Technology as a creative tool

This scheme of work explores the use of technology – often free or home-made – as a creative tool which influences the character and nature of the resulting music. In the activities, learners work with the theme of “Endless Journeys” as a stimulus to work alone or in small groups to create music using the technology, which can be integrated with traditional acoustic instruments. The unusual nature of some of the technology encourages learners to consider what music is and the importance of context in its creation.

The scheme of work was originally created for pupils from years 7 – 11 who had been identified as being “Gifted and Talented”.

The scheme of work was created by composer Duncan Chapman with teacher Phil Kennedy at Fallibroome Academy, Macclesfield.

Scheme of Work

Key Question

How can technology be used to enhance creative thinking skills through composing?

Aims of this project/scheme?

  • Engaging learners sonic sensibilities and educating them for the ‘unfamiliar’.
  • Encouraging learners to move outside their comfort zone and embrace alternative models of musical composition.
  • Find ways of relocating “music technology” in composition and performance, using the computer as an instrument rather than as a model of a recording studio.
  • Explore new approaches to creative and experiential composing with technology.

Key outcomes

  • Develop creative thinking and compositional skills.
  • Use technology to promote creativity.
  • Build on previous knowledge of musical elements, sequel/cubase and instrumental performance.
  • Experience, extend and develop creative approaches to music technology as well as building their own technology to create original pieces of music.

Lesson 1

To develop learners’ listening skills.

To build a trusting environment of shared practice.

 

Topic and Purpose

Lesson one exploring how can technology be used to enhance creative thinking skills through composing?

Objective

Engaging learners’ sonic sensibilities.

Engagement

Sharing ideas and developing a trusting environment through peer to peer discussion.

Stick-ability

The learners will be able to share ideas and personal reflections with others.

Lesson 2

Introducing learners to music technology and how it can be used to mix sounds.

 

Topic and Purpose

Second lesson exploring how technology can be used to enhance creative thinking skills through composition with a focus on echoes.

Objective

Introduce learners to music technology and allow them to explore and experiment with music technology, developing creative responses.

Engagement

Learners will develop an understanding of collaboration through working with others and reflecting on learning both individually and collaboratively.

Stick-ability

Learners will develop knowledge and understanding of how to observe and reflect on their practice, informing future work.

Lesson 3

Developing music that depends on interaction rather than physical skill.

 

Topic and Purpose

Encouraging learners to move outside their comfort zone and embrace alternative models of musical composition.

Objective

To develop collaborative skills and music technology understanding

Engagement

Learners will develop an understanding of collaboration through creative group work.

Learners will extend their knowledge of music technology by personally responding to the activities.

Stick-ability

Learners will develop knowledge and understanding of music technology processes and how to manipulate technology to create new sounds.

Lesson 4

Three ways to compose with Soundplant:

The key to getting the most out of using Soundplant and make music with groups is to think about how the sounds you are using will be organised.
It’s possible to do this in a number of ways.

The sounds can be organised by:

  1. Everyone having the same sounds mapped to the same keys;
  2. Everyone having their own sounds which are different to the others mapped to any key;
  3. Everyone starts with the same set of sounds and then makes their own set.

The sound sets could be:

  1. A collection of unrelated sounds;
  2. A collection sounds that are related by where they have been recorded;
  3. A collection of sounds that are related by their sonic properties (loud, quiet, long, short, sudden…).

Topic and Purpose

Exploration of Soundplant.

The computer as an instrument as opposed to a model of a recording studio.

Objective

Getting to know and composing with Soundplant.

Engagement

Explore, reflect, and analyse creative thinking processes.

Development of collaboration between the group through sharing ideas and constructive reflections.

Stick-ability

To work through problems, reflect on learning and experiment using Soundplant.

Lesson 5

To experiment and develop composing skills using Soundplant.

 

Topic and Purpose

To experiment and develop composing skills using Soundplant.

Objective

Learners will link together conventional instruments with digital technologies.

Learners will develop creative approaches to composition either leading to or enabling future original work.

Engagement

Learners will develop ideas and knowledge of Soundplant through constructive feedback and class discussions.

Stick-ability

Learners will develop their creative learning skills by generating and exploring ideas and making original connections. The learners will expand this through experimenting and exploring different ways to tackle problems, working with others to find imaginative solutions.

Lesson 6

To draw on previous experience to compose a piece using soundplant.

 

 

Topic and Purpose

Utilising previous learning experience, share and help others to develop a creative composition using Soundplant.

Objective

The aim of this session is to get students to draw on the experiences of the previous sessions and to use what they have explored to create some pieces.

Engagement

Evaluation will provide examples of the learners’ ability to reflect on their learning.

Stick-ability

Increase the learners’ skill and knowledge of Soundplant.