Beginning Thoughts:
An example of excellent work

Here is an example of a well done beginning thoughts paper. I was being silly with the student's name & the title / composer, but the "Look at the title & composer" section, the three observations and the questions are all excellent examples of what kind of thinking I am looking for in your answers. --MsM


Name __Chris Trumpeter_____ Instrument ___Bass Trumpet____

Before we start playing this piece, look it over and respond to the following prompts:
(Do not leave ANY section blank!!!!!!!)

TITLE: March of the Cross-Eyed Frog


COMPOSER / ARRANGER: Am Fibian -- arr. by I.M. Atoad


Look at only the title and composer and write down anything you already know about this piece,
or write down any guesses you have about the piece -- remember, only look at the title & composer,
nothing else!

 I have never heard of the composer or this piece, but it is a march, therefore it will probably have lots of accents and staccatos. It has kind of a strange title, so it might be a bit of a joke and maybe even have uneven rhythms to go along with the cross-eyed bit.

(Notice how the student wrote only about the title & composer & made guess about what the piece might be like. No lost credit if your guesses are wrong - it is a guess after all!)


Now -- Hear with Your EYES

Write down at least three observations about the piece - things that you notice about the music - and write down what you can "hear with your eyes". See below for examples of good observations & conclusions.

HEAR WITH YOUR EYES and draw conclusions about what you see. THREE OBSERVATIONS!!


I was right!! It starts out like a march - there are staccatos & accents & it is in a march tempo, but at 36 it suddenly goes into 5/4 so it will probably sound like a lopsided march.

The 5/4 section has a lot of sudden sforzandos & dynamic changes; I wonder if it is supposed to sound like the frog is squishing or tripping or something.

The ending gets louder and louder, then suddenly stops. After the pause it gets really quiet & slow. I wonder what happens to the frog?

(Notice how Chris looks at the music & tries to interpret what is on the page and to draw conclusions from what she knows about how music works. The student is making intellectual assumptions about the music before hearing it -- that is what I am after - hearing with your eyes!)

List one or two (or more) questions you have about this music. Look at all of the words and markings to see if there are any you aren't sure of; look for notes that you need fingerings for; look for rhythms that you do not understand. See me if you think you understand everything, and I will test you.

I didn't know what Scherzando meant (at the beginning of the piece), but I looked it up in a music dictionary & found that it means playfully. That fits! I'm not sure how to play the rhythm at 42. I tried to figure it out, but I'm not sure I get it. What is that weird symbol at 74?

(This student had three questions - one is sufficient, but more is fine, too. Chris also answered her own question by looking the word up in a dictionary! Even better!! Why rely on others when you can do things for yourself!)

Go to examples of HEARING WITH YOUR EYES

Return to Beginning Thoughts Paper to be printed.

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Wayland Middle School Bands, Wayland, MA

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