Nurturing creativity in the PYP 7 music lesson

Contribution by Ms Ilein Bermudez

The idea for this unit on ancient civilizations was to make a monochord1 using the following materials: a thick piece of cardboard, elastic bands, paper fastener split pins, glue tack and cork stoppers. Instead of following a list of instructions to complete the task, students were given the freedom to come up with their own ideas to make the monochord. The only requirement was that the elastic band had to be tense enough to produce an audible tone.

Students were invited to embark on a journey of trial and error. The goal was to explore how to make their monochord sound best by gathering information on what works and what doesn’t. As Canadian educator Sylvia Woodworth points out, the road to achieving success is like an iceberg. Success involves treading a path that will take us through failures, disappointment, hard work, dedication, and persistence.
While making the monochord, broken elastic bands or wobbly cork stoppers turned out to be like messages telling students what they needed to do differently, what they needed to change. By using previous or new knowledge and using critical thinking skills, PYP7 students came up with great ideas to make a monochord following their own design, e.g., grooves on the bridge, two monochords in one, or different ways of holding the elastic band.