Nancy B. Jefferson School

2016-2017 Residencies


How can music be composed without the use of traditional notation?

What are the different parts of a musical composition and how can they be manipulated to make a complete work?

How does music allow for us to share our emotions, feelings, and experiences?



Students will learn the basic elements of music such as melody, rhythm, and accompaniment, among others.

Students will learn how to connect specific musical elements by using graphic notation while communicating with performers about the meaning of the graphics.

Classes will be divided into groups and work together to create their own, original graphic scores.

Students will learn how to communicate and associate their social and emotional feelings with music and graphic notation.

Students will learn about Spanish cultures across the world and how elements of their cultures can be reflected musical composition.


Fifth House began this residency with the students at Nancy B. Jefferson School enrolled in a Spanish language class. Class will be divided into groups and work together to create their own, original graphic scores with titles in Spanish and inspired by the Spanish cultures they have been learning about for the past semester. Fifth House Ensemble teaching artists will break down the different parts of a musical composition including, melody, rhythm, ostinato, articulation, and extended techniques with the instruments being used for the project. Each weekly visit will focus on one of these facets and will end with the students using graphics to notate them onto their final projects.


“You have made me see my son in a new light.”

-Parent of Nancy B. Jefferson Participant

“Thank you for this program – it makes me feel a little more free.”

-Participant of Nancy B. Jefferson residency



As part of their final project for this residency, students worked in groups to create original compositions in graphic notation. The student composers each introduced their pieces in front of an audience of school and center administration, and parents before performing the world premiere of their composition with members of 5HE.

2016-2017 residency programs at the Nancy B. Jefferson Alternative School were supported in part by grants from the Paul M. Angell Family Foundation and the Field Foundation of Illinois.