Composing Using My Singing Monsters – Part 1

This summer I came across a wonderful new-to-me app called My Singing Monsters.20131016-190432.jpg

I showed it to my music techie friends Carol Broos and Jennifer Kolze and now they too are addicted. We were so amused we even recorded a podcast about it for the aRTs Roundtable.

As I played the game it struck me that monsters are basically singing various ostinato patterns. It was a more advanced version of what we already do for some of my 2nd and 3rd grade music classes. Once I had this thought, I realized this game would be a great addition to my music curriculum. I decided I wanted to use it to get the kids composing. Creating something is very important in my room. I wanted the kids to create their own monster sound and record a song using their classmates’ sounds as a sound bank. If My Singing Monsters had included in the app the ability to record I probably would have just had the students create a song using the monster sounds included in that game but that is not an option at this time. So decided to go all out and have the kids create all of it. After looking around I found an app called Mad Pad that would let me make short recordings attached to a video. So Mad Pad and My Singing Monsters were the 2 main apps that the students used to complete this project. Enough back story! On with the process!

First we played the game in music class. Plain and simple. Sometimes I would ask questions about the sounds the monsters were making. Was the sound high or low? Was it vocal or instrumental? Did it sound fast or slow? But for the most part we just had a good time playing the game. I did manage to pull in some math connections. Very quickly the coins begin to add up in the game. So we have been getting some great practice at reading numbers in the hundreds of thousands and even in the millions. This was my contribution to Common Core Math. I could have really gone crazy and asked them to subtract and add up our various coins but time is limited in my class room so we kept it basic.

After we had at least four monsters in class’s game, I started throwing in questions like:

Do all the monsters sing at the same time for the whole song? (The monsters take turns. Sometimes their parts overlap but only when it sounds nice together.)

Is there a pattern to the monster song? Can you predict when a monster will start singing again? (Yes but the more monsters you have the harder this becomes for elementary students)

What types of sounds do the monsters make? (They sing high and low. The Entbrat even yell sings, which can lead to great discussions about proper singing technique. Some make percussive sounds like a beat box. Some play instruments.)

Part 2 – Making Our Own Monsters

 

 

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