Teaching texture to young students (and even older ones) can be difficult. I try to help students create meaning by making sure they have a visual model to go along with the sound.
This year I decided to get students involved in making a visual model by using …. wait for it … PASTA! It worked out pretty well with minimal pasta remnants left on the floor. At the bottom of this post is the slide show I created with visual and listening examples of Monophonic, Homophonic, and Polyphonic texture. After several years of teaching texture, I’ve narrowed it down to the basics that I’d like students to understand at this point in their music education.
I made up bags of 3 kinds of pasta – elbow, bow ties, and penne. Of course, you can use whatever you have available, but I’d advise against any long pasta like spaghetti because it breaks so easily. We did our models on the floor but you could glue them onto paper to keep as examples. Here’s what my students came up with:
From left to right are examples of monophonic, homophonic, and polyphonic.
Having students create these in “real time” allowed me to correct any misunderstandings they might have had.
Feel free to use the slides in the link below – or create ones that work better for you! There is even an bonus link to a fun review Kahoot!
My students spent the last few weeks learning about the elements of music. We practiced identifying and describing things like tempo, dynamics, pitch, tonality, timbre, and texture. After lots of activities to reinforce their learning, they demonstrated their knowledge by completing a listening analysis of 4 pieces of music (Classic Rock, Jazz, Classical, and a song of their choice) and writing a review of one of the pieces. To wrap it all up, they used their creativity to create an advertisement to
“sell” one of the pieces of music!
For the analysis, I gave students a choice of 5 songs in each category. To give students some independence in their listening, I provided QR codes for each song. They were able to preview each piece and pick the one they wanted to analyze. The review they wrote for one was meant to show their understanding of what they heard and their ability to apply appropriate vocabulary. These activities combined took 4-5 days to complete.
The advertisement was fun because students got to share about the music and be as outrageous in their ad as they wanted to be. We warmed up by watching a couple of “as seen on tv” product commercials and clips of infomercials. We also looked at types of advertising techniques. You can find many websites that have student centered information on this – I used this one. Your ELA teachers might cover this as part of their standards so it may be an opportunity to collaborate! Once you start talking about these kids will come up with all kinds of current examples.
Students created a print ad (on poster or a google slide) or a script for a live commercial. The ad had to describe at least 3 elements of music in the song and use at least advertising techniques. They had a great time with who could come up with the most outrageous claims! The ads took about 3 days to complete (including the introduction of the advertising techniques.) You might need one more class period depending on how many students choose to present live commercials. If you have the technology the live commercials could be recorded and played back to the class, too.
We displayed many of these in the hallway with the QR codes so everyone in the school could check out some new music!
Remember that this is how I did things THIS TIME in my classroom. I’m
Here are links to all the materials used in these lessons:
Introduction to Project
QR Codes for Listening
Listening Analysis Grid