Oops, I Did It Again
Susan J. Nichols
Amherst Middle School
TI:ME Technology Areas Addressed:
Prior Knowledge and Skills:
Knowledge of treble clef and treble clef notes is helpful. Basic rhythms (whole through eighth) should already be understood in order to use the downloadable worksheet. Otherwise, you may customize according to your students’ abilities. Students will have a very basic knowledge of what written music looks like without the skills of writing manuscript correctly.
NAfME Standards of 1994 Addressed:
NAfME Standards of 1994: Reading and notating music.
NAfME 2014: Creating
Create a worksheet full of various kinds of errors in manuscript writing (missing clef, oversized notes, stems too long and/or backwards or missing, too many/not enough beats per measure, etc.)
The objective of the lesson is for students to be able to correctly place musical notation on the staff.
The worksheet is the “hook”. It is full of errors in printing/writing music. To begin the lesson, students should identify as many of the errors as possible. (Elementary students can be very competitive: “I wonder who will find the most errors on this worksheet!”) Each student has his/her own sheet to work on and circles the “misteaks” with a pencil and lists at the bottom what the mistakes were. When students are finished, a teacher-facilitated discussion ensues with students identifying the errors. At each error point the teacher can teach the correct method (for adding stems, for sizing notes, etc.)
The worksheet and discussion will reveal the level of understanding. A natural next activity would be for the students to write the same composition on manuscript paper with all errors omitted. Teacher may collect one or both to measure understanding.
Assuming that the goal of correct manuscript writing is for correctly written student compositions (outside of the benefits of a computer lab), students can “proofread” their own as well as a partner’s compositions to check for similar errors.