(3) Three Stages of Creating Activities

In document Membership of the Ad Hoc Committee of Music Curriculum Development iv (Page 50-65)

Classroom creating activities are not meant for students to create large-scale compositions. They provide students with experience in creating to cultivate their creativity and deepen their understanding in music. The process of creating activities can generally be divided into three stages:

(i) Inducement Stage

Teachers should set clear objectives for creating in accordance with the interests and abilities of their students, provide information and guidance, as well as organise related activities to stimulate students’ motivation to create. Teachers may use topics from everyday life to motivate students to create; for example, teachers discuss and analyse with them how the music and screen pictures complement one another in a TV commercial, and the compositional devices used in jingles as well as their characteristics (Scheme of Work (6), page 97). It is highly desirable for teachers to present their own compositions as examples to arouse student interest in creating.

(ii) Development Stage

In students’ creating process, teachers should observe carefully, provide guidance and offer appropriate encouragement to them. The process can be divided into several segments such as developing ideas, exploring and selecting sounds, applying music elements, revising and notating creative works. By breaking down the creating process into segments, it will be easier for teachers to provide feedback to students and help them reflect and develop creative ideas. In accordance with the objectives for individual creating activities, teachers should set assessment criteria to assess students’ creative works and make them known to

students so as to lay down the direction and reference for their creative works (Assessment Exemplar VI: Project Learning - Sound Project “The Sound of Nature”, page 145).

(iii) Completion Stage

Teachers should arrange students to perform their creative works in the form of live or recorded performances, through which students are given opportunities to introduce their creative ideas, the devices being employed, and the structures and messages being conveyed in the creative works. Teachers should guide students, using the predetermined assessment criteria, to conduct self and peer assessment (Assessment Exemplar VII: Self and Peer Assessment, page 151).

(4) Notes on Designing and Conducting Creating Activities

(i) Creating an Open Environment

Students need an open and receptive learning environment to take risks in creating. Because there are no right or wrong ways of creating, teachers should be objective and receptive towards students’ creative works, helping them feel safe to express and explore their creative ideas freely. In guiding students to use compositional devices more effectively, teachers may ask open-ended questions such as how to develop music materials in creative work to capture audience’s attention, how to use instrumental timbre to make the music more interesting. This will not only facilitate students’ discussion and brave attempt, but also stimulate their thoughts and make appropriate revisions.

(ii) Using Different Points of Entry

Teachers could use themes or stories to stimulate students’ motivation and interest for creating, such as events in everyday life. While students may use or imitate sounds from the environment, they need guidance to develop the music elements and structure in a


and ideas that could help them create their own works. Therefore a broad range of listening repertoire and resources should be available for students. Teachers should guide students to analyse the compositional devices employed in different music examples. Students’

imagination and motivation can also be stimulated by being exposed to works of visual arts, literature and media art.

(iii) Using Different Groupings

In organising creating activities, teachers should use different groupings flexibly such as whole class, groups, individual or mixed combination. In general, as most of the students in Key Stage 1 could not engage in group activities independently and are not used to the group learning mode, the adoption of whole-class approach in creating activities is more suitable for them. Teachers should provide each student with equal opportunities to participate in creating activities. For example, students are encouraged to take turns to perform their short creative works, or to use worksheets appropriately for creating. Teachers will understand the progress of individual students through observing their performance.

In addition, teachers may select individual students’ works according to their characteristics, and guide the class to analyse and appraise them.

Creating activities in groups allow students to exchange ideas and learn from each other, and also stimulate students’ creativity, develop generic skills, and minimise the pressure of creating the whole piece individually. In general, students should be allowed to form their own groups and work with the classmates they are familiar with. This will greatly enhance communication, cooperation and group dynamics. Decision for the division of work within the group may be left to students on the condition that responsibility is equally shared among group members and the duty roster is clearly set out for teachers to keep track of. In addition, the groups should not be too large as divided opinions are more likely to occur in large groups, which will affect the team spirit. It will also be more difficult for teachers to monitor the progress of individual students in large groups.

Classroom management is often a major concern when conducting group activities. Teachers should set rules with students prior to the activities such as determining the signals for keeping quiet and pausing. To reduce the level of sounds generated by students playing

instruments simultaneously, teachers may assign different kinds of activities to different groups. For example, teachers may stipulate that only two groups try out on instruments at one time, whereas the other groups involve in other activities such as researching, notating music or revising their creative works. The groups then exchange the nature of their tasks after a certain period of time.

Allowing students to create individually provides more room for them and cultivates independent abilities in creating. Teachers should arrange creating activities for individual students according to their abilities. They may also offer individual guidance to students on creating after lessons. In addition, teachers may combine different modes of grouping in creating activities. For instance, the introductory and concluding sections in a creative work can be created by the whole class, whereas the main sections and accompaniment can be created by groups or individuals. The whole creative work will then be arranged and revised by the whole class. This will be a whole-class creative work, and is an example of flexibly combining different groupings.

(iv) Handling Student Progress Flexibly

Teachers should provide students with space for creating. If students go beyond the expected learning progress, demonstrate unexpected performance or lose track, teachers should not regard their creative works as wrong. Neither should teachers blame or discourage them.

Instead, such students should be suitably guided and encouraged. For instance, students with better performance should be given more challenging creating tasks, whereas students with less satisfactory performance should be given more instructions. Teachers should let students know that their efforts will be appreciated in order to sustain their interest and confidence in creating.

(v) Using Diversified Methods to Record Creative Works

Maintaining a record of students’ creative works systematically helps students keep track


process of creating. The content of the Diary could be determined according to students’

abilities, the number of students in a group or the nature of the creative work. Moreover, teachers should encourage students to compile their creative works as a personal portfolio so that students will gain a sense of achievement, and it will be easier for teachers to follow up.

Creating is a very good entry point for students to learn to use notation. Teachers, with due reference to students’ knowledge and the content of creative works, should make use of this opportunity to introduce different forms of notations such as graphic notation, rhythmic notation, staff notation, jianpu (  ) and gongchipu (   ) .

(vi) Assessing Creative Works in a Positive Manner

Both the process and product are equally important in creating. Apart from assessing students’ creative works, teachers should assess students’ performance during the creating process from different perspectives and provide appropriate feedback. Teachers should appropriately guide students to discuss and stimulate their reflection on creating through questions such as:

• Does the creative work have some kind of purposes? Can these purposes be achieved?

• What is the structure of the creative work? Does it have an apparent contrast?

• Is the length of the creative work appropriate? Are there any parts that could not achieve the desired effects?

• Are there unique features in the creative work? How are these achieved?

• If the creative work is performed more than once, will the effects be similar for each performance?

Teachers can observe students’ performance in groups so as to understand how they develop appropriate values, attitudes and generic skills during the creating process.

Teachers should set appropriate assessment criteria which are in line with the objectives and content of each individual activity. Teachers may develop these criteria together with students if they possess adequate abilities, and students should be informed of these criteria before they commence creating. However, teachers need to be flexible and open-minded

when using these criteria to assess students’ creative works. For instance, when students are asked to develop melodies by using sequences, teachers should not regard their work as wrong if they also employ other techniques in addition to the prescribed means for melodic development. On the other hand, if sequences are not employed in students’ work, teachers should assess the work with reference to other predetermined criteria, instead of regarding the work as completely wrong, and subsequent follow-up actions should be taken. Students’

interest and confidence in creating can only be fostered with positive reinforcement and encouragement.

Teachers can guide students to conduct self and peer assessments through discussions or questionnaires. In the process, students learn to appreciate some features of the creative works and make suggestions for improvement; thus, students’ critical thinking skills and the attitude of being receptive to others’ opinions can be developed.

(vii) Using Resources Effectively

Music lessons normally take place in the Music room. However, if teachers could arrange a larger room or a number of rooms for students to conduct group activities such as exploring sound, interpreting, revising and rehearsing, students’ construction and development of creative ideas will be facilitated. In the situation where the required number of music instruments are unavailable, teachers may arrange for students to take turns. Teachers can also encourage students to create by using voice, body sounds, audio recordings, sounds produced by electronic equipment or any objects.

Students need time to generate, plan, try out and revise their creative ideas. Therefore, teachers should encourage them to make good use of after-school hours and school facilities for creating. Arrangements can also be made for students with more experience in creating to help those who need more assistance.

(viii) Cultivating an Atmosphere of Creating in School


school. These will promote music creating and provide opportunities for students to learn from others. Teachers should extend students’ experience in creating through different channels such as recommending students to join music creating activities outside school and encouraging them to compose music for different school occasions.

4.2.2 Performing

Performing activities that include the interpretation of students’ own or others’ creative works using the human voice and instruments are essential experiences to develop students’

understanding of music. Through participating in performing activities, students can develop music reading, listening and performing skills; experience and express their feelings; and enhance their aesthetic sensitivity. In recreating music during performance, students learn to interpret composers’ ideas and express their personal understanding of the music. During the pleasant processes of practising and performing, students develop their generic skills and cultivate proper values and attitudes.

(1) General Principles

(i) Cultivating music imagination and musicality to enhance aesthetic sensitivity;

(ii) Choosing suitable quality repertoire of different styles; and

(iii) Designing progressive and varied exercises with clear objectives.

(2) Main Areas of Performing Activities

(i) Singing: solo and choral singing

(ii) Instrumental playing: solo and ensemble playing

Performing activities are often connected with music reading, which is one of the essential skills in students’ music learning. Thus, music reading is included in the Learning Objectives and examples of learning activities under the Learning Target of Developing Music Skills

and Processes. For the examples on performing activities, please refer to the section on Developing Music Skills and Processes in Section 3.3.2 “Examples of Learning Activities Leading to the Learning Objectives” on page 26.

(3) Notes on Designing and Conducting Performing Activities

(i) Emphasising Both Aesthetics and Skills Development

Apart from developing students’ performing skills, performing activities enable students to cultivate their aesthetic sensitivity and ability to express themselves. Clear objectives should be set to guide students to practise consistently so that required skills will be developed progressively. However, mechanical drilling on technical skills is inadequate as students’ imagination, listening abilities, and aesthetic sensitivity for interpreting and expressing feelings should also be cultivated. Undue emphasis on technical skills may be devoid of artistic quality. On the other hand, the internal meaning of music cannot be adequately expressed without fluent performing techniques. Therefore, the development of performing skills and aesthetic sensitivity should be given equal emphasis, and they complement each other.

(ii) Exploring the Use of Human Voice and Instruments

Both singing and instrumental playing are activities which involve the senses, intelligence and physical skills. Students should be encouraged to explore constantly and practise consistently so as to express music through the effective control of their voice and instruments. In the process of exploring and practising, teachers should guide students to experiment boldly and pay attention to the performance effects such as changes in timbre, dynamics, tempo and expression so as to make immediate judgement and timely adjustment.

(iii) Practising Effectively


students address these technical problems. In this way, students are facilitated to practise in a more efficient way and mechanical drills can be avoided. Excessive pauses and corrections during the practice could be frustrating to students and they could prevent students from having a holistic understanding of a piece of music. Therefore, it is important for students to have the experience of performing the whole piece without interruption. Moreover, as teachers often have to pay attention to particular parts of an ensemble, students in the other parts may be asked to practise fingerings, whisper the text simultaneously or observe peer performances and offer suggestions for improvement, so as to encourage the active participation of all students.

(iv) Developing Abilities in Interpretation

In general, there is more than one way to interpret music. To a large extent, instead of mandating the only way for interpretation, much room is left to performers for making their own music decisions in aspects such as tempo, dynamics, timbre and mood. Students should observe the style and context of a piece, and try to explore different ways creatively to interpret the piece for desirable effects. This is called recreating. Teachers may ask questions and discuss with students for better analysis and understanding of the music so as to make decisions on interpretation. Allowing students to interpret music by following instructions from score indiscriminately will hinder the development of students’ imagination and creativity. Besides, teachers should encourage students to listen attentively to rhythm, pitch, timbre, balance of voices / parts for developing their abilities in making judgements on interpretation.

(v) Developing Music Reading Skills

Music reading is one of the major skills in learning music. Building an internal sense of rhythm and pitch is vital for developing music reading skills, and also helps students to perform and create.

Notation is a kind of coding system for recording music and is not the music itself. Priority should be given for students to experience music before music reading is introduced. This is the notion of ‘sound before symbols’. Music reading and notation

should be learned through integrated activities such as creating, performing and listening so that students would understand music in a comprehensive manner.

Teachers can help students develop music reading skills by flexibly adopting a variety of ways to read music such as using letter names, sol-fa names, rhythm names, rhythmic sol-fa names, hand-signs and finger-staves. Besides the standard staff notation, students

should also have some basic understanding of other notation systems such as graphic notation, jianpu (  ) and gongchipu (   ) and learn to use these notations in appropriate circumstances.

(vi) Cultivating Positive Performing Attitudes

Proper attitudes towards performing should be cultivated among students, and teachers should give them timely support and encouragement. Students should be encouraged to develop positive, humble and ever-improving attitudes in classroom performing activities, concerts or music competitions. Concerts and music competitions are formal performance occasions that could be used to develop students’ self-confidence and musical expression as well as offer them opportunities to appreciate the performances of others. In addition, performing activities need to be carried out with discipline, and could cultivate students’

proper attitudes and self-discipline.

(4) Singing

Singing, which is one of the most natural ways to express human feelings, can be conducted even in environments with limited resources. Through singing, students derive joy and satisfaction while having their self-confidence and ability of expression cultivated. The following are some suggestions for designing and conducting singing activities:


with clear objectives should be used progressively and flexibly to develop students’ singing skills such as proper posture, appropriate breathing, enunciation and intonation. Apart from the commonly-used vocal exercises, teachers can make use of materials with educational value from songs being taught in lessons to arrange vocal exercises. Thus, vocal training can be combined with singing activities in which students can apply what they have learnt from the exercises.

(ii) Providing Proper Singing Demonstration

Students are often good at imitation, especially junior students who usually learn through imitation. Thus, it is important to provide good singing demonstration for students to model when developing their singing skills and understanding of music styles. Teachers may not necessarily be good singers, but they should be able to offer proper singing demonstration.

When introducing a new song, teachers should demonstrate with proper expression and style so that students will have a thorough understanding of the song and their interest in singing will be induced. Teachers may make use of quality audio and video recordings, or ask students with better singing skills to prepare in advance for demonstration in class.

(iii) Using Quality and Suitable Songs

Quality songs will not only stimulate students’ learning motivation, but also enhance their abilities in music appreciation. With due consideration to the needs in learning and teaching as well as students’ music abilities and interests, teachers should choose songs with various levels of difficulty, from different cultures and styles so as to broaden students’ music horizon and foster their interest in singing. In general, students are more familiar with and have a preference for pop songs. However, many pop songs are composed especially for particular singers with specific singing ranges and techniques. Unison singing of these songs in class is therefore not appropriate. It is necessary for teachers to choose suitable songs for students with reference to the Learning Objectives and music content. Teachers need to pay attention to the compass of songs and students’ voice change during puberty, and to transpose or rearrange the songs where necessary.

In document Membership of the Ad Hoc Committee of Music Curriculum Development iv (Page 50-65)