Activity Introduction

artology-air-violinQuick summary: This lesson is designed to inspire students to use riffs or ostinato to start composing an attention grabbing fanfare. Students understand how repetition can be used to create a compelling work.

This lesson is part of the Fanfare Competition unit. The unit is designed for students to build their aural and technical skills while exploring music as an art form through listening, composing and performing. Students are encouraged to apply their learning by planning and organising a composition for the Fanfare Competition.

The competition encourages young people aged 12‐21 years to write a new work to be played at venues across Australia to replace the ‘cue bells’ for audiences to take their seats. It is a wonderful way to showcase young people and musicians, and encourage creativity in young people.

Learning intentions:

  • Students consider the role of riffs in music, and create their own riff/s.
  • Students build their capacity to be creative and express ideas musically.

21st century skills:

Australian Curriculum Mapping

Content descriptions:

Year 7 & 8 Music

  • Experiment with texture and timbre in sound sources using aural skills (ACAMUM092).
  • Structure compositions by combining and manipulating the elements of music using notation (ACAMUM095).
  • Analyse composers’ use of the elements of music and stylistic features when listening to and interpreting music (ACAMUR097).

Syllabus OutcomesMUS4.4, MUS4.5, MUS4.6, MUS4.7, MUS4.8, MUS4.9, MUS4.10

General capabilities: Critical and Creative Thinking

Relevant parts of Year 7 and 8 achievement standards: Students identify and analyse how the elements of music are used in different styles and apply this knowledge in their performances and compositions. Students manipulate the elements of music and stylistic conventions to compose music. They use aural skills, music terminology and symbols to recognise, memorise and notate features, such as melodic patterns in music they perform and compose.

Topic: Fanfare Competition. 

Unit of work: Artology Fanfare Competition.

Time needed: 60 minutes.

Level of teacher scaffolding: High – teacher requires musical knowledge to guide student ideas.

Digital technology opportunities: GarageBand loops provide a quick means of showing the use of riffs.

Resources required: Device capable of presenting a video to the class. Optional: Fanfare Competition DIY Student Toolkit.

Key words: Fanfare, riff, phrase, ostinato, layers.

Cool Australia’s curriculum team continually reviews and refines our resources to be in line with changes to the Australian Curriculum.


Teacher Worksheet

Teacher Preparation

Learning intentions:

  • Students consider the role of riffs in music, and create their own riff/s.
  • Students build their capacity to be creative and express ideas musically.

Success criteria:

Students can...

  • ... identify a riff in a song.
  • ... play their own riff.


Teacher content information:

Artology Fanfare Competition 2016-17 ( is a fanfare?
A fanfare is normally a relatively short piece of music that is typically played by trumpets, cornets, french horns or other brass instruments, often accompanied by percussion. It is usually intended for important social purposes, such as ceremonial events involving important people or animals; exclamations of significant activities during an event (such as the introduction and closing); or to precede announcements with the purpose of gaining the attention of the audience. Similarly, musical works themselves often begin, transition, or end with fanfares or fanfare-li

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