The Musical Futures Find Your Voice resources aims to motivate students to sing by recreating as a whole class or small groups backing tracks to popular songs. Students learn how to vocalise basslines, chords and melodies to build a vocal performance, using the common 4-chord structure: I, V, vi, IV (i.e. D, A, bmin, F). This chord structure is so common that 100s of songs have used it (see the Axis of Awesome video below). As a music teacher, I am so grateful to Musical Futuresʼ generous spirit and philosophy behind their work, which brings real-world music learning processes into schools to engage and inspire all students, while promoting inclusion and diversity. If you havenʼt subscribed to the Musical Futures website to access a whole host of free resources, including instructional videos, lessons plans and backing tracks then do it now! Here is an introductory video of Find Your Voice.
Musical Futures also houses a 4-chord song bank that lists songs using the I,V, vi, IV chord progression. Iʼve also included two videos on how to play the chords on the guitar and keyboard (remember you can click on Youtube "settings" to slow down or speed up the video.
Musical Futures provides a process for students to learn how to layer in vocalized basslines, chords and melodies to work toward a vocal performance. The Musical Futures website hosts a series of video clips to guide teachers through the process. The choruses of the following three songs start on the first note of the bassline and are a good start point for students to pitch: Price Tag (Jessie J), Someone Like You (Adele) and Living on a Prayer (Bon Jovi).
As part of the variety of resources housed on the website, Musical Futures features a "Learn to Beatbox with Shlomo" video guide to help teachers and students produce and play with basic beatbox sounds and rhythms. Here is one of the four video guides, which focuses on the basic sounds.
Musical Futures also houses many instructional videos on its MF Youtube Channel. I love the It's Your Voice Warm-ups video, which gives teachers lots of vocalizing and physical exerices to warm-up the body. About 5 minutes into this video, the Musical Futures instructor shares the Pasticine Person warm-up, which is a favorite among her students.
Here is the first of five video clips that move from creating a 4-chord vocal mash-up and beatboxing to small group refinement and use of voice recorders.
Once students feel comfortable with the four chords, they are encouraged to play with the chord sequence and create their own songs. Castleford Academy, a Musical Futures Champion School, shared their Find our Voice scheme of work, which can be downloaded for free on the Musical Futures website. And finally, these elementary students from Norbridge Academy, an elementary MF Champion School, show how a progression through the Find Your Voice and Just Play Musical Futures resources build student confidence, skills and creativity. This girl band wrote lyrics and music about a topic meaningful to them (see below). I'm excited to go through this process with my older elementary students when I return to Glacier Valley Elementary School next fall.
by #Dis Be de Girl Band
We donʼt need makeup to cover our scars
We donʼt need to bottle up our feelings in jars
We donʼt need to hide behind bars
We are shooting stars (2x)
Donʼt let anyone get in your way
Donʼt listen to what they say
ʼCause youʼre perfect any way
ʼCause youʼre beautiful just as you are
We shine brighter together as one
Are friendship will always be strong
We will always get along
We are shooting stars (2x)
This is a personal blog, sharing my experiences living in the UK from January - June 2019 as a Fulbright Distinguished Award in Teaching scholar. This blog is not an official site of the Fulbright Program or the U.S. Department of State. The views expressed on this site are entirely my own and do not represent the views of the Fulbright Program, the U.S. Department of State, or any of its partner organizations.