In “Defying Gravity” from Wicked, I love the words, “Everyone deserves the chance to fly”. This year the National Parent Teacher Association (PTA) is encouraging all students to “Let Your Imagination Fly” in their Reflections contest. Students may submit entries in photography, visual arts, dance choreography, film production, literature, and music composition. For their “Arts in Education Week”, I was asked by the Woodlake Elementary School PTA to speak to the school regarding the music composition category.
I began with asking the students to think about what the theme “Let Your Imagination Fly” means to them. Even though the composition doesn’t have to include words, I told the students to make a list of words regarding the theme. After creating the list, the students should then practice clapping and speaking the words to find the best rhythm for the composition.
Next, I asked the students to consider the best means for performing the rhythm of their words- voice or instruments. Although they may not have instruments in their home, I reminded the students that anything that makes a sound can be turned into an instrument. I encouraged the children to experiment with making sounds using objects in their home to discover the ones that sound best for their composition.
I also invited the students to create a B (contrasting) section for the piece. For example, they can switch from playing the words to speaking the words. After creating the B section, the students should decide the form for the piece- AB, AAB, or ABA.
My last tip was for the students to experiment with tempo (fast vs. slow) and dynamics (loud vs. soft). Which best fits the composition and the theme?
Although music notation is not required for the elementary level, I encouraged the children to submit notation with icons to represent the music notes- stickers, foam shapes, stamps, and/or pictures.
For the contest, the students are required to submit an audio recording (CD, DVD, or flash drive) for the composition. With today’s technology, anything from smartphones to computers can be used to create the recordings. For more information regarding the rules for recording, please see the following link:
Tips for recording audio with your smartphone:
I can’t wait to hear the sounds of your child’s imagination!