Archive for the ‘Lesson Ideas’ Category

Key Stage 3 Curriculum Mapping – Skills Over Content

May 31, 2013 Leave a comment

Having read a wide variety of articles around skills over content I have taken a look at redrafting and changing area’s of the Key Stage 3 Curriculum offered in the Performing Arts Department I lead. We have completely refreshed the curriculum this year and rather comfortingly only a few tweaks were needed.

Unit 1 – Vocal Coaching. (was singing) If your learning how to vocal coach you do it through singing. Therefore why not put the emphasis on being able to coach others. This also boosts independence

Unit 2 – Composing Soundscapes. This was introduced by my colleague last year and was by far my favourite thing to teach this year for music. I loved it. It’s quite a learning how to represent a particular acoustic environment using whatever you can find in a music room. We do storms, bus stops, the city, the forest.

Unit 3 – Staging Drama. We mix drama and music up at key stage 3 in order to more fully prepare learners for key stage 4 drama if they opt for it. It was also a strategy to boost numbers at key stage 4 which gave us our first ever key stage 4 drama class this year – 20 strong! It’s quite a skill coming up with a scene and then changing it if it’s going to be performed in the round, or on a proscenium arch stage. It also instantly helps bring to the forefront – face the audience not the action!

Unit 4 – Ensemble Performance. This used to be Samba but I’ve changed the name to represent the skill pupils learn. The skill is to stay in time and hit the drum and the right time. To not get faster. Then the skill is to take this a compose their own rhythmic piece on chairs. Can they all lead a whole class ensemble? Can they follow while playing in a whole class ensemble?

Unit 5 – Creating a Character. How to use stereotypes to create a character that the audience has a feeling towards. What stereotypes to ignore. Who are they? What do they do? Why do they do it?

Unit 6 – Guitar Skills. What is strumming. What are the patterns. Think of this as a one to one guitar lesson. Except it’s 30 to 1, they share guitars and test each other to see it they’re right. They also learn how to act as each other’s peri.

Unit 7 – Improvisation (Music). I’ve done Blues to death. 12 Bar Blues. Walking Bass Line with a Riff and Fill and then always ran out of time to do the improvisation at the end because we always seem to miss lessons. So let’s spin it around and do the improvisation first. If I treat the WBL or chordal riff as just a supportive after thought hopefully the kids will and instead of 2 weeks it may only take one. It’s not that hard after all!

Unit 8 – In at the deep end (Pop). Pupils learn to listen to pop music, independently seek out how to play the chords on whatever instruments they want and put it together while I play Candy Crush. (The last bit may be a little exaggeration but the point is THEY do it and NOT ME)Here’s another school’s results –

Unit 9 – Improvisation (Drama). Think Whose Line Is It Anyway. Brilliant fun. No content planned just skills practised with a lot of laughter and a flip cam/ipad to capture it all and allow pupils to instantly watch it back.

Unit 10 – In At The Deep End (Classical) – Pupils pick a piece and then learn it by ear. They either download the differentiated examples themselves or you have them available on a laptop/mobile device/tablet for them.

Unit 11 – Dramatic Form This is the skill of using Dramatic Conventions/Devices in rehearsal or Performances.

Unit 12 – Composing Without Limits Do you have to play the Guitar like that? How about if you didn’t

Download the document (not completed) here – FoxyMusicEd KS3 Curriculum Map


Ostinato/Musical Stuctures Idea – Harry Potter Puppet Pals

April 6, 2011 Leave a comment

Part of my reason for setting up the blog was to try and help be part of the solution to the problems I raised in my first column. However it was also to use this blog as a reflective tool for me to become better and get feedback on the work I do. Therefore from time to time I will upload resources / lesson ideas / schemes that I use/have used. These are not definitively the best, they are merely where I’ve got to in my working. They have worked for me in the past, thought this is not to say I’m always going to use them in the future if someone comes along with a different/better idea.

I like to keep changing and evolving!

Anyways, I use this lesson idea to teach Ostinato and Musical Structures hiding a lot of the learning from the kids until after they’ve done it!

L/O Displayed on board – Have you performed your ostinato?

  • After a starting activity I’ll ask the pupils to perform their Ostinato’s. They usually look at me completely blankly as I obviously haven’t taught them what that is yet and one or two will usually make some crack over how it’s my job to teach them it and I haven’t done that yet. (Perfect because they’re playing right into my hands)
  • Pupils watch Harry Potter Puppet Pals stopping it at 1:15
  • I will then inform the class to get into groups and based on designer labels, TV Shows, Movie Characters, Pizza Toppings, Football teams – whatever – to come up with their own version. I tell the kids to be as creative as possible (remembering to ensure it’s classroom appropriate)
  • Class divide into groups of their choice and use a new theme to come up with their own version of an ‘ostinato piece’.
  • I then ask each group to come up with a second ostinato piece using a different theme. Binary From
  • I will then ask to structure their piece using their initial idea, their second idea and then return to the initial idea. Ternary form
  • Extension – a third idea ABACA – Rondo form.
  • I don’t tell the kids at the time the names of the structures they are using – I may have lesson objectives in envelopes saying to the kids as some sort of magic trick I have written down predictions for some things they will know by the end of the lesson that during the lesson they’ll have no idea they’re learning. Or I may ask them to perform their Ternary form pieces and get greeted by very confused facial expressions. The idea is they learn it by stealth – not aware they can do it. Learning this way round I have found makes things easier with a really positive vibe in the room.
  • Performances recorded maybe even video’d and watched back in the lesson

Can also be adapted for a practical yet easily run cover lesson with a non-specialist.


Stomp Scheme

April 4, 2011 Leave a comment

Here is a scheme based on ‘Stomp’.

It features one of my favourite things to do which is only to focus on Exceptional Performance and Level 8 Level Descriptors. Towards the end of the project we talk in terms of showing a little bit of exceptional performance. It’s proved to be really good way of boosting the self esteem of pupils and they always leave on a high feeling they can no begin to look at those level descriptors feeling they can do it.

In terms of the scheme, again, I think it has it’s strengths mainly as it’s really creative, you can leave the kids to generate ideas and sounds themselves and IT’S FUN!

Stomp 2010


Blues Music Scheme

April 4, 2011 Leave a comment

Here is a 7 week Blues Scheme I developed a year or so ago from a project I first encountered on my PGCE three years ago. It has it’s positives. I’m looking into unlocking a lot more creativity with the redraft for next year.

Year 8 Blues Music 2010

Blues Music Project Card