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In this resource

This course constitutes 4 hours of identified learning as per the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers.

This course has been developed to assist teachers with the implementation of composition in the music classroom through engaging and innovative teaching practices. The focused study of ‘Firebird Forensics’ provides teachers and students with the opportunity to collaborate through a unique composition and performance project.

'Firebird Forensics' is suitable for students in Years 10 – 11 (Stages 5 and 6) and is relevant to the Australian curriculum learning areas of The Arts. The information and resources provided addresses the cross-curriculum general capabilities of creative and critical thinking through the composition process. Within the teamwork focus of the learning activities provided, personal and social capabilities are also addressed.

Teachers should consult the NSW Board of Studies for details on their currently endorsed curriculum and syllabus subject material.

Teaching Standards

1.3.2 Design and implement teaching strategies that are responsive to the learning strengths and needs of students from diverse linguistic, cultural, religious and socio-economic backgrounds.

2.1.2 Apply knowledge of the content and teaching strategies of the teaching area to develop engaging teaching activities.

3.1.2 Set explicit, challenging and achievable learning goals for all students

3.2.2 Plan and implement well-structured learning and teaching programs or lesson sequences that engage students and promote learning.

3.3.2 Select and use relevant teaching strategies to develop knowledge, skills, problem-solving, and critical and creative thinking.

4.1.2 Establish and implement inclusive and positive interactions to engage and support all students in classroom activities.

Music activities

'Firebird Forensics' gave 30 music students from government school students the opportunity to dissect Stravinsky’s 'The Firebird' and expand and explore their own composition skills and ideas under the guidance of Paul Rissmann. At the conclusion of the project, the students presented their work in a public performance.

Students explored thematic material, scales, modes, rhythms and structures from The Firebird and use them to create a new group composition.

View music activities

Dance activities

For dance students, the aim of this project was to collaborate, choreograph and perform a dance work that responds to Stravinsky’s 'The Firebird Suite' (1919). Under the guidance of choreographer Josef Brown, the students structured their choreographic work using various tools and types of stimuli.

The students were also required to present a comparative report on Stravinsky’s composition and their own socio-historical context.

View dance activities

Firebird Forensics – promo

Duration: 1:39
Video transcript - Firebird Forensics – promo

Firebird Forensics – Introduction

Duration: 0:50
Video transcript - Firebird Forensics – Introduction

About the project

In 2016, the NSW Department of Education The Arts Unit joined forces with international animateur and composer Paul Rissman to present an exciting group composition project for students: 'Firebird Forensics'. This cross curricula eResource has been developed from that program in order to provide teachers and students with the opportunity to collaborate in a composition project in the areas of music and dance.

Written by Alex Manton (music teacher) and Adelaide Eastley (dance teacher at Asquith Girls High School) this resource contains contextual information about the source work, 'The Firebird' by Stravinsky, comprehensive classroom activities in both dance and music, as well as additional materials, such as programs, worksheets, and assessments, to assist with the successful implementation of these units in your teaching practice.

The people involved

About 'The Firebird'

'The Firebird' is a ballet score, written by famous Russian composer Igor Stravinsky in 1910. It was one of three ballets written for Diaghilev’s Ballet Russes and was premiered in Paris in 1910. Due to its great success, it was subsequently reorchestrated as a suite for orchestra in 1911, 1919 and 1945. 'The Firebird' not only catapulted Stravinsky into the international spotlight as a progressive composer of the 20th century, but this was the beginning of Stravinsky and Diaghilev’s collaboration which went on to produce other ballets such as 'Petrushka' and 'The Rite of Spring'.

Paul Rissman discusses the project

The importance of composition in music education

Duration: 1:38
Video transcript - The importance of composition in music education

Composing and generating musical ideas

Duration: 1:29
Video transcript - Composing and generating musical ideas

Working with students from a variety of musical backgrounds

Duration: 2:08
Video transcript - Working with students from a variety of musical backgrounds

Combining dance and music

Duration: 1:54
Video transcript - Combining dance and music

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