Last Updated: Thursday, July 30, 2020

Back to school – motivating music – secondary

What is this?

In this activity, young people will explore motivating music and create their own composition.

For young people at S1/S2/S3

Imagine your primary 7 teacher has asked for your help. She wants to prepare some materials which will support the new P7 in their transition to secondary S1. She thinks that it will be important for them all to be confident of who they are and the talents they have, to be ready for the new challenge. The P7 teacher’s idea is to use a lesson in music as a way of building the P7 children’s confidence, by creating their own playlist and composing their own music track. She thinks that, at your age, you will have some good ideas about the kind of music that will interest and maybe inspire the young people in P7.

  • Gather ideas about any pieces of music that makes you feel good, or motivates or inspires you. Ask friends of your own age, and some a bit younger if you can, what kinds of music gives them a boost – a “buzz” or “lift”. For example, lots of people like to hear music while they exercise, listening to favourite tracks as they run or workout in the gym.
  • Compile a list of the tracks you find from your research. If you can, do some further research for inspirational music on the internet, and add these tracks to your list. Remember to think about different kinds of music, including classical as well as popular.
  • Listen to the tracks yourself, with the idea of helping your P7 teacher make up a lesson about “motivating music”. If it is a song, listen carefully to the lyrics and work out whether it plays a part in making the track “inspiring”. Does the rhythm play a part, maybe providing a strong, driving beat or a gentler, reflective timing for the track? How does the structure of the track help to make the track more interesting and motivating? For example, there may be a “chorus” between different “verses” – does that help strengthen the track? Keep notes for each track, recording your thoughts on what makes it motivating.
  • Now think about how to organise the P7 lesson, based on the same things you have just done. How should the P7 teacher start the lesson, describing to the children what they will learn and how they will know they have been successful? For example, the P7 teacher could start by making it a problem- solving challenge, not telling the class the purpose of the lesson at the start, and getting them to work it out. She could play extracts from a few different tracks on the list you have prepared, and ask the children to write down what they feel about the music. She could then ask the children to compile their own playlist, perhaps somewhere around 6-8 tracks.
  • Finally, why not compose and record your own inspiring piece of music, based on your research and your own ideas of what motivates you? You could apply some of the skills you have seen demonstrated in the tracks you found, for example the mix of verses and chorus, and a strong or reflective rhythm. You could offer your composition to your P7 teacher, choosing a good title for it. She could play the track as she introduces the lesson, or as background music while the children are working. She could use it as a good example of what they will be asked to do to complete the activity – to compose and record their own motivating music.