Listening for Musical Concepts
This assessment will measure students’ proficiency in identifying, describing, and analyzing musical elements within a given aural example.
Students will listen to an excerpt commonly referred to as the “Cancan Dance” from Jacque Offenbach’s work Orpheus in the Underworld, or another culturally relevant example with accompanying teacher-created listening map. Students will follow a Listening Map and make musical observations during a repeated audio playback of the piece. The teacher will facilitate a group discussion highlighting student thoughts and impressions of the work. Next, students will review a word bank of musical terms and reflect upon their meanings and functions within music. Using the word bank as a reference, students will complete a Listening Detective Log that charts musical elements they have identified in the piece.
Finally, students will report their musical analysis on the worksheet labeled “Sherlock Says . . .” using complete sentences. Students will finish their investigation by explaining why they would or why they would not recommend this piece to a friend.
The “Cancan Dance” is suggested as the listening example for use in this assessment. This piece contains a familiar melodic theme, has contrasting musical elements, and is interesting and accessible to students in grades 6, 7, and 8. The teacher might opt to substitute another piece relevant to his or her instruction for Parts 1-3.
It is assumed that students have a working knowledge of the musical terminology used in Watson’s Bank of Musical Elements and Descriptions on page 8 in the Student Booklet.
This item has not been field tested by Michigan teachers.
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