Greetings DP Music teachers!
I hope that our colleagues in the northern hemisphere are enjoying a happy return to school whilst our colleagues in the southern hemisphere are enjoying a productive year.
The discussion today centres on thematic development and transformation. One area that I experimented with heavily in my classroom was how to provide students with enough scaffolding regarding development in their compositions without having students sacrifice their initial ideas for a ‘prescriptive’ approach to development.
There are various approaches one can take when teaching development. I found success in teaching composition in short bursts and in the context of another composer. For examples When we studied the classical era, we focused in on the Piano Concerto in A Major (k. 488) by Mozart. Students would analyse the development section of the concerto with much scaffolding provided by the teacher (me). Once we had an understanding of the developmental techniques Mozart employed, I gave students a short ‘generic’ 8-measure balanced (phrasing) classical theme and had the students create their own development section based on that theme. Students had to use two of the techniques Mozart used in the Piano Concerto in A Major (k. 488). Students also had to keep their development sections ‘classical’ – they had to use specific idiomatic classical musical language so that their development section would sound ‘classical’.
The suggestion described above occurred over several lessons with students completing some of the work outside of class. Through this approach I was able to discuss composition, Mozart’s style, Classical style, and development.