Demonstration of Kansas Music Teacher Standards
Kansas Music Standard #2: The teacher of music has skills in improvising melodies, variations and accompaniments.
- The teacher understands how to perform written accompaniments on the music keyboard or chord instrument and how to transpose accompaniments to appropriate keys.
- The teacher improvises accompaniments that are stylistically appropriate.
- The teacher improvises original melodies in a variety of styles, over given harmonic progression each in a consistent style, meter, and tonality.
- The teacher uses resources to illustrate and teach improvisation.
- The teacher performs simple accompaniments appropriate for classroom use.
- The teacher transposes on musical instruments at sight.
Creativity: Improvisation on What the Mind Can Do!
Improvisation is one of the weakest areas in today’s school system; this comes from the inability to allow our young students to be creative early in their youth. It can be anything from a teacher setting limitations on young students art work. We have all seen or heard this, “Don’t color outside the lines,” or “You can’t have a blue duck!”In setting these limitations, a student resents the idea of wanting to create, in fear that they are not follow the rules which were set in place for them. As a result, as they arrive to adulthood, the idea of being creative is simply a bad taste in their. By letting a child be creative, and have unrestricted expression this indubitably will lead to creativity in other areas.
The ability to improvise is simply creating an aural picture at that current moment; painting an image with notes and rhythms on the blank canvas of creativity. By instilling in our young students that there are no wrong ways in their creative process, they never have fear as they create. One of the many issues many students say before the play an improvised solo is, “What if I sound bad?” If we can mold students to believe that as they solo there are no “wrong” notes, this breaks the shackles that fear has on us and allows us to be free as we improvise. However, I’m not saying a student should just play any sort of solo over a structured jazz melody, knowing how to utilize techniques that were learned and area acquired in a specific content area, we an extra tool in the students improvising ability.
ApplicationIn my jazz experience found the improvising is simply build a solo with the tools you already know! By knowing your scales, and applying cool rhythms with it, what you are doing is making a solo. If you look carefully at any solo you have ever played, it is the same principal. The composer has a chord progression in mind, and then writes the melody to fit these chords. Improvisation is just doing that in reverse order. For example, most jazz charts have the progression of II – V – I, or other “jazzy” chords mixed in. Usually the II – V – I progression is of a certain key, such as Bb, C or G. So if a student knows these scales, they can simply compose a solo idea over this progression using the correct scale. As Jazz melodies become more advanced, this is a great way to teach music theory and key concepts of what the music is doing. The lesson plan attached to this page, show how we as music educators can begin this process early on in our student’s music education.
There are many ways we can make improvisation stronger in our music programs, but it must start early on. Attached to this web page is a link of a lesson plan that may be used to help students learn to be creative, by improvising melodies from their student work books. To add some depth to imporvisation, the technique of being able to transpose is great ability in musican should be able to use. The link, transposing, break down the method I use to transpose when I play any jazz solo.
Lesson on Creativity
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