Sound Scapes! Rhythm Stand

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    Hi everyone, I’m really excited about connecting the act of teaching kids composing with the act of performing repertoire examples that are readily available and can directly connect to the composition activity. I think it helps us go deeper and helps the students see the example of a professional composer and hopefully get inspired to take the example into one of their own works. I often begin introducing composition to a new group by exploring soundscapes together–all kinds of made up sounds using our voices, tapping, keys, clapping, etc. Then we organize the sounds in different ways for different effects and just have fun improvising different combinations of sounds and silence. For band classes, one of my favorite repertoire examples that incorporates an effective soundscape is The Headless Horseman by Timothy Broege. The opening bars are an incredible soundscape! I just listened to Rhythm Stand by Jennifer Higdon:
    I think this is a fantastic example of a soundscape with a rhythmic element. I think at the more difficult end, Frozen Cathedrals by Mackey is also a great example of a rhythmic soundscape. Jody Blackshaw from Australia also creates lots of super cool soundscapes in her pieces–check out Twist if you haven’t heard her music yet! She has great pieces at the beginning level as well as advanced.
    Do you have a favorite choir, band, orchestra, or any other style/ensemble, piece, that is a great example of an incredible soundscape?
    I’d love to hear about it!

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