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Thursday, May 29, 2014

Listen, Compose, and Play Music on SFS Kids

Three years ago I explored and reviewed the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra's website for kids called Keeping Score. Recently, the site was overhauled with new features and a new name. The new site is called SFS Kids and it is loaded with good activities for elementary school and middle school students.

On SFS Kids students can learn to compose and play music. Your students can jump into any section of SFS Kids and start learning, but it is probably best if they work through the sections in order. Students get started on SFS Kids by listening to samples of different styles of music performed by the symphony. A pop-up dialog box appears with each selection of music. In that dialog box students will learn a bit about the style of the composition and performance they're hearing. After listening to a selection of recordings students move on to playing games in which they try to recognize and match rhythms.

In the "performance" section of SFS Kids students learn about the instruments commonly heard in a symphony orchestra. After learning about how the instruments are played it is time for students to jump into the "composition" section of SFS Kids where they'll work through a series of lessons on the basics of composition and begin writing their own pieces.

The roles of the conductor of an orchestra can appear to be simple to the untrained eye and ear. In the "conduct" section of SFS Kids students learn what a conductor does. Students can try their hands at conducting a virtual orchestra after they learn that a conductor does more than just wave a baton.

Applications for Education
Students could spend an hour on SFS Kids and still not run out of things to explore. In a 1:1 setting you could have students create compositions on the site and then share them in your classroom as mini-concert of original compositions.

H/T to Larry Ferlazzo for the news about the update to SFS Kids.