Kiss! Kiss! Yuck! Yuck! Gets a premiere music setting
Music - Sound Arts
Dr Jan Bolton
Ngaio School , Wellington
Duration of Project
27 students, years 5 and 6
Jan, the artist, provides feedback to the students as they work.
The students composed a musical setting for younger children based upon the award winning children's book Kiss! Kiss! Yuck! Yuck! By Kyle Mewburn. The book was brought to life through music composition, narration, and use of music technologies.
The composer, Dr Jan Bolton, co-composed with the students. This was a continuation of her model of e-learning called eMotif which involves a blended learning approach combining both web-based and classroom activities.
In this project, students learned new compositional strategies and gained new ideas about creating music using multi-model approaches. They were challenged in many ways in their use of a range of technologies as they tried manipulating music software. Importantly they established relationships with a music mentor in a web-based learning environment.
Students work on their compositions.
The blended approach to music learning - a combination of both face-to face-work in the classroom and online learning in a virtual classroom environment - worked very successfully. There was a high quality, collaborative partnership between the teacher and the composer as they kept in close touch on both the planning and teaching.
A culminating CD was produced by the students and Jan in a recording studio. For many students this was their first experience of working in such an environment. They were enthusiastic and excited, and all were involved in recording processes and making decisions for mixing tracks.
The students gained compositional knowledge and learned how music and information technology can be integrated together. They identified new compositional strategies, which they brought to their creative work in music.
In learning how to use advanced aspects of Garageband to compose pieces of music to fit selected scenery, they gained new ideas about creating using multi-modal literacies. They learned how to use a keyboard to add sounds to fit specific loops, to create files, and then how to compress files in order to upload them.
The students experienced a professional recording studio which was an exciting and motivating real-life experience. Here they learned to narrate and to sing to their soundtracks and were constantly challenged to think about what and how they were doing as they developed their revision techniques.
The students were challenged in multiple technological ways with both manipulation of music software and establishing relationships in a web-based learning environment with a mentor.
They were delighted to each receive a quality tangible product of their endeavours - a CD which was attached to the inside cover of their own copy of the book, Kiss! Kiss! Yuk! Yuk!
The students selected were identified as gifted and talented in visual arts, but many were also gifted in other learning areas of the curriculum. Some of the students were responsible for regularly uploading photos and writing commentaries of the process for the school intranet. Other students interviewed the artist, and made speeches at assembly and at the final celebration. Their ideas and experiences were transferred into their literacy learning in English by developing their skills as 'effective oral, written, and visual communicators who are able to think critically and in depth'.
Science: Students developed understandings of the composition and properties of matter, the changes it undergoes, and the energy involved. The molecular changes in materials such as clay, wax and plaster and the effects of temperature and humidity were studied.
Mathematics: Students used measurement to increase scale.
Information and Communication Technology (ICT): Students extended their ICT skills using video and PowerPoint to record, present and share information through the school intranet.
Impact on school community
This project enhanced partnerships between students/teacher/composer and parents by allowing parents to be a part of the process through and invitation to join a session at the recording studio and to attend the 'launch' of the soundtrack. Parents and the wider school community enthusiastically supported the project and were proud of the high quality, semi-professional, student outcomes.
The soundtrack was shared with other children in the school (buddy classes) and was placed on display in the school library.
The school benefited in using new resources and technologies for the project and will be able to continue their own development of music composition programmes based on the project.
A real highlight for the children and their families was when the illustrators of the book visited the children and presented them with their own CD.
I learnt how music and information technology can be integrated together and how to use aspects of GarageBand alongside the children. It was exciting to observe how a popular children's picture book can be bought to life through music, narration and use of information technology - this was valuable professional development that I can be transfer into other units of work/inquiry at a later date.(Classroom Teacher)
I particularly appreciated the chance to co-compose with children. It is rewarding to enter into a completely two-way relationship where co- contributions are valued. The chance to compose a song for young children to sing was also appreciated. I continue to refine the model of e-learning that eMotif is based on and this project afforded new insights into what can really work in the model, particularly in relation to what is possible with a blended learning approach (both classroom and web-based) with younger students than I have previously worked with.(Artist)
Students work on their compositions.
The varied areas of learning opportunities made possible by the nature of the project enabled both creativity and multi-modality. These learning opportunities addressed multiple intents of the NZ Curriculum including learning in the arts, specifically Music - Sound Arts. The four strands of the Music - Sound Arts Curriculum were encompassed, notably the Practical Knowledge (PK) and Developing Ideas (DI) strands as students experimented with sound, manipulated, selected and created ideas and structures in sound/music.
They also developed the key competencies of 'thinking'; through problem solving high order creative and technology skills; 'managing self' - through the discipline of seeing through a real world music project; and 'participating and contributing' in the following ways:
- Rich music learning was possible, in particular, development of creative music making skills and knowledge about specific compositional strategies.
- Advancement of digital technology 'know how' was made possible through working with music software, studio mixing software, and involvement in a web-based learning environment. Many students experienced a sound studio environment for the first time and couldn't wait to return to such an environment. While in the studio all students were involved in recording processes and making decisions for mixing tracks.
- The composition task required students to work in pairs. They needed to continually manage their own behaviour and contribution to the group and use collaborative skills to create and revise their work.
- Acceptance of constructive feedback from the composer was crucial to the action/ reflection cycle.
Where to next
Following the project, groups of students wrote a "School Journal" article about their experiences on this project to allow other New Zealand children to be inspired and informed.
Since Jan's experience of working as an Artist in Schools in 2008, she considered it desirable to make the 2009 eMotif project a more blended learning approach (face-to-face and online delivery) rather than a purely web-based approach. This seemed very successful in the Ngaio School project which involved students in years 5 and 6. Young students are increasingly able to use and manipulate technology, and music software is ideal for exploring sound and developing creative expression.