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Composing in the music room–we make it easy with Hyperscore!

Cecilia Roudabush, Director of Education

Student composers in music class? Have you pictured that for ALL of your students? Writing actual melodies and rhythms and blending them together to form harmonies? What if they could add dynamics, create form and choose tone color? Previously, before I went to my first Hyperscore workshop in 2007, I would never have dreamed there was a program out there that could let my students compose a piece of music that was uniquely their own with little to no knowledge of music theory.

What do students bring to your music room?

Every student that walks in your music room brings in their own unique voice and creativity. Accordingly, what you accomplish in lessons and activities depends on their ability and willingness to share their skills and try out new ideas. Be that as it may, you have the opportunity to expand their skills by presenting composition as a way to learn music content and theory. Another methodology is to “invert the pedagogy” which allows their creativity to guide your presentation of concepts.

What can we give you to help guide student composers?

The following video will hopefully convince you to give composition a try in your classroom this year while proving that Hyperscore is a unique and easy way to accomplish that goal:

Yes! Student composers can be in YOUR music room, and Hyperscore makes it EASY!

These composition guide videos will be linked to from the free Resources for Educators found on our website. Additionally, you will find other supports with our 1) Tool Tips and the 2) Rhythm, Melody, Harmony and Dynamics and Form and Tone Color Modules loaded on our Resources page. However, if you can’t find an answer to a question or you need a lesson idea, contact me at:

cecilia.roudabush@newharmonyline.org

We are here to help you guide your student composers in 2022-2023 and beyond!

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Hyperscore Office Hours

Cecilia Roudabush, Director of Education

Hyperscore Office Hours will be the newest support offering from our team at New Harmony Line! To best serve you, we will meet the first Tuesday of every month: 7:30 ET, 6:30 CT, 5:30 MT and 4:30 PT. Register on our webpage by clicking on the Office Hours prompt on the home page top toolbar,

or use the link below.

Meet with any, or all, of our staff

Executive Director June Kinoshita is our impassioned visionary. She brought Hyperscore back through Kickstarter, Active Campaign and private donors so that everyone in the world with access to a device and the internet could make music. Chief Technology Officer Peter Torpey used Hyperscore before he ever came to the MIT Media Lab and became the wizard behind the curtain. Peter implements updates and improvements, moving the software to the Web while also guiding the construction of the Educator Version.

Additionally, Communications Director Nora Lawrence writes our newsletters, communicates with subscribers and champions for clear messages to everyone who loves, or will love, Hyperscore. As Director of Education, I got to use my passion for, and knowledge of, 15 years of Hyperscore in the classroom to guide the web-based Beta pilot. Currently, I assist teachers, write National Core Arts Standards curriculum, suggest ideas to Peter, sing the praises of Hyperscore on social media and assist June in letting the world know it’s out there at Conventions.

How may we assist you?

We intend to focus on “inverted pedagogy” in our September presentation. Our October meeting will feature an informal study done with a local music teacher and the analyst of the resulting data. Last week, in the August Office Hours, I worked with a former student teacher. She will be implementing Hyperscore across her K-8 classes to build a spiral curriculum base for the National Core Arts Standards lessons I am writing. We will be posting these on our Resources for Educators page and hope to see them in our MusicFirst Hyperscore Classroom.

By all means, please let me know what you would like to discuss in future Hyperscore Office Hours. We will start with any general questions at the beginning of the hour if you are unable to stay for the discussions portion. Consider joining our Facebook discussion page, “Teaching Hyperscore: Let’s Discuss” to keep the conversation going! Happy new school year and hope to see you at Office Hours.

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Music Technology: Teach Composition Using Hyperscore!

Cecilia Roudabush, Director of Education

Virtual Summer Conference 2022

Music Technology was the topic of choice for our submission to the New Jersey Music Educators Association (NJMEA). The sessions were held Wednesday, July 27th and Thursday, July 28th in conjunction with MusicFirst. New Harmony Line submitted a pre-recorded session, “Hyperscore: A New Way to Teach Music Composition Using Technology”. Attendees received handouts with all of the resources linked and a free MusicFirst trial version of Hyperscore to go in the Swag Bag.

Presenting inverted pedagogy (compose first then teach the concept) was the newest challenge in the half hour presentation. I will keep practicing that wonderful pedalogical idea, but I think it went well and teachers will definitely want to try out the methodology. “Kings and Queens” took another starring run as the student example of what a 2nd grader can accomplish with time in the music room to be creative. Hopefully, conference participants were inspired to start or rejuvenate their composition unit!

Happy new school year!

What an excellent way to get teachers across America excited to get back into the music room and provide music technology outlets for student creativity in the coming school year! Thank you NJMEA and MusicFirst. May it be the first of many opportunities to share Hyperscore with music teachers guiding their students to compose this year and beyond!

This image features head shots of the two main presenters in the summer conference session, Amelia Nagoski and Denise Gagne.
Summer 2022 Conference Virtual Session
This image lists the conference session titles and who is presenting.
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Win for the Week for Student Composers!

Cecilia Roudabush, Director of Education

F2F Foundation Music Summer Camp

Win for the week? Yes! New Harmony Line successfully completed our first youth cross-country camp Hyperscore lesson with Vel Lewis’s F2F (Faith to Form) Foundation in Houston, Texas on Wednesday, July 20th, 2022. CTO Peter and I were able to Zoom with Vel and the camp attendees, presenting the elements of music using Dr. Jennings “inverted pedagogy” of composing first then exploring the concept. Because Mr. Lewis was teaching theory at the camp, we presented numerous concepts including relativity to middle C and scales in the melody sketch window grid, rhythmic values and timbre in the rhythm sketch window and combining intervals into chords and creating form in the harmony sketch window. I especially appreciated the visual that Peter created featuring the piece “Take A Look” in Hyperscore as well as in printed notation.

We Got By With a Little Help From Our Friends

We would like to thank Megan LeMaster at the Harris County Public Library Administrative Offices in Houston, Texas for loaning us enough Chromebooks for every camper to have a device to compose with during the session. Special thanks to John Harbaugh, Branch Manager, for facilitating the handover and return with Vel’s team through the West University Branch. It took a village!

“Take a Look” in Hyperscore notation
pg. 1 in Standard Notation
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Anyone. Everyone!

Cecilia Roudabush, Director of Education

Meet Dr. Roque Diaz, Ms. Daria Adams and GSHARP

While researching a topic last week, I followed a link to an inspiring article from Dr. Roque Diaz, the Senior Director of (DEI) Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Arts and Culture Consultant at the MacPhail Center for Music in Minneapolis. The center cultivates “an inclusive community where all people and music styles are welcome.” Classic fM Digital Radio’s article features the comments of Dr. Diaz, Daria Adams, Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra violinist, and Grammy Award-winning musician GSHARP as they discuss the changes in how/where/whose music is being performed in the Twin Cities as a result of discussions triggered by the murder of George Floyd. 

GSHARP said “…making music has always been about using your emotion to talk about something that’s bigger than…” just being entertained. Why not lower the ticket price so anyone can attend the concerts?  Why not feature under-represented Black, Hispanic, LGBTQ+ and female composers?  Why not have the orchestra play in restaurants and churches in the community? What exciting ideas for anyone and everyone! The article is billed as a 9-minute read, but Dr. Diaz, Ms. Adams and GSHARP’s words will have long-lasting impact on, and support our, continuing mission regarding who enjoys and makes music:

If reading this article inspires you, it’s important to take the time to click this link from the article 9 Black composers who changed the course of classical music history and watch the YouTube video below featuring violinist Randall Goosby sharing information on four Black composers everyone should know. I was thrilled to see that I knew some of them yet dismayed that, even after a 32-year career teaching music, I did not know them all. Like the interviewees in the article suggest, we can all do more.  Toward that ideal, New Harmony Line is hosting our first camp presentation July 20th with Vel Lewis’ F2F (Faith 2 Form) Foundation for at-risk youth in the Houston area. We are lowering the barriers for the camp attendees by making composition accessible for children with a free subscription to Hyperscore and training on how to compose.  May it be the first of many such empowering opportunities!

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Inverting the Pedagogy: the Hyperscore Difference

To utilize Hyperscore’s full potential, Dr. Kevin Jennings of Dublin, Ireland, urges music educators to “invert the pedagogy” when it comes to introducing children to composition. Watch:

Inverting the pedagogy means allowing student composers to create purposefully first, then discussing the musical rudiments present in their creative work afterwards. Dr. Jennings, part of the original Hyperscore team at the MIT Media Lab, encourages teachers to start by asking a student to place that first note in the Melody Window. Ask the student to process: Do I like the pitch? Do I like the length? Do I like the instrument choice? If I change it, do I like it better? Why or why not? With experimentation and reacting as the key, students would learn to build a composition. Moving forward purposefully with each successive note allows the student to become a creative composer!

Hyperscore as an alternative to traditional notation

Most interestingly, Dr. Jennings believes that the visual representation of music in Hyperscore bypasses the need for understanding standard notation first in order to be able to compose. In Hyperscore, student composers can visually see the difference between a quarter note and a half note. They can see, and hear, that a note is higher or lower than another, composing intuitively as they manipulate their musical choices. Should instruction move on to include the music staff, the visual mode lends itself to greater understanding of the complexity of standard notation. As students react to, and discuss what they are hearing in their compositions, the teacher can introduce musical concepts and terminology (“that’s called a major third”).

Sage on the stage or guide on the side? Inverting the pedagogy helps to connect with students

In this inverted pedagogy, Dr. Jennings states that the teacher becomes a “guide, mentor, partner, co-creator/co-conspirator” in the student’s process. As a teacher myself, I find that there is no greater joy than to hear students talking to each other about their composition process or sitting at a computer with a student and pointing out rising sequences that they instinctively placed into their piece because they liked the pattern and wanted to hear it again, but in a different way.

Do you want to gift your students with the opportunity to create music purposefully? Dr. Jennings encourages you to follow the advice of Canadian Professor of Music Theory Charles Morrison and “be a guide on the side, not a sage on the stage”–Hyperscore empowers you, the teacher, to be that guide.

See More:

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Teachers can try Hyperscore for free!

Music teachers can try Hyperscore for free through our partner, MusicFirst, the leading learning management platform for K-12 music education. Wile away a hot afternoon with some cool composing fun and dream up exciting teaching possibilities that Hyperscore will open up for you this coming school year.

With your free Hyperscore trial for teachers, you will receive emails from us with tip videos to help you get up to speed quickly. We’ll show you how to navigate Hyperscore’s simple, graphical interface. We’ll walk you through how to build melodic motifs and percussion patterns. You’ll learn how to use these building blocks to create complex and interesting compositions. You’ll also have access to our teaching modules that you can copy and personalize for your classroom.

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me. I have used Hyperscore in the classroom for 17 years and it has transformed me as a teacher, and continues to do so as I learn more about the full capabilities of this wonderful tool. I look forward to answering your questions or helping you to prepare your students to become original composers in 2022-2023! Contact me at: cecilia.roudabush@newharmonyline.org

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Got 10 Minutes to Cheer on a Student Composer?

Our YouTube channel is poppin’!! I have successfully uploaded 26 of the 32 student compositions from my K-6 substitute music teaching gig last month. I’m in contact with a handful of students who may be getting their permission forms in yet, and then I’m going to tie the bow and call it a win! Thank you to my colleague for choosing me to substitute teach her precious students and to ask for Hyperscore to be their task! It was a wonderful challenge after 15 years of using Hyperscore with only 7th graders.

If you’d like the opportunity to let the K-4 students know that you appreciate their willingness to try something new, and their creative endeavors, hop on over to our YouTube Channel and put a “like” on their videos. From the alternating steady beat kindergarten pieces to the complex harmonies of the 4th grade creative pieces, there is a lot to gather about the ability of a novice composer to make music without the theory getting in the way!

Click here to ENJOY! (and like!)

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Can 5 Year Olds Compose Music?

What a wonderful experience to substitute teach Kindergarten through 6th grade music this past May 2022–student composers at EVERY level!

Kindergarten Composers

The kindergartners were my last to try Hyperscore–they wrote steady beat and alternating steady beat compositions in the rhythm sketch window. These pieces made perfect accompaniments for “The Ants Go Marching”. We enjoyed playing one student composition for each verse as we did the movements!! Who would have thought a 5-6 year old could:

  1. turn on a computer
  2. log in with their Clever badge
  3. click a link to the software
  4. drop a rhythm sketch window in the workspace
  5. fill in quarter notes and then make them alternate the next day
  6. use their piece for their peer’s movement activity

Can 5 year-olds compose? YES!! Look for future blog posts about my two 5 year olds that submitted pieces and check all the pieces out after I finish loading them onto our YouTube Channel!

1st Through 6th Grade Composers

My 4th graders willingly composed for 13 class periods! They received 4 lessons on how to use the tools as their only instruction and had time to create without rules in between the lessons. 5th and 6th did guided lessons and at least one piece was a shining example of creativity, but sadly was not submitted. 1st and 2nd graders had to write quarter and eighth note rhythm patterns that stood for creatures in the ocean with 2nd adding the half note they’d learned from their year-long teacher. Completing that task earned creative composition time–lots of submissions from this group. My 3rd graders wrote songs using the notes B A and G which I had hoped to have them play on their recorders to end the year but they wanted to compose instead! Permission forms went home for anyone who wanted to post their piece on our YouTube channel and I am loading them now: https://tinyurl.com/3vw5a6a3

What next?

Student composers? You bet! Now to get all that experience written into National Core Arts Standards lessons for YOU to achieve success with your student composers! Watch our Resources for Educators page on this website as I write Summer 2022…

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We’re Gonna Tramp, Tramp, Tramp to F2F Camp!

We are honored to have been given the opportunity to share Hyperscore with the youth student composers and musicians attending the F2F (Faith 2 Form Foundation) Camp in July. Music Technology is of great interest of F2F founder Vel Lewis. June and I met Vel at the Texas Music Educator’s Association Conference in February 2022 and now we will share our amazing composition platform with his campers! Make sure to follow Vel on all social media–what an amazing human being. https://www.facebook.com/F2FMusicFoundation https://www.vellewis.com/

We love his mission to support youth and thank him for connecting with us! See below the poster for a link to earn a scholarship–apply soon.

From Vel:

F2F Music Foundation is extending full scholarships to the F2F Music Summer Camp for the first 50 respondents. This is a limited time offer!

Click this link to register for a scholarship:
https://form.123formbuilder.com/6178540/form

Get 10 days of free instruction and immersion into the world of music, and free lunch daily!

A sweet deal from your friends at F2F. Come join us!

Empower kids to tell their stories through music. Set their creativity free with your support!

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