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Melodic Dictation

Most days, I start my classes off with Bell work questions on the board. Given where my students are at this point in the year and in consideration of our transition to online classes, I decided to replace my usual bell work with a daily melodic dictation example.

melodic dictation.PNG

Yes, it's crooked. No, I don't really care.

Why Melodic Dictation?

Melodic dictation examples assesses several things in a nice, neat little package. Just in four measures, you can see:

  • What's going on with how a student is hearing pitch

  • Do they understand how to draw things correctly on the staff

  • If they are feeling the rhythm correctly

  • If they can audiate

  • (if you time it...which I'm not): How quickly can they process what they are hearing and translate that to paper.

I"m sure there are other benefits, but those are just off the top of my head.

How does it work?

I uploaded 14 audio files, each containing a 4 bar example played on the piano. It's super simple...I just recorded it with my phone. With the audio files, I included a pdf answer sheet with an individual staff for each example that students can write their answers on.

I let my kids know that I expect them to complete at least one example per day to turn in to me on Google Classroom. They can upload the answer document to something like Kami, write their answers, and submit on each daily assignment I've created. I don't care what order they submit them in, as long as they are doing something daily. I tried to create them so that they increase in difficulty as you go down the list. Each example and answer line is included for you to see below:

all step-wise.PNG
DMS skips.PNG
syncopa.start on mi.PNG
eighth notes start on sol.PNG
adding RFL skips.PNG
dotted quarter notes followed by an eigh
RFL skips only.PNG
bass clef with skips.PNG
step wise dotted quarter and syncopa.PNG
adding rests.PNG
half notes vs dotted half notes.PNG
all eighth notes.PNG
skipping around.PNG
free for all.PNG

Some of them are a little lop-sided, and no, the recordings aren't super professional...but they get the job done.

When I uploaded these examples to google classroom, I made sure that my students knew:

  • that I was grading on their attempt, not the correctness of each example

  • they can listen to the example as many times as they want

  • using Google Hangout, Face Time, etc. to work together with a friend is ok to do

  • I will try to provide suggestions and feedback to their work each day

  • They don't have to necessarily go in the order I uploaded them in. 

Want to try this with your students?

Feel free to link this blog post directly into your online platform for students to try. Or, click below for links to my full answer sheet, downloadable melody files, and the answer key.

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