To give my students and I a break from music rudiments, I assign them music reports. They are a great way to give students a deeper understanding of the music they are working on and to let them explore areas of special interest. I used to just ask them to research the composers of the pieces they are working on. Now, I've been getting a bit more creative.
Below are some of the topics my students have been researching:
- the story behind a song that they like (this was particularly fun with Christmas songs)
- information about the style or form of the music they are studying
- composer reports
- album reviews
- concert reviews
- performer reports
- music instrument profiles
My latest twist has been to tie music to another activity. For instance, two of my students study Aikido. Last week, I asked them to research five points about the samurai Musashi and his concept of rhythm-timing. Another is plays competitive soccer. She's going to research some information about some of the World Cup songs.
I've got a few more ideas up my sleeve. I am thinking of asking them to research music careers, music genres and local musicians.