Below is the score of my Mixed Bag arrangement of Time by Hans Zimmer, and the accompanying resources I made. These will be referred to throughout the reflection.
During the process of arranging the piece, there were several decisions that were made, which were influenced by different pedagogies, particularly Orff, Musical Futures, and the Creative Music Movement.
1) Choice of Music:
Before beginning this assignment, I considered how it could be integrated and used in the classroom. Pragmatism, authenticity and engagement are key in developing students musical interest (and hence getting them to do elective music and HSC music!). I chose Time by Hans Zimmer from the film Inception, as it has post-minimalist elements (repetition, lack of clear tonal centre) which be easily used to scaffold into composition and improvisation. Student’s are more interested in learning it as it is a piece they know, reflecting the Musical Futures philosophy (Musical Futures Australia, n.d.).
2) Choice of Mixed Bag Parts:
I arranged the song to have 2 melodic parts, 2 harmonic lines, chords, a bassline/bordun, and percussion. While the original was scored for orchestra, after some brief analysis, I determined that these were the main parts involved. I tried to make the parts compatible with as many instruments as possible, keeping in mind the various timbres and abilities of players. I created different ‘rookie’ packages for a few of the most common instruments to cater for these abilities. All packages included various forms of notation to scaffold student peer and self-learning (Jeanneret, McLennan, & Stevens-Ballenger, 2011).
3) Structure and Part-writing:
The piece had an organic structure, growing from a single instrument to an entire orchestra. I chose to adhere to this structure to maintain this sense of growth, and to be as authentic as possible when creating a Mixed Bag arrangement. The improvisation section (Rehearsal mark G) grows organically from the climax of the piece, scaffolding students to compose using their prior knowledge of the piece (Wiggins & Espeland, 2012). This also links with the third step of the Orff approach – improvisation – which comes after exploring and imitating to build their prior experience (Frazee & Kreuter, 1987; Shamrock, 1997). The improvisation was based around the A aeolian mode, with an added F#. Players could use the A Aeolian mode, which is also very suitable for Orff instruments! The original composition had limited percussion. As such, I added 3 more lines of percussion which stemmed from different rhythm patterns in the melodic lines. These percussion lines also have the same lyrics used to assist in learning through exploration and imitation, reflecting the Orff approach. Guitar tablature was also included to assist students with limited ability in reading standard notation. In the student packages (which you can see here), all parts had graphic notation followed by standard notation to assist students with limited reading ability, and gradually scaffold them to be able to read. There were also specially written parts for students new to their instruments, which still retained their relevance as they maintained most elements of the original melodies (Humberstone, 2015). There’s more on the way teachers can teach this arrangement on the Teacher Package here.
4) Choice of Resources
I briefly touched on this in my 3rd point. Alongside the various graphic notation scaffolds provided, numerous aural and video learning resources with provided alongside, allowing students to learn their parts informally through aural learning (Green, 2008). The elements of learning, playing and improvisation are scaffolded through the packages and aural/video resources. Musical Futures’ emphasis on “learning what they play and sharing what they learn” (https://www.musicalfuturesaustralia.org) links with the Orff approach as it is highly experiential, beginning with aural learning before reading.
With the Garageband Project, students are able to more effectively practice in their own time. They can solo and mute tracks, practice improvising, play along with the tracks, and learn their parts with the score function or piano roll. The project file for the Arrangement has been provided to complement and extend aural learning, making it innovative for student self-learning, reflecting the approaches of the Creative Music Movement. The Garageband file was created by exporting the MIDI from Musescore.
5) Making the arrangement
I began making the mixed bag arrangement by expanding a piano reduction I found online (here to be precise https://www.musicnotes.com/sheetmusic/mtd.asp?ppn=MN0086727). There was a clear structure and organic growth. I adjusted the various parts, bringing them higher or lower by an octave to make it sound more like the original orchestral score. The dynamic marks and articulation (slurs, accents) were made following the original recording. All transpositions, tablature and appropriate clefs were used.
Frazee, J., & Kreuter, K. (1987). Discovering Orff: A curriculum for music teachers. Mainz: London.
Green, L. (2008). The project’s pedagogy and curriculum content. In Music, informal learning and the school: A new classroom pedagogy. Aldershot, Hampshire, England: Ashgate.
Humberstone, J. (2015). NSW Orff Schulwerk Association Conference 2015. Towards a Pluralist Music Education.
Jeanneret, N., McLennan, R., & Stevens-Ballenger, J. (2011). Musical Futures: An Australian perspective. Findings from a Victorian Pilot study.
Musical Futures Australia. (n.d.). Musical Futures An approach to teaching and learning Resource Pack: Second Edition. Retrieved from https://www.musicalfuturesaustralia.org/uploads/1/2/0/1/12012511/musicalfutures2ndeditionteacherresourcepack.pdf
Wiggins, J. &Espeland, M. I (2012). Creating in music learning contexts. In G. E. McPherson & G. F. Welch (Eds.), The Oxford handbook of music education (pp. 341-360). New York, NY: Oxford University Press.