Home Groove Advantage

David Birrow

My intent as a teacher is to treat being homebound as an opportunity rather than an inconvenience. Rather than just being stuck at home, can students investigate their environment and experiences in a way that is thoughtful and creative? These projects hope to address that while leveraging existing skills and giving them an open-ended assignment that provides them with the opportunity to unleash their creativity in unique ways.

For my 7/8 grade Digital Music Workshop course, students are creating an original song using sounds from their own homes. This draws on the skill of using samples that they learned back in January when we studied hip hop production. In hip hop, the technique of “sampling” is when a portion of a song or one particular sound is reused or repurposed. For this project, students will be going around their houses and recording five different sounds. This could be the sound of a door slamming, a furnace turning on, or a sibling snoring. They will then be piecing together the individual sounds in the Garageband program to make a song. The goal is to create a great song that is completely original. Being aware and curious about the sounds and world around us is a big-picture goal for all my music classes.

You can check out my video instructions and watch me create an original piece with sounds from my own house: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zw6UC5B9y_Y 

Next week, Media Arts, a visual arts class for 5th and 6th graders, will begin creating videos entitled "Top Ten Ways to Avoid Boredom While at Home."  In Media Arts, we study how videos consider purpose, medium, target audience, and message in their design. Students consume a huge amount of media, so the course endeavors to create educated consumers who understand what they are viewing. 

In particular, “persuasive video” is the topic we've studied this semester, so this project fits right in with our curriculum. The goal is to persuade their classmates to make the best use of their time by trying out some of the activities covered in their "top ten list." Students will learn the scripting, editing, and production techniques typically used in YouTube videos. We'll share these videos with the middle school when we are done. Stay tuned!

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