Using listening and reflection in the creative process

This scheme of work explores how listening – both to musical starting points and to learners’ work in progress – can contribute to the creative process. Compositional activities include using musical and visual starting points, and group composition.

The scheme of work was originally created for pupils in Year 10.

The scheme of work was created by composer Kerry Andrew with teacher Paul Jones at St Marylebone School, London

Scheme of work

Key Question:

What is the role of listening and reflection in the creative process?

What are the specific aims of this project/scheme?

  • To introduce improvisation and playing by ear as a tool for small group composition.
  • Promote listening, reflection and appraising as an important tool in the compositional and creative process.
  • Use visual stimuli as a starting point to generate ideas.
  • Develop critical and constructive assessment for learning approaches through group and peer-to-peer discussion.

Key outcomes

  • The learners will develop reflective approaches on the creative process, which will enrich the final composition.
  • Learners will be able to compose group ensemble pieces, which may be used for future GCSE coursework.
  • Learners will be able to describe the compositional process both verbally and through written forms.

Lesson 1

To introduce the learners to improvisation as a starting point for composition, using a visual stimulus.

 

Topic and Purpose

First session of 6 exploring listening as a key activity in the composing process.
This lesson will introduce the learners to the use of visual stimuli and improvisation as creative processes to generate ideas.

Objective

Using visual stimuli, introduce the learners to improvisation as

Engagement

The ‘draw your voices’ exercise will help engage and stimulate learner ideas.
Using Van Gogh’s painting Starry Night, the learners will create an improvised vocal group composition developing their collaborative and reflective skills.

Stick-ability

Generating ideas,
experiment and
take risks.

Lesson 2

To develop a group composition using visual stimuli.

To use improvisation as a starting point.

 

Topic and Purpose

This lesson shall continue to develop listening skills explored in lesson one and
their relation to the composing process.

Objective

To begin working in groups on a composed piece, using visual stimuli and improvisation as a starting point.

Engagement

Groups to choose their own visual stimuli and begin to develop key musical ideas in response.
The groups will perform and record their piece, allowing them to reflect on and assess their progress.

Stick-ability

The development of creative ways of generating and experimenting with ideas.
The importance of recording instinctive responses, listening back and appraising the creative process and outcome.

Lesson 3

For groups to begin structuring their musical ideas and refining material.

 

 

Topic and Purpose

Third session of six exploring listening as a key activity in the composing process.

Objective

Groups begin to work out a structure for their overall piece.
Refining and developing musical material.

Engagement

Class discussion will be central to this lesson. The groups will work on the structure of their pieces, develop their listening skills and reflect on their progress.

Stick-ability

The importance of structuring ideas, and recording material in order to reflect.

Lesson 4

To begin to refine ideas through notation.

To focus on rhythm and harmony.

 

Topic and Purpose

Fourth session of six exploring listening as a key activity in the composing process.

Objective

Groups to begin notating their piece, with a focus on rhythm and harmonic ideas.

Engagement

Initial introduction leading to class exploration of ideas.
Explore, reflect, and analyse creative thinking processes.
Refine the structure of the composition.
Development of collaboration between the group through sharing ideas and constructive reflections.

Stick-ability

That the learners can begin to use notation as an aid (they do not have to necessarily fully notate the whole piece).

Lesson 5

To refine group compositions through reflection on the melodic material, dynamics and articulation.

To complete a group composition.

 

Topic and Purpose

Fifth session of six exploring listening as a key activity in the composing process.

Objective

To complete group compositions, refining melodic material, dynamics and articulation

Engagement

Group work will be completed with the assistance of detailed constructive feedback and constructive class discussions.

Stick-ability

That a score can be a combination of notation styles, and can retain elements of improvisation if appropriate.

Lesson 6

To give final performance of compositions.

To evaluate the creative process and outcomes of learning.

 

Topic and Purpose

Sixth and final session exploring listening as a key activity in the composing process.

Objective

To perform final compositions.
Evaluate the creative process and final outcome.

Engagement

Group performances and evaluation will example the learners ability to work collaboratively, reflect on learning and perform.

Stick-ability

That visual stimuli can be a starting point for a composition; that improvisation can also be used as a starting point for a composition that might become fixed; that regular listening and appraisal of work can help develop a composition.