Critical Pedagogy for Music Education developed by Frank Abrahams

Sample Lesson Plan


Lesson by Lynnel Joy Jenkins, Westminster Choir College of Rider University
Materials: Tamati Soso, Traditional South African Folksong; Cinquain, by Lynnel Joy Jenkins; We’re in Grade Six by Marilyn Davidson


Who We Are Engaging Musical Imagination 1 Honoring Their World
Children are asked to close their eyes and think about the following: “You are going to meet a person from another country for the first time. But, the only way you can communicate with this person is through sharing your music. Pick a piece of music that is your favorite to give to or to sing to or to play for this person that would tell them who you are.” Students share their pieces and teacher lists them as a web on the board or on chart paper in the front of the room. If appropriate, children sing some of their pieces.
Experiencing Music (6, 7) Exposition
2 Sharing the Experience
Teacher moderates a discussion to answer the following: What about the music you picked defines who you are? Are there any patterns among the songs listed on the board that show how we are similar and how we are different?
Who They May Become Engaging Musical Intelligence 3 Connecting Their World to the Concept
Students listen to the teacher perform Tamati Soso, a folk song from South Africa with a rhythmic ostinato and asks, “Where you do suppose this song is from? How do you know?” The cultural context of the South African folk song is given. Students are invited to perform the song with a rhythmic ostinato. Students are divided into small groups and create a new ostinato, using body percussion, to complement or replace the existing ostinato. Groups share for the class.
Connecting Music (8, 9) Development
4 Dialoguing Together
Together, the teacher and the students find all the musical devices in Tamati Soso. Teacher presents the definition of ostinato, explaining how it is used as a compositional device in composing music and how it is notated.
5 Practicing the Concept
Students devise a checklist of the criteria from the previous step (step 4). They listen to a performance of We’re in Grade Six chant and, using their checklist (i.e., rubric) find the ostinato and perform it.
Who We Might Become Together Engaging Musical Creativity 6 Connecting Word to World
Teacher reads a cinquain while the class performs a rhythmic ostinato. Students, again in their groups, are asked to compose their own cinquain with ostinato. The ostinato should contain spoken speech and body percussion. One member of the cooperative group will write the ostinato down using traditional notation when possible.
Creating Music (3, 4, 5) Improvisation
7 Assessing Transformation
Each group performs their chant and ostinato. The other groups critique and discuss the ostinato in terms of their having met the criteria developed in step 5 of this lesson. How does the music reflect “Who We Are and What We Have –as MUSICIANS—become?
Engaging Musical Celebration through Performance 8 Acknowledging Transformation
Students perform their ostinati with speech and body percussion for their sixth grade colleagues in another class. Students perform their compositions for their sixth grade colleagues in another class.
Performing Music (1, 2) Recapitulation