Speed Composing:Latin

In my last two blogs, I explained the new game/contest we are playing in my most advanced class called “Speed Composing”. Basically kids have 30 minutes to write a minimum of 16 measures of music in a specific style. For more information on this game/contest, see my blogs Speed Composing and Speed Composing 2. The kids wanted to add “Latin” as a genre for the competition. I gave them three days to pick a specific Latin style and do the research on that style.

For the last three days, students who never come to the Lab any time but during class were showing up and asking for help. “Miss, is this Mambo”? “Can you play that samba bell pattern for me”? “How slow is Cha Cha Cha”? When it was time for class, they came running in to get a head start on the contest. Hey, I had a $15 iTunes gift card going to the winner! We had nine kids participate but not all of them did the research and used authentic beats. You know, add a shaker and a conga part then call that “Latin”. So, those were disqualified. This time, instead of the “applause meter” as a means of voting, the kids cast their votes for the winner on slips of paper.

Did they learn something? You decide. Hold your cursor on a name below and click to hear the music!

THIS MUSIC IS NOT PART OF THE CREATIVE COMMONS LICENSE. ALL MUSIC IS PROPERTY OF THE COMPOSER AND SUBJECT TO ALL APPLICABLE LAWS. IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO USE IT ALL OR IN PART, PLEASE CONTACT ME SO I CAN PUT YOU IN TOUCH WITH THE COMPOSER.

Mike: Flamenco

Kenny: Tango

Zach: Cha Cha Cha

Evan: Samba/Danzon

Chris: Samba

Gia: Samba

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Speed Composing 2

We just completed session three of “Speed Composing” in my advanced class. This is going really great! It’s very interesting to hear what they consider a particular genre. Yesterday was “Classic Rock” and today was”Industrial”. For more information, see my first blog on Speed Composing.

Here are some pieces from today’s competition:

THIS MUSIC IS NOT PART OF THE CREATIVE COMMONS LICENSE. ALL MUSIC IS PROPERTY OF THE COMPOSER AND SUBJECT TO ALL APPLICABLE LAWS. IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO USE IT ALL OR IN PART, PLEASE CONTACT ME SO I CAN PUT YOU IN TOUCH WITH THE COMPOSER.

Mike’s Industrial

Karol’s Industrial

Zach’s Industrial

Chris’s Industrial

Common! Add a comment and let me know

which one you liked the best!

I decided to slip some authenticity into our next contest. The kids wanted to add “Latin” as a genre for the competition. I just can’t have them add a shaker and a timbale solo and let them call that “Latin” (I studied congas in Spanish Harlem with Frank Malabe)! Do you think at this point in the semester they want me to teach a lesson on the different styles of Latin music? So,I decided to trick them into doing a little research and learning something on their own. To prepare for our next class, “Speed Composing: Latin”, we listed a whole bunch of “Latin” styles on the board; Mambo, Samba, Rhumba, Tango, Cumbia, etc. and the kids have a couple of days to research the style of their choice and have some idea of what they might compose when they get here. The parameters are that they can’t bring in a file composed outside of class, they MUST use authentic rhythms of the genre they choose but they can “update” the style with contemporary instruments available in Logic Pro (we use version 8/Studio). In other words, it must be authentic in the rhythms used for the specific genre but it doesn’t have to sound like Rick Ricardo’s band is playing it! To sweeten the pot (to encourage them to actually do the research), I am throwing in a $10 iTunes gift card to the winner! I can’t wait to see what they come up with.

Speed Composing

It’s the end of the school year and my most advanced class, Electronic Music 3, is getting a little restless. I made their final exam the submission to MENC Electronic Music Talent Search and that was submitted a few of weeks ago. Yesterday, a couple of students came in and told me they challenged each other to a match. They wanted to see who could compose the best Reggaeton piece in one class. Other students heard this and wanted in. So began our first “Speed Composing” contest.

We came up with a bunch of different genres and I wrote them down on slips of paper. We pull a genre out of the hat and they have 30 minutes to compose 16 measure in that genre. At the end of the 30 minutes, we play each students piece and they vote on the best one. Yesterday was Reggaeton and today is Classic Rock. Other genres include Country, Reggae, Big Band Swing, Bluegrass, New Age (OK, they said “head music”!), Techno, Ballad, Heavy Metal, Hip Hop, Industrial, Authentic Latin (Samba, Mambo, Cha Cha Cha, etc) and Blues.

Students participate if they want and if they don’t they are working on their own music. Some of those that do participate may not come close to the “authentic” style but they sure do give it a shot! It’s really interesting to hear what they hear about a particular genre. I am looking forward to the next few weeks to see what they come up with.