Detecting Errors

Error Detection

Marilyn Hostetler
[email protected]
Jamestown Public Schools

TI:ME Technology Areas Addressed:



Middle School




The teacher will need a computer equiped with Sonar and Powerpoint as well as a synthezizer and a powerpoint projector hooked to the computer.


45 Minutes

Prior Knowledge and Skills:

Students should be able to sing, using 3 part music. Students should be very familiar with the choral pieces selected, 3 part singing. They should also be comfortable following a choral octavo and locating information in it.

NAfME standard of 1994 Addressed:

NAfME standard of 1994: Singing, alone and with others, a varied repertoire of music.

NAfME 2014: Performing 

NAfME standard of 1994: Reading and notating music.

NAfME 2014: Creating 

NAfME standard of 1994: Listening to, analyzing and describing music.

NAfME 2014: Responding 


Matireals needed are:
A white viewing screen, a paper and pencil for 4-6 groups, stickers, whiteboard and markers in front of the class,and 5 selections of 4 measure phrases taken from their choral music. The selections should be put in the sequencing program, Sonar. Each selection should be entered two times. One time there should contain deliberate mistakes somewhere (either pitch, dynamics or rhythm). The second time should be correct.


1. Students will identify dissonance in the music selections, 85% of the time.
2. Using musical terms such as measure, rhythm notations, dynamic and tempo indicators, the student will correctly identify incorrect points in the choral music 80% of the time when presented aurally.
3. Student, when listening to a phrase from a familiar choral piece, will be able to seperate his section from other vocal sections, 100% of the time.


1. Assuming the chorus is sitting in sectionals, divide each section into teams of no more then 8 and no less then four. (Do not allow students to have the written music)
2. Give a pencil and paper to each group. Have them write their names and a group name on the paper. Write the group names on the board in front of the classroom.
3. Using a powerpoint projector connected to the computer using Sonar software, let the class see and hear the selected 4 measure sequence from the chorus music. Have the students view it in the piano mode on the Sonar sequence program when listening. The sequence should have 1 or more mistakes in the selection. Let the students hear it again.
4. Give the groups 1-2 minutes to discuss, (quietly within their own group), what they heard in their section only. They should identify if there was a mistake, what measure and what was it. They must write down their answers on the paper.
5. Saying nothing, check each paper. On the board, under the team’s name assign the points earned. Give 2 points for identifying if there was a mistake, and 1 point each for measure location and what was wrong.
6. Play the sequence again, this time instruct the teams to listen only to the other two sections, not their own.
Repeat numbers 4 and 5 above.
7. Play the correct version of the sequence. Explain nothing. Watch and listen to the students who start figuring out the sequence.
8. Repeat steps 3-7 for the remaining 4 examples, however only play the sequence once intially, not twice.
9. The team with the most points wins a reward. Suggestions would be stickers, lollipops, exemption from a sectional evaluation, or even a headstart out the door to lunch.
10. To assist in your evaluation, be sure to collect all papers and copy points awarded on to their papers.
11. Hand out the chorus music, warm up the chorus and sing the music used in the “game”, paying extra attention to the measures used.


This is a good assessment tool for identifying chorus members aural skills in a non threatening manner.
Observe the group dynamics for student participation.
4-Student readily identifies wrong passages when heard and what causes it, 100% of the time. She/he uses this information in a positive way to influence their group’s choices.
3- Student identifies wrong passages when heard 100% of the time. She locates the mistake and what causes it 80-100% of the time but needs the group support for verification.
2-Student makes a consistant effort to hear and locate mistakes in the sequences but needs the group’s input.
1-Student does not make a consistant effort to participate.

Follow Up:

Initially when using this lesson, only use music that the chorus is very familiar with, probably memorized. Once they are comfortable with the game, start to use music they have only sung once or occasionally.

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