If you haven’t already checked out BBC Ten Pieces, then it’s certainly one to check out right now. The BBC have created two films for primary and secondary schools students showcasing a number of well-known classical works in a way that will appeal to a younger generation. In addition to the concert film, there are also a number of great teaching resources for each of the pieces.
One piece on the secondary film was an interesting piece called ‘Concerto for Turntables and Orchestra‘ by Gabriel Prokofiev (grandson of Sergei). The BBC provide resources that enable students to download sounds recorded by the DJ and perform them along with the orchestra backing track. For my Year 8 classes I’ve built a template in Logic Pro X and incorporated it into our sampling unit. You can download this template by clicking the link at the bottom of the blog post.
The DJ samples have been separated into sections and can be trigged using the C1-F#1 or G1 keyboard notes. I’ve locked the backing track in place so it can’t be easily moved by students by accident and I’ve synced the click track so it’s (mostly) in time, however the tempo does fluctuate throughout. In lessons, we look at the idea of call and response and do a number of warm-ups around that. When you open the template, you’ll notice markers along the top that say ‘Sample Zone’ and ‘Orchestra’. Students should only compose musical ideas using the samples in the ‘sample zones’, keeping the orchestra zones empty. This will allow them to hear the orchestra play on their own and think of a suitable musical response using the DJ samples.
If you are thinking of teaching sampling/DJing to your students, do show them Beastie Boys – Three MC’s and One DJ. It’s mindblowingly good.
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