The Arts Unit presents an exciting group composition project for students, featuring animateur Paul Rissmann and choreographer Josef Brown.
In 2016, the NSW Department of Education The Arts Unit joined forces with international animateur and composer Paul Rissman to present an exciting group composition project for students: 'Firebird Forensics'. This cross curricula eResource has been developed from that program in order to provide teachers and students with the opportunity to collaborate in a composition project in the areas of music and dance.
Written by Alex Manton (music teacher) and Adelaide Eastley (dance teacher at Asquith Girls High School) this resource contains contextual information about the source work, 'The Firebird' by Stravinsky, comprehensive classroom activities in both dance and music, as well as additional materials, such as programs, worksheets, and assessments, to assist with the successful implementation of these units in your teaching practice.
'The Firebird' is a ballet score, written by famous Russian composer Igor Stravinsky in 1910. It was one of three ballets written for Diaghilev’s Ballet Russes and was premiered in Paris in 1910. Due to its great success, it was subsequently reorchestrated as a suite for orchestra in 1911, 1919 and 1945. 'The Firebird' not only catapulted Stravinsky into the international spotlight as a progressive composer of the 20th century, but this was the beginning of Stravinsky and Diaghilev’s collaboration which went on to produce other ballets such as 'Petrushka' and 'The Rite of Spring'.
The focused study of 'The Firebird' provides teachers and students with the opportunity to collaborate through a unique composition and performance project.
'The Firebird' is suitable for students in Years 10 – 11 (Stages 5 & 6) and is relevant to the Australian Curriculum learning areas of The Arts. The information and resources provided addresses the cross-curriculum general capabilities of creative and critical thinking through the composition process. Within the teamwork focus of the learning activities provided, personal and social capabilities are also addressed.
Teachers should consult the NSW Board of Studies for details on their currently endorsed curriculum and syllabus subject material.
'Firebird Forensics' gave 30 music students from government school students the opportunity to dissect Stravinsky’s 'The Firebird' and expand and explore their own composition skills and ideas under the guidance of Paul Rissmann. At the conclusion of the project, the students presented their work in a public performance.
Students explored thematic material, scales, modes, rhythms and structures from The Firebird and use them to create a new group composition.
For dance students, the aim of this project was to collaborate, choreograph and perform a dance work that responds to Stravinsky’s 'The Firebird Suite' (1919). Under the guidance of choreographer Josef Brown, the students structured their choreographic work using various tools and types of stimuli.
The students were also required to present a comparative report on Stravinsky’s composition and their own socio-historical context.