about the meat of the curriculum. What kinds of activities will ensure an enriching music literacy experience for our students? The beginning of the year is a great time for exploration. In “Letting Go!” I spoke about experiencing true authentic music making with little or no planning whatsoever! As I mentioned, it built trust for the group and within myself. We mostly did it through a drum circle, but you can do it anyway you want: instrument conversations, making silly noises or moving bodies into different shapes that students call out. It can be as crazy as you want!!

During this process, students will discover sounds and movements that they love and will want to remember. This is a perfect opportunity to record it. Of course throughout last weekend’s workshop, you know all I could think about was how Note Knacks could help us record our awesome improvisations! How fun would it be to get together as a group and discuss what we liked about our rhythms and then decide what we wanted to finally notate. I also wanted Note Knacks to add layers and depth to our pieces: “interlocking rhythms”, as Mary Knysh calls them. The “published” composition would be amazing and could be shared by everyone.

The other great place to find ideas for great motifs is from those composers that came before us. We should be reading what we are singing and playing all of the time so that students can hear what sounds others have created and learn how to recreate them. They may even compose a variation on a theme and make it their own. Cooks do this all of the time by recreating a classic recipe and adding an updated twist. (Ina Garten’s Lobster Mac and Cheese comes to mind!) The more examples kids have, the more ideas that will pop into their heads and the greater the compositions.

I can’t wait to get started! Happy searching!