Issue 69: Writing a Body Percussion Piece

What to do with year 6?

Well, following on from last week’s lesson of looking for patterns I decided that they knew enough now to be able to have a good go at writing their own. Many moons ago someone had ordered a ream of manuscript paper which was occupying a shelf in the stock cupboard. This seemed the ideal opportunity to provide some justification for that decision, so I extracted a decent wodge of it and distributed it to the children – “real music writing paper”. They were suitably impressed.

I went through the notation on the whiteboard using crotchets, pairs of quavers, groups of four semiquavers. I showed how bar lines were placed after every 4 beats. I gave careful instructions on where to place the note-heads for indicating clap (top space) knee pats (middle line) and stamps (bottom space). We discussed how repetition is an important part of composing music

After a few minutes, the children were ready and buzzing to write real music on real paper.

I circulated, playing rhythms that had been written, discussing why one worked better than another, correcting the odd misunderstanding about placing the note heads, checking that each bar added up to 4 beats.

It was a great lesson. The desks were fairly jumping as the children tried out their rhythms (memo to self – body percussion is an unexpectedly noisy activity if the classroom has a suspended floor).

I’m not sure if they will have another lesson this week, with all the Christmas activity, but I have planned that we will take their music and transfer the notation to instruments. Another noisy session coming up…

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