Music - Buskers at break-time

What it's all about

A satisfying click echoes around the school foyer as the leads snap into their sockets on the PA system. A chord sounds on the electro-acoustic guitar, the microphone is on and the speakers buzz into life. The first notes of the student musician's song ring out. Welcome to Break-time Buskers.

Giving pupils a chance to perform in an informal setting can bring a great musical atmosphere to a school. It allows them to share musical expression and takes the walls off the music department. It enriches the learning environment and transforms a break-time, writes Anthony Anderson.

Break-time busking can be the final destination in a journey of songwriting. So why not help pupils to find their voices by demonstrating ways to develop ideas in one-to-one music tutorials?

Ask pupils to play whatever they can, even just a fragment. Ask what they want to achieve or communicate? Suggest possible directions, demonstrating with whatever instrument is to hand. Make music and show them ways to voice a chord, extend and develop a melody, create variety and contrast in a harmonic setting, build texture.

If they are struggling, lead the class in a songwriting exercise. Use simple chords for an introduction and first verse and ask pupils to devise lyrics you can set to music - something quick, effective, memorable.

Play possible choruses, but ask them to make the final choice. Then ask the group to design the song structure and perform it to the class, with plenty of expression.

What else?

Help pupils become songwriters with Helen Tierney's project. bit.lySongWritingProject

Or try QCDA_Resources' unit on writing memorable hooks and riffs. bit.lyHooksAndRiffs.

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