New Music Alive Book Two

Composition Resources for the Classroom

Table of Contents


New Music Alive Book II is a set of eight lesson plans designed as a practical and fun introduction to the principles of music composition. The lessons were devised and written by composer Peter Moran following a project involving a series of practical music workshops led by the composer in 2009. The project and resulting workbook are funded by Dublin City Council.

If the students have not composed much music before, they may benefit from working through New Music Alive Book I before starting this course. New Music Alive Book I uses small steps to introduce students to the freedom of creating their own music. This will give them confidence in crafting their own musical ideas and it will break down many of their inhibitions. This provides a solid starting point, from which they can progress to creating music with computers.

New Music Alive Book II aims to build on the skills learned in New Music Alive Book I. For students and teachers alike, a little practice with the basics of music technology is a very useful skill to have. You will find that audio editing follows similar patterns to other computer tasks, such as word processing or photo editing, and the technology has many applications from studio recording to film making.

After a little practise it can become very intuitive. If this is your first time working with music technology, you might like to have a little practice yourself before starting with the class. See the two simple steps to recording in the classroom here. In order to access this tutorial at different points during the worksheets it is advisable to remain online for the duration of the session to enable the class to access online links from the CMC website.

For this course you will need a computer, a microphone and a projector. The projector simply enables the children to see what you are doing on your computer. Alternatively, if you have the facilities in school, the students could work along with each lesson on their own computer. Exercises that might suit this format are highlighted in certain lessons under the ‘ICT Skills’ banner.

In this book, suggested durations are given with each activity. However, the creative process need not run to schedule, especially if it includes much class discussion. You may prefer to allot your own durations to each activity, perhaps even starting an activity in one lesson and completing it in the next.

There are also lots more activities to do outside the structured Lesson Plans, either at home in school. Students might enjoy testing themselves with the Online Quiz or exploring their own electronic music ideas in the New Music Alive Sandbox. You can also take a little time out for some reflective listening with the Chill-Out Set, a collection of relaxing and thoughtful music written by today’s Irish composers.

Though the lessons have been designed with 5th & 6th class students in mind, teachers from 3rd class to 3rd year will find many useful ideas and resources within.