Curriculum references Intro. As children attending one of Jazzmatic’s performances play the role of audience the principal benefit to them in terms of curriculum requirements is of course Listening and Appraising. But although the occasion is not billed as a ‘workshop’ there are also plenty of opportunities for them to participate in more active ways. During the gig they are encouraged to keep the beat by marching or clapping on their thighs, clicking on the off-beat, learning and performing song(s), chanting, spotting the use of demonstrated riffs and dreaming! One year group are asked to sing the double bass ostinato line in one piece while others play the part of the hi-hat and side drum. Some individuals also have the chance to perform alongside the musicians of the group, either dancing, singing or playing an instrument (appropriate written parts are supplied) playing the melody, providing a harmony with the front line instruments or improvising a solo; and four of the children get to direct important elements in the ‘free improvisation’ section by choosing e.g. the dynamic, pitch, mood or articulation employed. To encourage the children in their discrimination of the use of these elements they are then asked to comment on whether the band did a good job of following their instructions. The occasion is an excellent opportunity for them to improve their pulse and rhythm skills, identification of instruments and expanding their knowledge of style and repetoire and they are introduced to terminology specific to the jazz tradition and also more broadly to music in general, e.g. the meaning of ‘playing a solo’. The structure of the performance of a piece of jazz music is also underlined. The programme is adapted to take account of the space available and the age range and size of the audience and their relative experience and knowledge of jazz and music in general so a performance might see some variation in its content. Specific references : KS1 1) Controlling sounds through singing and playing a.) They learn and perform a song by heart accompanied by movements or sing one they have already learned, accompanied by the band. One instrumental number also has a simple chant for the children. b.) They play untuned percussion instruments. 3) Appraising skills a.) Children say which pieces they prefer and why. They are encouraged to refer to the different instruments by name. They are asked to dance and to swing their arms from side to side in time to the beat for different songs.
Music Into Schools 8-1
4) Listening and applying knowledge and understanding a.) Children are asked to listen out for a certain motif and indicate when they hear it. b.) The structure of a piece is outlined for them to recognise: the same melody at the beginning and end and improvised music in the middle; different levels of pitch, timbre and dynamics are shown by the players who demonstrate their instruments; attention is drawn to the differences in dynamics and tempo between one piece and another. c.) Children clap, march, sing and play percussion instruments. Sometimes they are invited to ‘have a go’ on instruments that are being demonstrated. d.) Children are invited to dance to some pieces, to ‘rock their babies to sleep’ or try to evoke images from the music during the ‘jazz lullabye’, and to consider the contrasting moods of different pieces.
5.) Knowledge, skills and understanding a.) See 3a.), 4b.) and 4c.) b.) See 4a.) d.) Something of the history of jazz is covered : children are taught that the music originated in the USA. The pieces played are in a variety of different jazz styles and eras.
Specific references : KS2 1.) Performing skills a.) They learn and perform a song by heart accompanied by movements or sing one they have already learned, accompanied by the band. In the song ‘Jiggles’ which they learn during the performance (or with this pack) one group of children is also asked to sing an ostinato bass line in unison with the double bass whilst the others sing the melody. c.) Children whose names have been put forward in advance to play their instruments with the band have the chance to rehearse their written parts immediately before the performance with the rhythm section, usually in harmony with the band’s two front line instruments. Individual singers or improvising instrumentalists are welcome also.(Participants have played piano, trombone, tenor horn, trumpet, clarinet, alto saxophone, congas, recorder and flute.)
Music Into Schools 8-2
3.) Appraising skills a.) The audience is asked to choose which they prefer out of a selection of three demonstrated styles of jazz and also out of five or six different instruments. 4.) Listening, and applying knowledge and understanding a.)Pupils are asked to spot individual sounds and motifs in the music demonstrated before the beginning and to indicate when they do. As a strategy this helps them to listen intently to all the music. Examples include identifying the last sound heard in one piece of music (usually a cowbell hit); noticing the unscheduled use of a two bar riff in another piece; picking up on the characteristic ‘be-bop’ twonote phrase often heard in the improvised solos of a be-bop style number; and so on. b.) The range and use of different levels of pitch, timbre and dynamics are referred to and demonstrated by the players who demonstrate their instruments; four of the children are assigned cards showing the words ‘Loud/Quiet’, High/Low’, ‘Spiky/Smooth’, Happy/Sad’. They make their choices individually and display it to the band and audience. The musicians improvise in accordance with their directions and the audience then judge how well the band followed their directions; attention is drawn to the relative tempi and dynamics used in different pieces. c.) See 1a.) and c.) Children also ‘help the band to keep time’ by marching, clapping their thighs and finger-clicking. d.) Something of the history of jazz is covered : children are taught that the music originated in the USA. The pieces performed are in a variety of different jazz styles and eras. CD tracks included in this pack provide examples of four different styles of jazz whose development including historical and sociological factors is outlined for the children’s benefit in the ‘story of jazz’. 5) Knowledge, skills and understanding a.) See 1a.) and 3a.) b.) See 4d.) Recorded music in this pack also comes with suggestions to help the children understand, absorb and participate in the music and refers to some of the best known and most influential musicians of the last century.
Music Into Schools 8-3