- Open (def: scores for unspecified instrumentation)
- Found objects or art supplies
- Acoustic instruments
- Rock band instruments
- Digital devices
- 5 to 12 years of age
- 13 to 18 years of age
This could be a one hour workshop or multiple sessions over an extended period of time.
- Community associations
- Mental health
Language of Emotion In Music
What does it mean to “Know Music”?
The important thing, as one cannot repeat too often, if that the child should learn to feel music, to absorb it, to give his whole body and soul to it; to listen to it not merely with his ear but with his whole being. ~ Emile Jaques Dalcroze
- Embodied understanding and engagement
- To encourage “knowing-in-action”.
- To accept and nurture movement impulses and emotional reactions to music.
- To engage with the sensing, feeling, experiencing body through musical sounds and activities.
- To cultivate performance, listening, reflection and creation.
- To examine the body as a conscious and explicit mode of transformation.
- To invite the wealth of information and knowledge that the sensual body holds and invite it into the educational musical experience.
- To actively engage in imaginative, music creation at all ages and levels.
- To develop musical potential through informal guidance that connects the listening experience with sound exploration.
- To create a listening and responsive musical community.
By utilizing the mood meter, participants explore their inner emotional world and how that emotional world can be explained in terms of pleasant and unpleasant feelings and higher or lower energy.
These concepts are explored using the language of emotion. By tuning into this emotional experience, documenting it, and then relating it to music, participants can explore their own sound art potential.
Any instruments can be used, including found objects, the voice and/or body percussion. The music ensemble of any size and/or instrumentation is the framework.
The music created will reflect the four colours found on the mood meter (see attached photo).
Participants will create an improvised work – a collection of 4 pieces.
The facilitators participate as much or as little as necessary, based on the students brainstorming and improvisations.
The final performance consists of the students using the language of emotion and color to create an improvised musical work.
Step by Step Instructions:
- Look at the Mood Meter and explain how it works.
- Divide the group up into 4 ensembles.
- Using large pieces of paper and coloured markers, have each group brainstorm “feeling words” around the 4 colours on the mood meter:
- Blue: low energy, unpleasant
- Green: low energy, pleasant
- Yellow: high energy, pleasant
- Red: high energy, unpleasant
- Once the group has brainstormed language of emotions, they can explore “improvising emotions” on their instruments.
- The group creates a suite of 4 improvised pieces based on the four colours displayed on the mood meter.
- Brainstorm contrasting musical terms that coincide with emotions and corresponding musical responses (ex. staccato, legato, forte, piano, dissonance, consonance, timbre, etc.)
- Use photography, video or visual art found through online research to mirror the emotion as a way to further enhance the sensual exploration.
- The visual art work or poetic responses could be created by the students.
- Listen to instrumental music from a variety of styles and have the students identify the “colours” or “moods.” The students can think in terms of high or low vibration, pleasant or unpleasant feelings, and the language of emotion.
- Use music notation, lead sheet construction and/or graphic scores to document the composition.
My Personal Reflection:
I first taught this unit when I was the artist-in-residence at my son’s Reggio Emilia based elementary school in Coquitlam, B.C.
As a school, they were responding to the Mood Meter as a daily check in. Over the weeks, I watched my son learn about how to describe his mood. His vocabulary expanded and he became very comfortable articulating his feelings at a very young age. I was excited to see this work happening with young children and I quickly realized that this vocabulary was a wonderful gateway into aesthetics in music. I looked to develop a musical activity that would draw from the socio-emotional learning that was already happening in the classroom .
Music is the language of emotion and when young children develop the language to describe their inner worlds, they also develop the language to describe music and then, in turn, create musical work in response to those concepts.
Over the years I have used this activity with groups of all ages and abilities. I am always amazed at the unique ways the participants were able to engage with the mood meter, relate their findings to describing recorded music and then create beautiful, improvised music compositions.Read More +