Music: Teacher Planning – 'African Drumming' unit.

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  • Author :  admin
  • Date :  Feb 05, 2013
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Teachers may wish to use a concept map to initiate an overview of the package to create links between various curriculum areas and general capabilities. A sample concept map for this package is provided as a supporting document. Concept maps are freely available on the internet or easily created within most word processors.

The lesson plan below outlines seven key episodes, delivered over six weeks.

  1. In the first 45-minute station-based lesson, the students are: a) introduced to the African djembe drum and its origins, design and uses through a guided internet-based web quest activity; and b) tasked with constructing a miniature working model of a djembe to facilitate practice, composition and sharing of performances outside of the school in students' communities and homes.
  2. After the introduction, a 45-minute group ensemble lesson sees students perform two African rhythms, both separately and in unison. Students also practise responding to their performance through giving and receiving positive and constructive feedback. Students are given the opportunity to problem-solve common issues of tonal balance, timing and performance speed. In this lesson, a 15-minute extension activity (the Year 6 graduation song) is also introduced. Students select their end-of-year assembly graduation song and consider composing rhythmic accompaniment to the song.
  3. A 45-minute lesson then introduces students to a basic notation system. Students use this system to notate both of the rhythms performed in lesson 2. Students are then tasked with thinking critically and creatively to design their own notation system, notate the rhythms using an existing system and, as an extension activity, compose an original two-bar A repeating musical pattern (melodic or rhythmic). that could accompany the rhythms.
  4. In this 45-minute lesson, a guest musician (in this case, the artistic director of the Darwin Symphony Orchestra) presents real samples of percussive notation, demonstrates and discusses the use of music-composing software and proposes some strategies for both responding to and giving feedback in the context of a community-based orchestra. Students also have the opportunity to perform rhythms and their original ostinato compositions, with feedback provided by the guest musician and/or their peers. A 15-minute extension activity where students practise rhythms in time with their Year 6 graduation song is also included in this lesson.
  5. A 120-minute 'bring your class' field trip excursion to the Technology Learning Centre provides the students with an opportunity to use recording and sampling software. They learn about composing ostinatos and exploring the use of audio loops to create rich, percussive and melodic compositions. Both the specialist music and generalist teachers accompany the students and receive mentoring in the use of PC recording software and iPad applications. Students self-assess and peer-check their skills growth using a skills checklist (see Audacity skills and Sampler skills checklists).
  6. Following the field excursion, a 45-minute lesson gives students the chance to practise using recording software and to notate and finalise their two-bar ostinatos to prepare for individual or small group performance in the final lesson. Once the ostinato is successfully notated, students get an opportunity to record each other's compositions. This recording is collected for assessment purposes. Within this lesson, the teacher also organises final performances and assesses djembe rhythm performance using an observational teacher checklist. A sample teacher checklist is provided as a supporting document to this package.
  7. In this last 45-minute lesson, students show their notated two-bar ostinato and perform it either independently or in small groups. They practise receiving and giving positive and constructive feedback. In addition, students reflect upon how it feels to receive feedback and note both positive and constructive comments received. A 15-minute extension activity where students practise rhythms in time with their Year 6 graduation song is also included in this lesson.

Additional opportunity: At week 9, students may elect to perform rhythmic accompaniment to their graduation song at the year-end assembly.

The video on this page features pre- and post-lesson interviews with the Year 6 music teacher. She describes the package, how the package is linked to the Australian Curriculum, the context and make-up of the class, adjustments made to address student diversity and changes to her own teaching practice. To assist teachers seeking to implement a similar package and/or implement the Australian Curriculum more broadly, this package also includes:

This project is funded by the Australian Government Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations.