Musicians Do It In the Dark - Albuquerque Public Schools

“Musicians Do It In the Dark”
Using blacklight to enhance
General Music curriculum
Jan Delgado, [email protected]
Antonio Romero, [email protected]
Anna Perea, [email protected]
Stacy Sandoval, [email protected]
Albuquerque Public Schools
Catherine Estrada, [email protected]
Valencia Elementary, Los Lunas Public Schools
The workshop presenters have been “doing it in the
dark” for several years and have gathered many tips
on equipment, safety concerns, and setting up
blacklights in various venues.
Information and lesson plans can be found at (click on Workshops)
Why bother?
 Because it’s cool! It creates an air of magic and
 Blacklight simply provides an environment, so
standards for any music activity apply.
 For many students, it provides a comfort level for
movement - they don’t focus so much on their
own bodies because they are moving a prop.
 It can enhance self-awareness, especially in
moving slowly.
 It can be a “carrot” or reward.
 It’s another way to “practice it one more time
before the test.”
Types of room set-up:
1. Create a small stage area with black backdrops. With
this option, only part of the class performs while the
rest are an audience. Fewer blacklights may be
needed. Also, if performers dress completely in black,
they can create an illusion of things floating in space.
2. Have the whole room bathed in blacklight. Here, it is
impossible to cover everything to make it completely
dark, but that’s OK, as visual capability is needed for
safety in movement.
Anna keeps her windows covered all year round and can simply turn off the room
lights and turn on the blacklights which are placed around the edge of the room.
Below: photos of window coverings and fasteners
Antonio’s ceiling lights have 3 levels, so he has installed blacklights in the fixtures
and just flips a switch to have blacklight all over the room.
Cathy has created window coverings with magnets, which stick to the frames. She
also made skylight covers and large blackout curtains for the multipurpose room.
Blacklight hanging on wall
Coverings for windows
Skylight coverings
Jan has blacklights hanging from suspended ceiling
hooks. The extension cord is fastened to the ceiling
grid with binder clips. Black sheets are hung on 10
foot conduit rods and black curtains cover the
windows. She can just plug in the lights and pull
the curtains. The blacklights could also be set up
like footlights - by turning a table on its side and
setting the lights behind it.
Stacy has a large storeroom, which is set up for blacklight all the time.
 Teach music activities first in a normal setting, before doing in blacklight.
 Expect good behavior, but have a clear “stop” signal for any blacklight
activity (the simplest is to just turn on the lights).
 Be aware of ventilation. Limit the blacklight activity time, or have an
outside AC source.
 Plug each blacklight into a separate outlet, or use an extension cord
made for multi-appliances. Add up the voltage of the lights and do not
overload the extension cord and circuit. Unplug the lights or extension
cord when not in use.
 Spray curtains with fire retardant.
Disclaimer: information not officially approved by Fire Marshall. 1-9-14
Blacklights, blackout items (prices approximate):
Blacklights: Home Depot, Lowe’s, Party City,
Walmart – $20 for 4 ft single hood, $13 per bulb,
$10 for 18” fixture.
Black butcher paper, construction paper
Black felt: Walmart – $3.97 per yard
Blackout curtain material: Walmart - $10 for
Black sheets: Walmart - $5 twin
Conduit: Lowe’s - $3 for 10 ft
Suspended (drop) ceiling hook: Lowe’s, Amazon - $2
Fire Retardant Spray: $25 Safety flare, 2803
Richmond (behind Walmart on Carlisle)
Christmas tree extension cord: Walmart $5
Glow items (fluorescent / phosphorescent):
Portable Ultraviolet light – pet stores
White gloves: Theater House - $1.95 pair (ask your local HS band director black gloves are in vogue now, so there might be white glove discards)
Juggling scarves: Discount School Supply - $15 dozen, Music in Motion - $25
White copy paper (96 bright), toilet paper, crepe paper, pipe cleaners
White-out (use like paint), chalk on black paper, fluorescent marker, gel pens
Fluorescent cardstock - red, orange, pink, yellow, green
Fluorescent tempera paint - red, orange, pink, yellow, green, blue
Hot glue, quinine (tonic water)
Tennis balls, scarves, hula-hoops
Lycra bands (cut swimsuit material)
Flag tape, glow duct tape, certain plastics
Pom-poms, white cotton cloth, tulle, glow yarn, and certain ribbons
Glow-in-the-dark props from and Halloween stores
Stick puppets…
APS Fine Arts Teachers Lesson Share from 2011:
More Fun:
Slow-Motion Creative Movement
Practice slow-motion simultaneous imitation (mirroring) with students.
First time, teacher leads the whole class. Discuss musical elements (style, form,
phrasing, tempo, smooth/legato, etc.). Second time, have students lead in
groups of two, then form circles of 6 to 8 students. To change leaders silently,
the current leader simply stops and the next one takes over.
One graceful movement activity is for groups of four people who all face the
same direction in a diamond shape. The person whose back is towards everyone
else leads. Let’s say “North” is the first leader. When finished, “North” simply
stops and turns East and so does everyone else. The “East” person is now the
leader, and so forth.
Perform in blacklight with white theater gloves and/or Lycra stretchy bands.
The Orchestra Song (Austrian Round) – Lesson Plan
Main Objective:
Perform several separate singing parts (actually partner songs)
Other Objectives:
Create motions to highlight melodic contour
Use blacklight to visually highlight the partner-song experience
Source: Spotlight on Music, Grade 5, pg 332, CD 20:6, 7, & 8
Materials: large blacklight-visible paper instruments backed with black paper or color w/highlighters)
Teach each part of the song to students over a course of several class periods
Divide students into 5 groups (one for each part of the song)
Each group creates movements to accompany their part of the song with the focus of showing
something about the melodic contour of their part.
Give every member of each group an almost life-size paper instrument to use for movement.
Groups practice, then each group shares their created movement in blacklight.
Class can critique and offer suggestions for improving the look of the motions.
The class performs the entire song in blacklight, with each group entering in turn until all groups
are singing together. Paper instruments should stay ‘hidden’ (black side to audience)
until they enter the song. First perform w/the CD which includes all singing parts.
When this is successful, use the accompaniment-only recording.
Did the groups’ motions appropriately reflect their part’s melodic contour?
Were the students able to sing their part and perform their created motion along with
the other parts?
Seven - Lesson Plan
Teach seven rhythm patterns.
Once students are very comfortable with each pattern, decide the form:
Basic, Canon, Retrograde, mix with other drumming patterns, etc.
Cover drums with black butcher paper. Students wear white theater gloves.
If students are dressed in black, only the gloves show.
Opportunities for differentiation and scaffolding:
Have small groups decide the form they are comfortable with
All students learn the same form, etc.
Source: To Drum, by Chris Judah-Lauder (Beatin’ Path Publications)
Beatles “Help” – Lesson Plan
Objective: Move to the steady beat of a song while exploring different body levels.
· Paper plates (with florescent spray pant on one side)
· Explore different body levels by making statues. (high, medium, low)
· Add paper plates and point out that plates always face toward audience.
· Play recording of “Help” by the Beatles. Every time the phrase “Help I need
somebody,” is heard, everyone makes a statue. During the other sections of the song
the group follows the selected leader.
· After students are comfortable moving with lights on, do in blacklight.
· Did students move to the steady beat?
· Were students able to show different levels?
In small groups, have students figure out form of song and create own movements,
Each group performs for the whole class.
· Allow students to use other black light props.i
Idea adapted from “Pop Goes the Shulwerk,” Eric L. Young, Denver AOSA Conference Nov. 2013
Tips for dramatic presentations
• Keep images large and simple – detail gets lost in the dark.
• Trace images onto cardboard by taking a picture (or use a document reader), and projecting it.
• If there is to be narration, print in large type on white 96 bright paper – the words can be seen in
blacklight. Or, use a stand light and use a black paper covering to hide it from the audience.
• Orff instruments: put a piece of glow-in-the-dark tape on the bars needed.
The little Old Lady Who Wasn’t Afraid of Anything, by Linda Williams
Create ostinati for the shoes, gloves, shirt, pants, hat, head. Perform the ostinati cumulatively as
each item appears in the story. Use actual clothing for those items and parade them across the
stage. If students wear black, it will look like the objects are floating. At the end of the story, form
them into a “scarecrow.”
Very Busy Spider, by Eric Carle
Create a simple tune for the recurring phrase, ”The spider didn’t answer…” Use white cotton string
for the web and string it between two posts as the spider spins her web during the story. Animals
can be painted cardboard cutouts or live actors with blacklight make-up and/or costumes.
Books that have a nighttime or winter setting are particularly adaptable, such as Bear Noel, by
Olivier Dunrea, or Night Dancer, by Marcia Vaughn.
Hand Jives - Lesson Plan
Create a 16-beat hand jive and then use it within a larger piece.
Large white construction paper, black markers, white gloves, blacklight
• Divide class into an even number of groups (4-7 students). Two groups will team up.
• Each group creates a 16 beat hand jive and writes it down in black marker on the paper.
Note: see next slide for hand jive ideas
All groups’ hand jives must end on “pat-clap-snap.” Write large enough to see the words
from about 4 feet - the black words on white paper can be seen under blacklight.
• Put papers on floor. Each group practices their own hand jive, then two groups practice
with each other, first performing their hand jives in succession, then simultaneously.
• The groups then perform their hand jives while standing in between each other.
• Wear gloves, and perform in blacklight.
• Switch the groups around to create new larger pieces.
Perform hand jives in canon. Create a grand rondo with all the groups.
Did students create a 16 beat hand jive?
Did students successfully perform with another group?

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