5 Steps to Writing About Music
Hi there all, if there is one thing that I am very passionate about, it is helping my students find success. This comes in many forms, from personal to academic success, and everything in between! However, I know from many years of teaching, that the best thing I can do for my students, besides help shape them into being a contributing citizen, is to help their literacy skills, and more specifically, their writing skills. Without solid writing skills, students can not access higher education and better paying jobs, simple. So from the very beginning of the academic year, I start my students on a journey of writing critically and analytically about music. This I do with every single class I teach, from Year 7 all the way through to Year 12. This post is all about sharing my 5 easy steps to success in this area. I will say one important thing first, I use the modelled, guided and independent model in my teaching, and I will always teach a skill more than once, then let students have a go with my support, then I usually assess them in the independent part in an assignment of some sort. So let’s go….
In this step it is important to teach any of the terms or musical ideas that are important to the concept that you are studying. How you choose to do this will depend on your teaching style, you can be hands on with a practical approach, you can be purely written or even a combination of both. The main thing is that you teach so that your students will learn to recognise musical ideas in other pieces of music.
In this step, I have several sets of questions that accompany each of the music concepts, each set is age appropriate for the class I am teaching. They can be for example, for the concept of duration/rhythm –
- What is the tempo of the music?
- Are the notes mainly long or short?
- What is the time signature of the music?
- What instrument keeps the beat?
These are typical questions I use for my Year 7 and 8 classes, and the questions get more in depth and harder as my students progress through this subject.
Once a set of questions is chosen, I will make sure that my students understand what the question is actually asking. It is at this time, if needed, that I will reteach any ideas so that everyone in the class knows what we are listening for.
In this step, the music is played (as often as needed), questions are answered and recorded. This can be done as a class, in small groups or as an independent activity. I am more concerned when first teaching this step that everyone gets the correct answer together – and again if ideas need to be explained, you would do it at this point.
Choose a paragraph writing template. This will of course depend on what your school might be using. In my career, over the last 10 years, I have had to teach 3 different models! They are all essentially the same, just a different name for each part of the paragraph. In my products I have two different templates – P.E.E.L. and T.X.X.X.C.
Once you have a template that you are using, scaffold the paragraph so that all of your students know what goes where. This is an important step in the process as it in now that students are hopefully starting to make connections with other subject areas and the same process there! It’s great to see the “penny drop” and the “lights go on” as your students make the all important connections.
Write your paragraph, check and edit, then publish. Hint, I will often put the music back on at this stage so the students have something to listen to while they write. Done!
This process, when I model it, and we do it as a class together, usually takes about 20-30 minutes, depending on the class and how fast they write.
If you would like to watch a video explaining this 5 Step Process in more detail, go to my Facebook page and you will see videos on each individual concept. There are 2 there so far, and more will be added in the next couple of weeks. There are also the slides that accompany each of the videos for FREE in my Teachers Pay Teachers store. click the links below to download.
The writing of paragraphs for each concept is included in each of my units of work that are for sale in my store as well.
As always, if you have found this post helpful, don’t forget to share, sign up to become a follower, or even click the “like” button below!
Julia from Jooya