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Blame it on the Boogie

Question: How can we develop the music planning process?Maria Winder, music adviser at Wellington College of Education, prepared this example of a music planning process using a planning template from The Arts Online website.Download Maria's unit plan "

Blame it on the Boogie (PDF 18 KB)

" (PDF 20kb) Why choose disco music?I was a teenager in the 1970s and that's what we sang, danced to, and listened to. I can vividly remember doing "The Bus Stop" and dancing the Brooklyn Hustle to "Stayin' Alive" at the 3rd Form dance. "Blame it on the Boogie" came a bit later but I always associate that style of music with fun times. There's also a bit of a disco revival going on nowadays, so the children recognise the music! How have you used this unit with teachers?I like to plunge straight in to imitating and repeating body percussion patterns, using the disco music of Gloria Gaynor, The Bee Gees, or The Jacksons as backing. Disco music is ideal for helping people keep in time because it has such a strong and steady beat. I use "Disco Beat" by Jack Body from the resource Our Music by Elizabeth Kerr ( Learning Media p. 46). Playing and reading the score with backing music is a good starting point for developing ideas. It gives teachers a model to work from and motivate students to create music using body percussion patterns. What feedback have you received from teachers?We have had lots of laughs in teacher development workshops. Teachers and their students find the music energising and the activities fun. Even people who loathe disco have still enjoyed recreating the rhythms. Some teachers have been surprised by how easily they have been able to read the rhythmic notation from Jack Body's score. Many of the teaching activities in the unit can be used with students at any level, so they're ideal for small schools with multi-level classes. C an the unit be adapted to use with different styles of music?Today's pop vocal groups, such as S Club 7, Five, Hear Say, and Backstreet Boys use disco style in many of their songs. Of course you don't have to use disco. You could use Split Enz, Che Fu or other New Zealand music. Anything with a steady 4-crotchet beat will do. "Six Months in a Leaky Boat" in Kiwi Kidsongs 11 and "Siva Mai" in Samoan Songs work particularly well. I'd encourage teachers to choose music that they enjoy and that the students relate to. How have you used The Arts Online?I used the music planner template from The Arts Online to write this unit. I saved the template as a word document on a floppy disk and I'm using it when planning other units with teachers in their schools.

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