Monday, March 21, 2016

Putting the A in STEAM through Composition

This past week I had the privilege of attending our school's STEM night for the first time. This is an annual event for our students and families. Classroom teachers present information to parents about math strategies and websites they can use at home. Our STEM teachers present about technology and creative problem-solving skills that they use in their classroom.

Arts and music teachers rarely ever attend this particular event, so I'm proud that the STEM teachers asked me if they could include the fun new game Compose Yourself that I've been using with my classes. I gladly volunteered to attend and man the station!



I first learned about this game when someone posted about it in the Music Teachers facebook group. I've been using it in different ways with different students. For younger kids, I've been using it as a whole group activity on the SmartBoard. With my older kids, I have them figure out how to play the patterns on xylophones and/or take them to the computer lab to create their compositions online. 



In order to play this online composition game, you need to purchase the cards ahead of time. I purchased mine from Amazon and have included a link if you would like to get it for yourself! (Note: this is an Amazon affiliate link and I receive a commission from purchases made through this link.)



 It comes with a deck of 60 cards, each with one measure of melody, that can be flipped upside down or turned over to create endless melodic combinations. Once you pick your cards, you can input them into the Compose Yourself website and hear your melody played back (with optional harmonization by a full orchestra) and then you can further edit it until it sounds the way you want it to.


At STEM night, I set up a table with some chromebooks and had my copy of the game cards ready to go. It was so great to see the kids' faces light up as they heard what their composition sounded like after it was played back. And it was also great for their parents and teachers to see how we integrate technology into music class!