Creative Music Composition

Creative Music Composition

Enhancing Engagement through Creative Music Composition

Project Participants: Jo-Ann Fox and Amy Copeland

Project Reflection Summary

The “Enhancing Engagement through Creative Music Composition” grant provided twenty-two students with the rare opportunity to create, collaborate, modify, and add the valuable art component to our STEAM based school. By using keyboards that would otherwise have been impossible to purchase for our educational community, this fortunate group of students were the first of many to benefit from this grant.

Groups of students tackled the the essential question “How might we program and engineer music to be creative and auditorily pleasing to a wide audience?” in a number of creative ways. Students who were in the Quantum school band were enthusiastic about bringing their instruments and playing together in conjunction with the technology. Those who preferred creating digital music were excited to integrate the feel of a “real” instrument to their use of garageband. The students composed and shared a variety of musical styles.

Throughout the project, students were enthusiastic and showed persistence and a willingness to revise their ideas and thinking. Creativity abounded and students were engaged and focused. Music is a key component of culture. The music our students created and shared caused this Elements class to feel like a true community by the end of the experience. On behalf of the students and staff, thank you for awarding Quantum Academy this grant.

What went well?

  • The kids were excited about using the keyboards.
  • Students worked well in collaborative groups.
  • The students who were in band were inspired to integrate their own instruments into their song allowing them to integrate technology and instruments.
  • The students learned some basic music theory such as tempo, musical form, keys, and how music composition can create emotion.
  • There was enthusiasm throughout the project.
  • Students were so engaged in creating their song, they worked hard to refine and enhance their song throughout the project.
  • Students designed their own survey to gather peer feedback.
  • Reflective journals were effective for gathering qualitative data on the musical process.

What would we improve for next time?

  • We learned the keyboards do not connect well with iPads, but do connect and work well with laptops.
  • Next time we would help students better prepare how the collaborative song will be made. We will create jobs for each person in the group to do.
  • There were some students who were hurt by feedback. So next time, there will be time spent understanding what constructive feedback is, how to give/receive feedback empathetically, and how feedback can enhance your project.

In the chart below, you will read what students wrote in their project journals throughout the duration of this class. We randomly selected 12 student journals to share (there were 22 students in the class).

Student Project Journals
Successes Challenges Reflections
Student 1 The song “Italof.” Finding the right tempo. I really like this elements class because we got to make music with 2 different objects, laptop, and keyboard. I was excited to play our song but when I saw the feedback from the class. I wasn’t happy.
Student 2 We found a way to make our song great! One of the kids in our group did not want to use his Ipad. I think it went sell when we are playing. I wish we had more instruments. People like our song. It was fun. We had good comments.
Student 3 Switching instruments, making my part, working with others. It was okay. There were a few problems but it was fun.
Student 4 We work well together.We found everyone’s instruments.

My other group members were percussion, piano, and flute.

I was the clarinet.

The most challenging part was timing. Forgotten instruments was a problem. A bit of arguing. I really liked this class, it was really cool. What I liked most was the part that we could make our groups and compose our own songs. The comments were good overall but there were some rude ones.
Student 5 How we’re putting the music together and where we’re putting it. The challenges were working together and productivity. It was hard with a lot of people but it got better when we settled in a little bit so it was fine.
Student 6 Music, placing the beats Working together! Garage band in general It was hard in the last three days. I loved my reviews.
Student 6 Figuring out the keys.We made our song! We learned our song together. One student used two drums. Not having our things. I think it went really well but maybe get the keyboards and download everything. I liked the feedback.
Student 7 We are starting our song with calm, happy, sad, then happy again. The setting of our song. The notes we played.Notes we played:

Calm notes= DBC

Happy notes= BBC

Sad notes= FG

Happy notes= BBC

TimeMissing people



Edtech problems

Good- Fun and working togetherBad- I wish the kids were more respectful when we were presenting. Be nicer.
Student 8 Making really good notes. Helping others make really good notes. One of the kids in our own group. I’m doing better with helping.
Student 9 Creating notes for the piano. Composing music to sound good. Working with (a particular student) finding a good piano
Student 10 I had challenges with (a particular student) We’re going to do the song we are practicing and we need to find out how we are going to do the transition. I loved this class but I had troubles when we performed.
Student 11 We got the project done and made the music how we wanted it. The work got deleted.
Student 12 Figuring out the key. We finished. Downloading the music. I used 2 drum we can’t memorize it.