singing for change
by MS VoiceWorks
This MS VoiceWorks unit is about music being used as a medium to bring attention to Social Justice issues. Catherine Friel Leclerc & Lidia Alonso, MS VoiceWorks teachers, started out in the first semester by helping the students build a “songwriting tool kit” - a music theory course to build the skills they will need to write a song. They looked at major and minor scales, chords and melodies. They then practised writing melodies over chord structures that were given to them by the teachers. "For the start of this part of the unit - Songwriting for Social Justice, first of all, we brainstormed all the ways in which music could be used to highlight these themes. We analysed some songs that had already been written on the theme of social justice and we built a YouTube playlist for reference and inspiration. Students then explored their passions in terms of social justice and made collaborative groups based on the theme of their project. The students wrote songs based on their strengths; wordsmithing, or playing with lyrics and theme, writing melodies, taking inspiration from chord structures of songs they like, and we supported the work from wherever they were comfortable starting. We then recorded vocals and the students edited their music videos to go with their song."
- Catherine Friel Leclerc, MS VoiceWorks teacher