A member of the W.O. Smith staff sat in on this class and gave me some valuable insight. One thought was that I was teaching too much material per class. While I realize that we cover a lot of material in class, I think that it is manageable. There is not a lot of time for recitation and repetition because those are things that the homework should be doing. The lessons would seem less rushed, though, if we did not spend the first 20 minutes at the beginning of each class playing the original compositions of each student. As the students' skills are becoming more and more advanced, the compositions become longer and longer. Therefore we end up spending nearly half the class listening to the compositions whereas this took merely 5 minutes in class 1. Another suggestion was to have more time for informal evaluation in class. A good way to take care of both of these problems at once is to replace the playing of the original compositions in class with a ten-minute sessions at the beginning of class where each student has his or her headphones on. The instructor can go around the room and individually listen to the compositions. This build in one-on-one instruction time, informal assessment, and accountability all in one fell swoop. Also I realize through the feedback from the staff member that I am using vague and confusing phrases like, "I want you guys to practice this," and "Does everybody understand." I need to work on building this assessment into the lesson plan instead of obliquely asking. Here is the lesson plan for class 7:
Class 7 Plan
Each student was to have completed the following assignment in addition to completing the packet’s written homework:
1) Keep up with your idea journal. Write three new ideas for songs.
2) Practice all of the chord progressions in a, both hands together. Play at least the first page in the key of e. Play at least the first page in the key of d.
3) Write a new composition/song/piece. Here are the guidelines:
· Pick four chord progressions from this lesson.
· Write the chord progressions for both hands on the next page.
· Label the chords above and below the clef, just like on the previous page.
· Sing a melody over the chord progressions.
· Give your piece a name, tempo, and copyright.
· Practice your new piece. Play it perfectly! Play and sing it for three different people!
Bonus: Transpose your new piece to the key of e. Transpose your new piece to the key of d. Write it out and practice it!
· Make copies of all new and revised compositions, and all arrangements of radio songs. Hand out to students while students warm up and review materials.
· Have students play new compositions/songs in front of class. Discuss.
· Have students play revised compositions/songs in front of class. Discuss.
· Have students play arrangements in front of the class. Discuss
· Discuss idea journal. Read ideas aloud. Have students pick at least one idea from someone else and write it down in their idea journal. Encourage them to borrow ideas from people, and to give those people credit.
· Homework check. Students who understand concepts well help students who do not understand concepts well.
· Ear training
o major scale vs. minor scale
o chord inversions
o chord progressions (changes between two chords at a time)
· New lesson. Additional scales. New lesson and assignment pack handed out.
· Assignment read aloud by students in class and discussed.
Extra time: play a four bar melody on the piano. Ask students to put on their headphones, figure out how to play the melody in the right hand, and write it down on staff paper. Once all students have done this and we have checked it, play chords in the left hand. Have students put their headphones back on and play the same chords in the left hand. Have students write the chords down and label them. Check this. have students try to play both parts together. This is a chance to explain the standard four bar phrase.
Each student is to complete the following assignment in addition to completing the packet’s written homework:
· Keep up with your idea journal. Write three new ideas for songs.
· Practice all of the new scales. Be able to play them perfectly. You will be quizzed in front of the class.
· Write a new composition/song/piece. Here are the guidelines:
Write a melody for both hands in the key of C Major.
1) Write a C major scale in the space provided.
2) Use 4/4 time.
3) Come up with a melody that is 8 bars long that starts and ends on the same note must use all of the notes in the C scale. Do not use any accidentals.
4) Play this melody in the right hand.
5) Write the melody in the treble clef of the grand staff.
6) Write in right hand fingerings that make sense ABOVE THE NOTES. Fingerings that make sense will ensure that your hand is changing positions as few times as possible.
7) Practice playing this melody in the right hand.
8) When you can play the melody in the right hand, play it in the left hand.
9) Write the same melody in the bass clef of the grand staff.
10)Write in left hand fingerings that make sense. Fingerings that make sense will ensure that your hand is changing positions as few times as possible.
11)Practice playing this melody in the left hand.
12)When you can play the melody perfectly in the right and left hand, practice playing both hands together. The notes will be the same!
13)Be able to play your new melody perfectly with both hands together.
14)Give your piece a name, tempo, and copyright.
Label the scale degrees of the notes.
1) Under the C major scale at the top of your page, write the degrees of the scale BELOW THE NOTES.
2) Using the C scale as a key, write the degrees of your melody BELOW THE NOTES.
Transpose your melody into three other modes.
1) Choose any three of these scales:
· “a” natural minor; “a” harmonic minor; “a” melodic minor
· C dorian; C phrygian; C lydian; C mixolydian; C aeolean; C locrian
2) Write the names of each of these scales in the blanks on the pages of staff paper given to you.
3) Write the notes of the first scale in the space provided.
4) Under the notes of the first scale, write the degrees of the scale BELOW THE NOTES. For example, if you chose “a” minor, underneath “a” you would write a “1,” underneath “b” you would write a “2,” and so on.
5) Using the numbers below your melody and the numbers below your first scale, write the melody in the new scale.
6) Copy over the fingerings ABOVE THE NOTES.
7) Practice the transposed melody for both hands.
8) Repeat 4 through 8 again for the other two scales.