Thursday, 10 July 2014

Being In a Band

I've been in bands in one form or another since I was about 14 or 15.
Mostly, it's a road of high expectations and low output for the best part of 30 years.

But in the last 2 or 3 years, I've been lucky enough to hit the right synergy- that group of people who understand each other and play well together. I love playing with my band Brightside, and I want to introduce that idea, of playing in a rock and roll band to every student who comes into my class.

So that's what I do.
How?

Well, I'm fortunate enough that I don't have groups larger than 20. So I can set up a group on my Chromebooks, working in a music related task (more about that later), another group on keyboards
 (both groups on headphones) and I have 4-7 kids left to cycle through Drums, Bass, Guitars(s) and Keyboard.
My guitars are tuned to an open E chord and have stickers on the G, A and B positions. I tell the Bass guitarist to only play the top string which also has the same stickers. The root notes are also marked out on the keyboard.
Then it's just a matter of getting the drummer to find a regular beat. Some kids do this naturally, some need a bit of coaching but most can manage a 1234 on the toms. Once I know what the drummer can manage I'll pick up an acoustic guitar and lead the other instrumentalists in a 1 minute jam calling chord changes as I see fit.

 Then everyone rotates and we start again.

Nobody gets graded on this. There is no homework or follow up. My Year 7 classes do it as an introduction lesson. My Year 8s do it as an exit lesson so that that know how far they have come.

Everybody leaves smiling.
And that's just one reason I love my job.

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