Improving Ensemble Awareness: A Project Based Approach

Project Based Learning – Part 2 info below

Summary: The fear of losing ensemble rehearsal time prevents many educators from allowing students and opportunity to compose and create during class time. When utilizing intentional and frequent small ensemble projects in the large ensemble classroom, performers in large ensembles will actually increase their overall awareness in the ensemble experience (including balance, blend, tuning, and more). These projects provide students opportunities to create and perform in meaningful ways that connect to their ensemble participation. Specific strategies towards approaching these projects (including preparation, facilitation, logistics, etc), as well as specific outcomes will be demonstrated and discussed using a model ensemble.


  • concept vs label (Eunice Boardman)
  • respond to &/or generate a ‘need to know’
  • allow divergence/convergence of ideas (brief overview)
  • include discussion/reflection on creative process/choices
  • balance individual & collaborative opportunities
  • flexibility for diverse approaches (hybrid)

Project Ideas (small scale, single class):

  • still photo soundtrack
  • loop composition
  • word/phrase definition
  • graphic score realization
  • collaborative improvisation (duet/trio)
  • recording/arranging/manipulating

Project Ideas (large scale, multiple classes):

  • sound storytelling (with &/or without text) – Caldecott Medal
  • original composition
  • arrangement of choice

Project Based Learning:

PRESENTATION SLIDES : Improving Ensemble Awareness

Project Based Learning – Part 2 presentation

Samples in Action:

Dry Grass Sunset Story Heard

Dry Grass Sunset Story Told

Soundpainting Exploration

Stars Graphic Score

Stars Graphic Score Explained


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