What’s in a Name? – James Humberstone

Combining studies in composition and experimental music with 11 years’ experience at MLC School, James Humberstone has developed an approach to creating new music for children and supporting resources. Now a lecturer in Music Education at the Sydney Con, today Humberstone works in the fields of composition, music education and technology research.


What’s (Musically) in a Name?; An Example of Cross-curricular Project-based-learning Between Maths and Music.

This session will focus on a unit of work designed for middle years (years 6 to 8). Listening, performing, improvisation and composition activities will be delivered hands-on. Participants can play provided Orff instruments or bring their own (melodies in all transpositions will be provided). Composition extensions in GarageBand will be presented, and participants can BYO technology (any simple sequencing program on a laptop or tablet will work) or simply watch that final part.

The unit of work was developed after visiting the High Tech High charter schools in San Diego. In these schools, all subjects are taught as projects with teachers from many disciplines working together, hands-on, and collaboratively. The exception to the approach was maths, which was taught traditionally and separately. Music and Maths have always had many things in common, so this unit was designed to encode a number sequence into a pattern (which required understanding of angles and measurement) and also into a student composition. Come along and compose!