Activity Introduction

opera-houseQuick summary: This lesson is designed to inspire students to experiment with rhythm. Students use syncopation and irregular bar lengths to inspire their own 30 second attention grabbing piece of music to enter into the Fanfare Competition.

Fanfare logoThis 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 in the Sydney Opera House to replace the ‘cue bells’ for audiences to take their seats. It is a wonderful way to showcase young artists and musicians, and encourage creativity in young people.

Learning goals:

  • Students consider the possibilities of variable bar lengths when composing.
  • Students experiment with a traditional African rhythm (using syncopation).
  • Students build their capacity to be creative and express ideas musically.

General capabilities: Critical and creative thinking

Australian Curriculum content descriptions:

Year 9 & 10 Music

  • Manipulate combinations of the elements of music in a range of styles, using technology and notation (ACAMUM100).
  • Plan and organise compositions with an understanding of style and convention, including drawing upon Australian music by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists (ACAMUM102).

Syllabus OutcomesMUS5.4, MUS5.5, MUS5.6.

Time needed:  60 minutes.

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

Resources required: Manuscript, whiteboard. Fanfare Competition DIY Student Toolkit.

Key words: fanfare, composition, rhythm, beat, bar-length, attention-grabbing, syncopation, canon, round.

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


Teacher Worksheet

artology-air-violinTeacher preparation

Overarching learning goal: Students use syncopation and irregular bar lengths to inspire their own short composition for the Fanfare Competition.

Teacher content information:

Artology Video (

What 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-like themes. The term is also used symbolically, such as to describe occasions that are greatly publicised, even when no music is involved. Watch this video for mo

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