When 34 7th Graders Write Rock Music

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September 21, 2016  

That is a startling way to start a sentence, podcast (pawdcast), title a song, and especially to actually carry out. What happened? Today, 34 of my 7th graders were given a special chance to create music for the world. We instituted a few ground rules and opened a brand new session of Garageband with an iPad. These were are guidelines:

Lesson plan: Each decision must be made by the group, with leadership from volunteers and randomly selected students.

This process must be orderly, productive, and collaborative.

If it goes well, we can do this again sometime!

Voting for one of your favorites, and ACCEPTING the result in a positive way.

BPM (class majority vote)

  1. Slow (60-80 bpm) (1 finger)

  2. Medium (81-110 bpm) (peace sign)

  3. Fast (111-140 bpm) (3 fingers)

  1. Choosing a digital “drummer” - student selection

  2. How complex should we start - student selection?

  3. How loud should the drums be? - student selection

  4. What cymbals should we use? [hi-hat, ride?] - student selection

Bass: Complete the rhythm section! (student picks)

  1. Choose the key

  2. Type of bass

  3. Style of bass

In 45 minutes, we had developed quite a lot of agreement, I patched the instruments, tone, and notes to finish after class had ended. We worked well, and excitedly, to vote up and down on ideas and concepts with many instruments, volume levels, and styles of performance. Students facilitated transitions and made instrument selections. 

Results: listen for yourself! Its an oddly pleasing mix of fast rock beats, electric organ, piano, and here's where it takes off: glockenspiel, trombone, bass, and synthesizers. 

Overall, the class worked well together and really enjoyed the creative process, learned to compromise, give their input, and create tonality as a group, thats a big accomplishment, no matter how the end product sounds. 

Enjoy class! Thanks for listening everyone, new "more regular" music podcast coming later this week!

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