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April 9th, 2009
Lesson Plan 1: Experimental Music
Learning Activity 2

1) Explain that shortly, the students will be designing their own experiments to test people’s associations with different musical examples. These experiments will be following the scientific method, so the students will have to come up with a research question, form a hypothesis, and then follow a procedure for collecting and analyzing the data. Explain that before the students design their own experiments, you will go through a sample experiment with the class, using associations with the chords you played in the Introductory Activity.

2) Distribute a “Music Experiment Writeup” organizer (RTF) (PDF) and a “Music Response Survey” (RTF) (PDF) organizer to each student.

3) Pick one of the adjectives the class came up with to describe a chord you played earlier. Have the class write down a research question using this information (something like “which chord does our class think is the most wistful?”). Lead them through the steps of filling out the organizer through the “procedure” section (the subjects will be the individuals in the class, the sound samples will be three chords of your choosing, including the one described earlier by the adjective, and the procedure will be that students will listen to three chords and rank them from 1 to 5 on how “adjective” they sound). The students should also fill out the pertinent information on the Survey Template Organizer.

4) Play the chords for the students (being careful not to let the students know which one you’re playing when) and have them mark their responses on the Survey Template Organizer.

5) Collectively, analyze the results, finding a numerical class average for each of the three chords.

  • mitch

    When I first watched this on cable for the first time, I was blown away!! the concepts and the accurate descriptions were incredible!!..THANK YOU PBS!

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