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Give your students the skills, confidence, and community to create their own music.


Game Symphony Workshop: Creative Pedagogy for Music Educators trains music educators from diverse disciplines to teach improvisation and composition. The course includes examples of learning activities, case studies, and follow-up support.

Saturday, June 1st, 2019
9:30 AM - 4:30 PM
Seattle Pacific University, Nickerson Studios
6 CEU Clock Hours available

The class is taught by saxophonist, author, and SPU faculty member Steve Treseler and special guests. Steve has designed innovative improvisation curriculum for music programs across the country.

Presented by Common Tone Arts

Topics and Schedule

9:30 Overview and Introductions

9:45 Crafting Learning Environments

We will begin with an overview of principles for creating learning environments that are engaging and effective. We will discuss research on skill development and community based learning environments, introducing the principles of:

  • Intrinsic Motivation

  • Deliberate Practice vs. Creative Practice

  • Flow

  • Community and Identity

  • Tom Sawyer Effect

  • Skill/Challenges Ratio

10:30 Icebreaker Games

Community-building games and activities introduce creative practices in a fun and dynamic environment. These games ease fears, engage every student in the group, and help students quickly generate new music.

Activities include:

  • Soundpainting

  • Adaptations of Improv Theater Games

  • Bucket Drumming

11:15 Creativity Through Limitation

Students can quickly channel their skills into fresh new musical ideas by limiting musical elements like pitch, rhythm, register, density, dynamics, and tone color. Overview of material from Steve’s book Creativity Triggers for Musicians.

11:45 Improvisation is Fundamental
Guest presenter: Laura Young, Sumner-Bonney Lake SD

Through games, ensembles, and exercises, we will discover how the ability to improvise is fundamental to understanding the language of music. The activities in this session are applicable for students grades K-12+ and are engaging elements to integrate into your classes and rehearsals.

12:30 Lunch Break (provided)

1:30 Rhythm First for Jazz

Experience an effective method for teaching jazz improvisation rooted in rhythm, thematic variation, audiation, and call and response.

2:15 Intro to Digital Music Production

Presenter: Lauren McKinley, Northshore School District

Help students producing their own music with a laptop. Lauren will give an introduction to software, equipment, digital audio workstations, and midi.

3:15 Graphic Scores

Intro to group composition through non-traditional notation. Includes examples and case studies.

4:00-4:30 Wrap Up and Q&A

Register Now

See some of the the learning activities in action, and watch Steve present for professors at Berklee College of Music: