Saturday, August 31, 2013

Isle of Friday Afternoons


Isle of Tune is one of the best ways to let your students create music on their own at school or at home.  Simply put down a road, a few cars, street lights, houses, trees, plants, and voil√†: they have created a song!  I encourage all of you to experiment with Isle of Tune for a while.  Before you know it, half of your day has disappeared creating music!  This site is so intuitive and easy for students pick up, that I have had many emails from teachers and parents sharing with me how much they love this site! Not only can you create songs, but you can also use Isle of Tune as a fun teaching tool.


I was browsing some blogs this morning, and came across one by Mrs. Tiffany Berting, Music Educator.  She shared some of the compositions her students had created using Isle of Tune. That by itself is a fun way to share your students' music!  One of the links Mrs. Berting shared was a round that she had created using the song, "Nobody Home."  I loved how the cars going around a track showed exactly how a round or canon worked!  I had used this concept of a track with my students last year, but didn't even think of using Isle of Tune.  Of course I had to try creating my own Isle using one of my favorite canons, "Old Abram Brown" from Benjamin Britten's Friday Afternoons.  Here are the links to my isles:


Solo melody - Use this isle to help your students visualize one voice singing "Old Abram Brown" over and over.


3-Part Round - Use this isle to help your students visualize a solo melody followed by a three-part round.  You might also share that even though some of the cars aren't playing music yet, they are still moving together with a steady beat.


2-Part Canon - Use this isle to show that "Old Abram Brown" can be performed at two different tempos at the same time.  The first melody played here is in half time and the second that comes in later is at the same tempo as the other isles.


This year celebrates the 100th birthday of Benjamin Britten.  He was truly one of the great composers of the 20th century, but he also understood the importance of music education.  Here is an excerpt from the Britten 100 website describing why Britten composed the Friday Afternoon collection of songs:
"Britten wrote this set of twelve songs for the boys (age 7-13) of his headmaster brother’s school to sing during their Friday afternoon music lessons. The texts are, as always, carefully chosen to give maximum variety of mood and to challenge and encourage the children’s interest and involvement, mixing both dark and light humour with seriousness and romance to create a little world of changing scenes and emotions."
I also found a video clip from the Britten 100 website featuring one of my favorite directors, Wes Anderson, sharing how the music of Britten has stayed with him for years and even had a part in creating his film "Moonrise Kingdom."  Remember, friends, that the work we do is hugely important, and has the ability to influence and inspire our students to do and create amazing things!

What are some fun ways YOU use Isle of Tune in your classroom?  Is your class celebrating Benjamin Britten's 100th birthday this year?  Share your thoughts and ideas in the comments below!