Process Over Product in PYP Music

The ISPP creative cycle is not stagnant, nor do all stages happen in chronological order. Often students will jump around the various stages and this is part of the process in music class.

The past academic year has presented its challenges for all Elementary students in the music studio. The new restrictions led to many new experiments in the curriculum while simultaneously preserving the high standards of learning music at ISPP. Throughout the year we celebrated many successes such as our Grade 4 and Show Choir assembly performance in October, however, we also had a few disappointments in regards to being able to perform. Despite these setbacks, all students should celebrate their accomplishments in regards to their musical education this year.

The IB Primary Years Programme (PYP) places equal emphasis on process and product in the arts. The process of creating a performance is long and taxing – all students, along with their teacher, go through the creative cycle. The creative cycle at ISPP includes four parts:

PYP Creative Cycle

INVESTIGATE: where students are first introduced to the projects, learn the parameters of the art form, and draw on previous knowledge.

DEVELOP IDEAS: where students delve deeper into the art form and start to formulate their ideas about it.

CREATE: where students create their art form.

EVALUATE: where students evaluate their art form while also taking into consideration feedback from peers and teachers.

This creative cycle is not stagnant, nor do all stages happen in chronological order. Often students will jump around the various stages and this is part of the process in music class. Also, students are required to document their process along the way.


Grade 1 and Grade 2: Choreography projects

Grade 1 and Grade 2 students were in the midst of the creative cycle creating their own small group dance performances. With a focus on the elements of dance, students chose their theme and music and designed their choreography plans with movements. A composition project that emphasises both creating and responding and working together in a group, these dances were in the evaluation stage of the creative cycle when the campus closed. Students were looking for feedback from their peers and teachers to improve their performances and polish the final product. Despite not having a final performance, all Grade 1 and Grade 2 students greatly benefited from going through the creative cycle.

Grade 3 and Grade 4: Composition projects

Grade 3 and Grade 4 students were in the final stages of their composition projects in preparation to share them with an online audience at their Spotlight on the Arts. Grade 3 students were using the creative cycle to create their pentatonic xylophone performances. Students chose their theme, created a title to represent their work, and documented their music using traditional musical notation on the treble clef. Grade 4 students were using the creative cycle to create their electronic compositions using the app GarageBand, paying particular attention to creating new and interesting genres and the musical elements timbre and form. Sadly, the campus closed as students evaluated their compositions, received feedback from peers, and put the final touches on their work. Despite not being able to share their compositions with a formal audience, both Grade 3 and Grade 4 students learned perseverance and a variety of compositional techniques while going through the creative cycle.

ISPP Spotlight on the Arts

Grade 5: Composition project

Grade 5 students were recording their composition projects and preparing for their online Spotlight on the Arts performances. They were working on creating their parodies, throughout the creative process students had chosen their theme, their source, and worked to change the lyrics ultimately creating their unique work. Luckily for Grade 5, students were able to share their final products when we moved to online school as they had their work saved in the personal Google Drive folders, a music win! This online Spotlight on the Arts performance looked and sounded different. Grade 5 students had the option of performance as they all didn’t have the necessary equipment to record at home with accompaniment, however, their process was proudly displayed on SeeSaw for a formal audience. Throughout the process, students learned new ways to perform under our current restrictions, new audiences to consider, and demonstrated the perseverance to individually create their music.

Show Choir: Concert performance

We were lucky enough to be able to continue the Show Choir this year at ISPP! The Elementary Show Choir is an auditioned group, comprised of Grade 4 and Grade 5 students. We met twice weekly at lunchtime to practice our repertoire in the music studio, which was a large commitment for these students. Our Show Choir did have one successful performance at the Grade 4 assembly, and when campus closed we were one week away from our scheduled performance in the Black Box. This year, the students chose most of the repertoire, took turns conducting, auditioned for solos, and were in charge of their ensemble. Sadly the final performance was cancelled, however, all Show Choir members should be proud of their accomplishments in putting together a performance under the new restrictions, true performance pioneers. I would also like to thank the members of the Show Choir band who were set to accompany this fantastic group of singers: Mr Jon, Mr Steve, and Ms Yao.

Congratulations to all Elementary music students for their creativity, flexibility, and hard work this academic year. You should all be proud of what you have accomplished under the given circumstances. With all these new skills you will be ready to rock the music studio next year!

Danielle Baird | IB PYP Music Teacher

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