This is a guest post by one of our teacher authors, Katrina Proctor. She is also the Content Manager at Midnight Music.
Google Doodles are one of the easiest resources to pull out when you need a quick filler-activity. Google Doodles used to be just images & designs laid over or incorporating the Google logo to celebrate holidays and other days, but they have since become a worldwide sensation; often encompassing different activities, games, and other interactive elements.
Katie Wardrobe last wrote about Google Doodles here on the blog several years ago in her article, “9 Interactive Google Doodles You Can Use in Your Music Classes.” Today we’ll highlight some of our new favorite Doodles since then. Enjoy!
In this Google Doodle, go inside the famous Savoy Ballroom, one of the first non-discriminatory public locations in the United States. The doodle sets out a series of rhythmic challenges. As the music plays in the background, a cursor lands on different letters. To play, just type the letters as they are highlighted by the cursor!
This is a great Doodle to come back to when talking about Swing Music, Jazz, African-American Heritage, Ella Fitzgerals, Louis Armstrong. The levels get progressively harder and the game gets students picking up on swing rhythms and anticipating beats.
Zimbabwe’s national instrument, the Mbira, is highlighted in this Google Doodle as you move through the story of a young African girl learning how to play. The Mbira’s sound, described as, “a cross between air and water,” is a unique instrument with a rich and colorful history.
For the Doodle, a story begins each chapter, and then the player plays along with a Zimbabwean song by hovering over the key of a descending circle. The game is easy to play and very relaxing. This doodle would be perfect to reference when studying world music & cultures, traditional African instruments, and improvisation.
Bedřich Smetana became one of the Czech Republic’s most renowned composers. Born in 1824, Smetana was instrumental in developing the characteristic sound of Czech music.
In this doodle, enjoy watching images of a river as it moves from its origination in the mountains through the city of Prague while listening to Smetana’s Vltava (The Moldau). Make sure to remember this Doodle the next time you’re learning about Eastern European music!
John Philip Sousa’s famous march, “Stars & Stripes Forever” has long been a staple at Fourth-of-July events across the United States. In this simple, but beautifully-animated Google Doodle, watch as a little child becomes a front-and-center star of a marching band’s parade.
Remember this Google Doodle as a great introduction activity when you’re teaching about John Philip Sousa, March Style, Marching Band History, and Patriotic Music & make sure to talk about why the illustrator chose the vintage character styling (also referenced on the Doodle homepage).
We’re saving the very best for last!
Johann Sebastian Bach is one of the primary composers of Baroque music, and has long been regarded as one of the greatest composers of all time.
This Google Doodle is fascinating because it uses real-time artificial-intelligence! When you click on the Doodle, you are given a workspace to create a 2-measure composition (the melody). Next, artificial-intelligence analyzes your composition to create a 3-part harmony in Bach’s style. In the Doodle notes, it is said that the AI analyzed 306 Bach compositions to “learn” his progressions and anticipate harmonies which imitate those he could have written.
This would be a great Doodle for talking about harmony, Baroque-Style, counterpoint, or even facilitating discussion on how technology makes music history more fun and exciting.
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About the Writer
Katrina Proctor is the Content Manager at Midnight Music and is also a music teacher from Colorado, USA. She has taught middle school music for nearly 10 years in northern Colorado where her passion is low-income students in Title 1 schools. Currently, Katrina teaches 5th-8th grade chorus, advanced-level chorus, class piano, and general music. She has her Bachelor’s Degree in Music Education & Master’s Degree in Music Education-Choral Conducting from the University of Colorado at Boulder. You can connect with Katrina on Facebook or via her website, She The Teacher.
Looking for More Resources for Music Teachers?
Hello! I’m Katie Wardrobe – an Australian music technology trainer and consultant with a passion for helping music teachers through my business Midnight Music.
I’m a qualified teacher but no, I don’t currently teach in a school. I help teachers through my online professional development space – the Midnight Music Community – where there are tutorial videos, courses, links and downloadable resources.
I like to focus on easy ways to incorporate technology into what you are already doing in your music curriculum through a range of creative projects. I also run live workshops and have presented at countless conferences and other music education events.
If you want simple, effective ideas for using technology in music education, I would LOVE to help you inside the Midnight Music Community.