We have spent the last few weeks starting our major scale cycle. Each kid should be able to cycle do-sol in G, C, F, Bb major at this point. We spend about 30-40 minutes of an 87 minute period on ear training and scales. Their homework was to cycle Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star through those four keys.
After listening to the homework I model opening Garageband and recording a drum track, bass track, and keyboard track. I use Smart instrument settings and autoplay. I stress we will use Bb chords. Garageband defaults to an 8 measure composition. I spend maybe five minutes on this demonstration.
I ask them to compose a four track composition with an melody on top of them playing in Concert Bb. I give them 30 minutes.
Most spend too much time on the drum track. Almost all got four tracks in the correct key and something recorded. I then played each track for the class to evaluate.
When done they realize that:
- It really doesn't matter what the drum track is.
- It really matters if you play with bad tone or rhythm.
- It really matters if you play a wrong note.
- Students who created a "melody" had a hit on their hands.
This lesson really works.