Week 11

Kendra’s Reading…

1.  Teachers in History, RE and Music developed a cross-curricular project on the Holocaust for Year 9 students.  The unit of work was designed to allow each subject to bring different and complementary dimensions to students’ learning based around the key question: ‘How should the Holocaust be remembered in Yorkshire?’  The outcome of the unit was an individual or team project reflecting the key question and demonstrating the students’ understanding.  Ideas suggested included: a textbook ‘double spread’ appropriate for students a year younger; a song suitable for an act of remembrance; a recorded radio documentary on the experience of a local survivor; a presentation suitable for Holocaust Memorial Day (27 January) in an assembly; a documentary film using Moviemaker, including pictures and music; a small exhibition appropriate for a museum or gallery.

The unit of work was based around four themes: Pre-War Jewish Life, The Experience of Persecution, Lives in the Holocaust, and Beyond the Holocaust.  In Music,m students explored the impact of German propaganda on Jewish musicians and the music considered to be ‘degenerate’; they experimented with a range of compositional techniques used in twentieth-centrury music, particularly exploring different starting points for composition such as tone rows, number sequences, graphics, visual art and ‘chance’ events.  The focus for working with musicians in this unit was Steve Reich’s ‘Different Trains.’ The students explored the compositional techniques used in the piece and were shown how Reisch developed melodic phrases using text, some of it from Holocaust survivors.  They were well prepared before they watched a live performance of the piece.  Afterwards, students discussed the impact of the performance on their understanding of the Holocaust.  They developed their own compositions in response to the writing and poems introduced in History and RE lessons.  Later, in response to the key question ‘How should the Holocaust be remembered in Yorkshire?’ students discussed appropriate music for a memorial and developed a performance of a song focused on concepts of hope and remembrance.

2.  A smaller group of Year 8 students have also taken part in a joint project focusing on The Firebird with Year 13 Art students, the artist Maria Hays and the composer Eve Harrison.  A string trio from the orchestra performed for the Year 13 students and the students created multimedia art pieces in response to this.  The Year 8 students took these and made them into a graphic score to tell a story and worked in their music lessons with the composer and members of the orchestra to develop a composition.

3.  In one school, students use Show Me How to Play (http://www.showmehowtoplay.com) to leaner instrumental and vocal parts in pop songs.  Using the Multiplayer, the students work in instrumental groups to learn their part and then mute it so that they can practice with the rest of the recorded band.  Gradually students move into small ensemble groups to play all the parts together.

Another music department uses Soundjunction (http://www.soundjunction.org) to give students the opportunity to engage with professional musicians, performers and composers, and to learn more about their work within the music industry.  There are video resources where composers model composing processes, and interactive tools which enable students to try the techniques themselves.

Reference:  Teaching Secondary Music, edited by Jayne Price and Jonathan Savage, Sage Publications, London, 2012


Professional Development:

Remember that this week is the Saskatchewan Music Conference in Saskatoon.  The conference starts on Friday morning and ends on Saturday afternoon.  Highlights include session presentations on ukulele by Alvin Kolach and sessions on drumming by Chris Brooks and Chris Crockarell all the way from Nashville (Rowloff Productions).  To register for the SMC go to this website:


Thank you to those who recently attended the PSSD ukulele PD session!  This was my first attempt at this, so I appreciated the group that attended and also for the feedback for future planning.  I really enjoyed working with all of you!

If you haven’t already done so and are interested in my next PSSD PD elementary music session please go to PD Place to register as soon as possible!


New music and video to enhance your music classes:


Walk Off The Earth is fast becoming a very popular Canadian band.  Check out this new recording and pay particular attention to the instruments they use…they are using instruments that can be found in many schools!

Check out The British Ukulele Orchestra here:

These last clips were found by a Blaine Lake teacher.  This is a great tune recently put out in the pop music world that speaks about girls’ healthy body images.  First is the original Megan Trainer song (beware of language!), and below that is my personal favorite 1940’s swing version featuring a female bassist (language safe)!  Enjoy!



Kendra’s Road Schedule:

Monday – DO all day

Tuesday – Off

Wednesday – Colonsay AM, Langham and St. Johns Music PM

Thursday – Arts Education meeting @ Saskatoon Public SD All day

Friday – Saskatchewan Music Conference All day


Next week:

Monday – Langham AM, DO PM

Tuesday –

Wednesday – Colonsay AM,

Thursday –

Friday – Blaine Lake All day