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A Dot Can Change Everything


A Dot Can Change Everything Topic/Subject: Music (Orchestra) Grade Level: 9-12 Objectives: 1. High school students will be able to clap rhythms containing dotted half notes, dotted quarter notes, and dotted eighth notes with 75 percent accuracy when given a rhythm containing dotted half notes, dotted quarter notes, and dotted eighth notes. 2. High school students will be able to play rhythms containing dotted half notes, dotted quarter notes, and dotted eighth notes with 70 percent accuracy when given a rhythm containing dotted half notes, dotted quarter notes, and dotted eighth notes. Standard(s): H.3.1- Name and explain the meaning of symbols on a musical score. H.3.2- Demonstrate the correct use of musical terminology when discussing music. Goal/Purpose: To show the students that dotted rhythms allow for a greater variety of rhythmic patterns, to show the students how to subdivide dotted rhythms when playing a passage, and to have the students perform a simple piece using dotted rhythms. Materials: Chalkboard, Chalk, manuscript paper with a melody, Greensleeves arrangement in unison for Violin, Viola, Cello, and Bass, Guided Practice Rhythm Time: 20-22 minutes Before class starts: Write on the board the Greensleeves melody without dotted rhythms, and write on a separate part of the chalkboard a dotted half note, a dotted quarter note, and a dotted eighth note with equal signs after each note. Also write out the Guided Practice Rhythm on another section of the chalkboard. Introduction (5 min): Review the counting system with the students by having them count a simple 2 measure passage containing quarter notes, eighth notes, and half notes. Then, explain to the students that although these note values are widely varied, there is still a limit to the variety of rhythms available. Explain to them that dotted rhythms are used to add extra rhythmic

possibilities. Ask the class what they know about the dot symbol and its meaning, and then ask the students about the values of the dotted half note, dotted quarter note, and dotted eighth note. Play for the students on an instrument Greensleeves, once without dotted rhythms and then once with dotted rhythms. Ask them which version sounded more exciting or creative. Demonstration (5 min): With the dotted rhythm version of Greensleeves on the chalkboard, demonstrate how to count dotted rhythms. Explain that subdivision is a critical technique when counting dotted rhythms. Illustrate this practice by explaining that the first step in counting dotted rhythms is to find the smallest note value in the passage. With that note, find out how many of those notes fill one measure of the passage. From there, explain that the students can either write out the counts for the smallest note values across the measures or group the smaller notes into each written note. Once the grouping is finished, show that the counting syllable that is where a new note value starts is what is clapped and said when orally using the counting system. Demonstrate this by doing the rhythm yourself, and then do the rhythm again with the students also doing it, and finally have the students do the rhythm once without you. Guided Practice (5 min): Using the Guided Practice Rhythm on the chalkboard, go through the process stated above step-by-step by having the students volunteer to lead you through the process. If a student says an answer that skips a step, ask how he or she found that answer in order to establish the step-by-step process of the counting system. Once the counting is finished, have the students clap and say aloud the counting of the passage. Do two or three of these with different students helping you complete the analysis. Check for understanding: Ask if anyone has any questions regarding how to count dotted rhythms. Answer these to the best of your ability, but avoid answering questions regarding more advanced techniques such as syncopation and dotted sixteenth notes. Independent Practice: Hand out to the students a line of manuscript paper with two four measure passages. Have the students write in the counting of the passages individually, and when they are done, have the students put their pencils down. While they are working on the rhythms, write the same rhythms on the board. After about 4 minutes or when all the students are finished, ask for the counting of the passages by having a student clap and say aloud what their counting was. Write their answer below the chalkboard version of that rhythm, and then ask if anyone else has a different counting. Once all the options are on the board, point out which one, if any, are correct and repeat the process so students who made errors can watch the process again after attempting it themselves. Do the same process with the second rhythm. Conclusion: Ask the students about the difficulty of counting dotted rhythms, and ask if there are any other questions regarding them. Once those questions are resolved, have the students perform the arrangement of Greensleeves in unison so they can have a chance to physically play dotted rhythms. After running through the small piece, share with the students that with this technique, they can count rhythms that do not land on the beats of a measure, and tell them that they will cover that lesson in the next theory session. If extra time is available, you may go ahead and start on the syncopation lesson or rehearse repertoire, whichever is needed the most.

Reflection Questions: Student: 1. Were the students on task? 2. Did they seem interested with the examples? Teacher: 1. Did I use my stall word too much? 2. Did I make eye contact with the students? Lesson plan: 1. Were the instructions clear and easy to follow? 2. Did the plan adequately cover the material in various ways? Interests: Variety from the norm, commonly heard music, Participation in class, Performing, Music in general Learning Styles: Kinesthetic learning through the use of the instruments to play the rhythms, Visual learning through the use of the chalkboard and of the manuscript paper, Auditory learning through speaking and through questions being asked, and Participatory learning through the use of having students participate in the process.