In this activity students will create their own Stomp-style performance (entitled Our Stomping Ground) inspired by what they’ve learnt about music and sound in their own locality. The unit will end with a live performance of their work to parents via Flash Meeting http://flashmeeting.e2bn.net. It is important to note that stomping is most effective on a suspended wooden floor e.g. a gymnasium floor or stage. You may have to talk (very nicely) with the P.E. or drama department in your school!
Separate students into groups. The groups will need to be fairly large (10-15 students per group) so that they have plenty of musicians and performers to create music with impact. Of course, they do not all have to appear ‘on stage’ at the same time. Ask students to brainstorm ideas for impromptu and innovative musical instruments – if they live in a largely industrialised area, these could include oil cans etc. Or if they live in a rural area they might use farming implements or wooden barrels. They don’t need to adhere slavishly to a theme – a nod to their local heritage is sufficiently effective.
We’ve found that it helps to ask the group to nominate a conductor. The conductor does not stand at the front ‘conducting’ in a traditional sense but, instead, is responsible for co-ordinating the group as they compose and perform. Explain to them that they should begin by laying down a melody or underlying beat to which they then add other rhythms, beats or instrumental/vocal top-lines. Explain to students that the performance need only last for between 2 and 4 minutes and (because the audience will be able to see as well as hear them) that they should give consideration to the ‘physical’ performance also – the performance will be more effective if they are moving rather than standing still.
When they’re ready, students should announce the forthcoming performance via Twitter, Facebook and the school website. Ask parents to send their email address to you so that you can send them an invite to the Flash performance (these can be removed later if necessary). Give plenty of notice so that parents can arrange to attend. Do send guidelines to parents on using Flash Meeting e.g. ‘Do not click the interrupt button at any time’. If you have 3 groups of 10 students the session should only last 10-15 minutes so try and organise it for lunchtime so parents who are at work can tune in.
Time needed Composing can go on and on if it goes unchecked so it may help to set a deadline of, say, 3 hours or 3 lessons.
- Innovative and impromptu musical instruments – from plastic barrels to mops and buckets – let students’ imagination run wild!
- Video recording device and a device with Internet access.
- Flash Meeting account. If your school or education authority will not allow you access it (and you cannot persuade them to change their minds), you can skip this activity and go to the next where students perform to an audience at the school.
- YouTube account.
Hints and tips
- If you live in an area that is home to, say, a famous car manufacturing centre, then they may choose to use a couple of car bonnets and hub-caps as instruments. It isn’t as difficult as you may think to get your hands on these from a student’s parent that is a mechanic or, alternatively, a local garage or scrap merchant.
- They may wish to watch other Stomp performance to get further inspiration and ideas. We like the simplicity of https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tZ7aYQtIldg
- We like to give students a tick list of musical elements so that they can ensure that they have a good variety in their compositions. Whilst they do not have to include all elements, this strategy does ensure a good level of ‘quality control”!
- A composition is like a story, so remind students that their work should have a discernable beginning, middle and end.
- How much use students make of their voices (be it singing, chanting etc.) is up to them. Some may be especially influenced by the previous activities on the importance of lyrics and will want to incorporate lyrics into the composition too.
Change here for
- CROSS-CURRICULAR: LINE 8 | STATION 5 | BUSTIN’ MOVES
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