Orchestration Crash Course – Gamified?

I knew from the start that as the topic is ‘Music of the Last 25 Years (Australian Focus)’ I couldn’t just teach exclusively choral music for the whole term, so the idea of moving into Orchestrated choral pieces or choir with orchestra was something I needed to consider how I would incorporate that into the composition portfolio. Orchestration, being something I haven’t done a whole lot of in the past, is a big topic, one many teachers would argue you can’t teach in a few weeks, let alone a whole unit. However students will be attempting there more fantastic and expansive scores yet, especially the composer elective students, so necessary plans need to be put in place for teaching about orchestration.


Whilst fretting about how I would do this, and searching for good resources I thought, why not create an interactive notation/arrangement exercise that will teach a few key skills of orchestration? Straight after I had this idea I put it on the backburner as something I probably wouldn’t have time to do. How was I going to transcribe a big full orchestral piece, adapt it for my needs and include it in different forms ready to be manipulated by students on various notation softwares? And get the rest of the assignment done?


Luckily a friend reminded me that MuseScore (the notation software I use) has a score sharing forum on their website, MuseScore.org . I looked around on the sight and quickly found a neat little excerpt from Beethoven’s 5th Symphony. It was free, and had permission to be used in personal and education non commercial environments so I downloaded it, stripped the dynamics from the score, mucked around with the balance by doubling solos or putting mid range inner parts down two octaves in the bass and I had a fully interactive ‘put this back in order’ puzzle activity.


You can check out my activity here, feel free to play around on it, there is a PDF version, MuseScore version and MusicXML version that you should be able to open on most notation softwares.


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