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Summer SAVY 2018: Session 3, Day 5 – Math and Music (Rising 5th/6th)

Posted by on Friday, June 29, 2018 in Grade 5, Grade 6, SAVY.

The trial of John Cage was a rousing success! I was so impressed with the work done by both sides to put together an spirited, engaging, yet respectful debate. In the end, John Cage was declared not guilty of crimes against music! As I told the class, their efforts would have been competitive with that of the much older students with whom I often do this exercise. I had great fun listening to their presentations!

After the trial, we learned how to construct a twelve-tone matrix to write music like Schoenberg, Berg, Webern, and others. We had listened to a movement from a Webern string quartet earlier in the week, which I doubt did much to sell the students on serialism as a method of composition! We looked at the interesting mathematical patterns that develop (actually more related to modular arithmetic than matrices) in the matrix, and I loved how students were able to spot and explain the patterns even if they lacked the necessary mathematical vocabulary.

Right before lunch, we had our student performances. I was so impressed by the talent of the class and also their willingness to perform! Their genuine excitement for each other and their interest in listening to all of the various things that I presented throughout the week will remain a class highlight for me.

In the afternoon, we looked at the Fibonacci numbers and their relationship to the Golden Ratio. In order to do this, we had to learn some algebraic skills like the quadratic formula. Can your student sing the quadratic formula to the tune of “Pop Goes the Weasel”? We wrapped up the content part of class with looking at how certain musical pieces seem to fit a model given by the golden ratio.

Thank you all for a fantastic week! Enjoy the rest of your summer!

Mr. Gray

Open House Moments