Music Explorer

The Music Explorer is a teaching tool that can be used in many different ways to support musical learning. Below are 10 ideas to help you get started.

Idea 1

Perhaps choose a style of music which links with a piece you will be playing during the lesson. First find the pulse using body percussion and then with voices or instruments.

Idea 2

Use the track as a backing for a copy back activity using one or more pitches. This can be teacher led initially but then allow the pupils to take the lead and improvise their own phrases in pairs or groups.

Idea 3

Develop the idea to a question and answer activity, starting with short phrases. Again, encourage the students to take the lead but always make sure they are able to repeat their own improvised question. This will focus their attention!

Idea 4

Choose a style that will appeal to your students eg Bollywood and discuss why it sounds like Bollywood. What are the musical clues?

Using just one note, or more if you prefer, can you/the children sing or play short patterns in the same style? Discuss.

Idea 5

There are varying tempo options for the styles. What impact does the speed have on the style?

Idea 6

Together with the students compose a simple phrase/piece. Sing or play this piece using different style backings. How does the backing affect the phrase/piece? Do they have a favourite style for this particular example? Why?

Idea 7

Take a short rhythmic or melodic phrase/riff from a piece you are singing or playing and use this as a starting point for composing a short piece using the explorer tool. Try repeating the idea at the same or a different pitch, reversing it, stretching it, making up an answering phrase and so on.

Idea 8

Using the most appropriate form of notation for your students compose four simple two bar rhythmic or melodic phrases/riffs, then play back one of them. Can they tell you which phrase it was?

Ask them to sing or play the phrase/riff of their choice, which one did they perform? This can be challenging for both the players and the listeners.

Idea 9

Sing or play a simple rhythmic phrase and ask your pupils to write this down using blocks or notation. Extend the complexity of the rhythm or melody as they progress.

Idea 10

Explore simple notation rules by adding too many or too few beats into a bar eg adding a minim and a dotted minim into the same bar. What happens? Once they have successfully created a correct example sing or play it through together.