Mixed Bag of Goodies

My mixed bag arrangement of ‘Somebody That I Used To Know’ uses a hybrid of various music education pedagogies to help encourage the learning of music and foster creativity. I chose this song as it is harmonically very simple allowing room for creativity to be put on top and it can also be made interesting by using ostinatos, using the original song as a model.

The arrangement was made to be very accessible to the students, differentiating using the levels, advanced, intermediate and easy. Students have the option of choosing one part then moving up to harder parts, for example, students who are learning the clarinet will easily be able to play the easy but the intermediate will be focusing on improving going over the break. The advanced version will then incorporate both easy and hard elements. For students who cannot read music, chord charts, chord diagrams and recordings are offered instead. Informal learning is very effective in this case as it motivates students who cannot read music to participate in music making. Green (2009) establishes stages of her approach to informal learning which is similar to how my arrangement would be taught. For stage 1, students are placed in the ‘deep end’ and learn their instruments and parts by listening to a music of their choice. Stage 2 is modelling aural learning by providing students with CDs with the original song and split up parts for students to learn from. By stage 4, students are composing using elements they may have picked up from the previous stages. Stage 1 is not reflected in my arrangement as the song is already set and there is written notation with set instruments and transpositions for students to use however, stage 2 is the process students who do not read music will go through to learn their part and this also uses Campbell’s (2005) engaged and enactive listening. Engaged and enactive listening plays a big a role in informal learning and can improve students’ musical abilities greatly as Campbell (2005) states that the “three phases of musical involvement can hasten the development of their knowledge of familiar and foreign musical expressions” (p.31). Stage 4 becomes a stepping stone into the Orff pedagogy part of my arrangement.

After students have had some time with the music, students are to create their own ostinato to play in the instrumental section when they are pointed to. Orff’s pedagogy uses improvisation as a creative outlet however, it takes time for students to become confident with their creations (Lange, 2005). For this reason, Lange (2005) suggests call and response and the pentatonic scale to teach improvisation. I have decided to use another technique to teach improvisation called ostinatos. I chose this technique because it is a part of the orff pedagogy (Southcott & Cosaitis, 2012) but it is also used in the original song to build texture (ostinatos are added and developed throughout the song). This discussion can lead to the exploration of other concepts of music such as structure and texture. The suggested pentatonic scale can be used to create their own ostinato and the call and response can be the next step, after repeating ostinatos, which can help develop their minds to be creative on the spot. Other elements of the Orff pedagogy includes the use of Orff instruments for all students to have an opportunity to play, the use of borduns and transferring the melody from voice to the instrument (Lange, 2005). The borduns have been slightly modernised to suit the changing harmonies but they are still based on the open fifths and it is a broken bordun figure. The transfer from voice to instrument can be done with the melody as it has the lyrics of the song which the students can sing but it also has the well-known nursery rhyme with slight alterations to fit the melodic line. The clave part also uses words from the song to assist students with their part.

Here is the link to my mixed bag arrangement:

https://drive.google.com/open?id=1g0KO6rEechk-QWIg0NmiypZvmcLUfCGz

References:

Green, L. (2009). Music, Informal Learning and the School: A New Classroom Pedagogy. New York: Routledge.

Campbell, P. S. (2005). Deep Listening to the Musical World. Music Educator’s Journal, 92(1), 30-36, doi: 10.2307/3400224

Lange, D. M. (2005). Together in Harmony: Combining Orff Schulwerk and Music Learning Theory. Chicago, IL: GIA Publications

Southcott, J., Cosaitis, W. (2012). “It All Begins With The Beat of a Drum”: Early Australian Encounters of Orff Schulwerk. Australian Journal of Music Education, 2, 20-32. Retrieved from http://go.galegroup.com.ezproxy1.library.usyd.edu.au/ps/i.do?p=EAIM&u=usyd&id=GALE%7CA322563786&v=2.1&it=r&sid=summon

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