I recently changed the curriculum of one of my classes to be a more project-based class. My want and desires are to give students an opportunity to dig deeper into a musical subject. As to not make my classes all about performance. It seems as if the only context given for learning about the history and theory related to piece is solely to prepare a student’s ability to connect with what they are performing. That approach worked great for my higher-level performers, and it didn’t reach students who were still learning (or relearning) the fingerings on their instrument. That is a subject for another day.
The class looks more like this, I pick a subject or an artist and we do the following things.
- Make Connections
- Respond to Art
Since I look at this as a cycle, I tend to do these as they when the class is ready to do them. Often I’ll introduce a piece of music as a listening assignment, we typically learn a melody related to the subject shortly after. Students are given assignments that are grade and given time to research the subject, (i.e go listen to music and learn something time).
About midway through the term, students come up with proposals for a project. Many of them are ambitious, but eventually, I keep them grounded.
By the end, students present their research about the subject. Some choose to put together a performance in groups, others choose create a piece of visual art representing the subject. Some even put together a slide show with a particular point of view.
For far so good. Students have created some of the following:
A children’s book
Created a short film (very short film)
Written and or performed in a one-act play
Like I said this may just work out.