Music - Just the ticket - A musical train journey helps students steam through revision

22nd March 2013 at 00:00

When it's time to review and reflect on musical learning, making music is the best vehicle. For revising the orchestra, how about taking your children on a musical train journey?

In small groups, students spend 10 minutes at each station before continuing to the next stop. Use a classroom timer to manage rotations. Try the excellent online stopwatch at: bit.lyLVK1zu. The teacher will need to facilitate the session, rotating children to the stations and ensuring understanding.

Station 1: Woodwind Halt

Explore instruments of the orchestra and how they can be combined to create exciting textures at this station. Solve the BBC's Musical Mysteries at bbc.in18hqWF. Try the instrument match-up on the orchestra page.

Station 2: Brass Junction

Students can explore some of the punchy, syncopated rhythms that brass players use. Create some cards with simple rhythms on them. Can students repeat these and develop their own using a brass sound on a keyboard? Use words to help with rhythms: "cat" for crotchet, "monkey" for quaver and "caterpillar" for semi-quavers. Insert sniffs to create dotted rhythms.

Station 3: Percussion Terminus

Learn about the importance of having a conductor to lead the orchestra. A gathering drum (like an enormous tambourine, without the jingles, that several children can sit around) can be a great resource for this. Converting each others' names into a rhythm can be a simple starting point.

Station 4: Strings Valley

At the final station, passengers learn about the importance of legato melodies for the string section of the orchestra. Using a string sound on a keyboard, a simple cardboard template could be placed over the keys, which guides the children in choosing their notes. (Using only the black notes will create pentatonic melodies, for example.) Can they write a simple melody to express how they are feeling today?

Record the performances and play these as students arrive the next morning. Do they remember what they learned?

Anthony Anderson is head of music and performing arts, a coach, mentor and outstanding facilitator at Beauchamp College, Leicestershire. He is also a member of the editorial board for the British Journal of Music Education

What else?

Remind your class of the different types of percussion instruments with Ibuzzybea's photo-filled PowerPoint resource. bit.lyPercussionPPT

Use jennyc_7's music assessment grids to track children's creative development. bit.lyMusicGrids.

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