Why should students compose their own music?
* Composing music is a creative form of self expression that is fun and rewarding.
Composers take ownership of their own musical creativity. Suddenly, music has a whole new component, one in which they are the creators.
* Composing music helps with ear training (being able to play what one hears).
* An understanding of the composition process helps students understand the works of other composers.
* When students compose, they make decisions about their musical preferences.
Why should students put their music on a page?
The words "composing music" and "writing music" don't necessarily mean the same thing. The process of writing music on a page is an excellent way to deepen a students understanding of music notation. Putting pencil to paper creates a connection to the details of music notation and their function. It gives real world experience with elements of music that are often only conceptualized or worse, overlooked.
What age is The Dragon Quest intended for?
The book was written for children ages 6 - 12, but others might enjoy it as well.
What instrument(s) can use these books?
Book 1 contains specific instructions for 19 of the most common instruments: Piano, Recorder, Guitar, Flute, Oboe, Clarinet, Saxophone, Bassoon, French Horn, Trumpet, Trombone, Baritone, Euphonium, Tuba, Pitched Percussion (Marimba, xylophone, etc.), Violin, Viola, Cello and Bass.
With the exception of drums and other non-pitched instruments, almost any other instrument could use the instructions for one of the instruments listed above. Only a very few, very odd instruments would not be able to do so.
Although there are no specific instructions for individual instruments, book 2 can be used by nearly any instrument as well. The instructions about note choice are mostly about using the notes of a particular scale and nearly every instrument uses such notes.
What does the student need to know before they can begin Music Composition Adventures?
The Dragon Quest is designed to be an easy introduction to writing music. Students don't need a lot of experience with music notation but it is recommended that they have had a preliminary introduction to music notation. This can be given by a general music educator at school, a private lessons teacher or even a parent who has some basic knowledge of music notation.
The Fear Worms takes composing to the next level by introducing the minor scales. It is recommended that students know at least one major scale before they begin this quest. They should also understand half steps and whole stapes, flats and naturals.
Can we see an example of an assignment?
Sure! Here are the instructions for the first song the students compose.
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Are there additional materials required?
Although not necessary, there are a couple of items that are recommended. It is highly recommended that a "crack your own" geode be used as a dragon's egg at the end of The Dragon Quest. This puts an exciting punctuation on the dragon quest and is a physical reminder of their accomplishment. For more information, please visit the Ideas for Teachers page here.
Crack your own geodes can be found on the web.
After completing The Fear Worms, you may choose to give the student a shark's tooth as a reward for their accomplishments. Fear worms are large, illusory creatures with rows of razor sharp teeth. After the fear worms are vanquished, the student finds a fear worm tooth in the sand. A shark's tooth will do nicely.
How do I get my free bumper sticker?
Once a student completes The Dragon Quest, they are eligible to receive a composer's bumper sticker displaying their achievement. Contact us here and don't forget to include a mailing address.