Welcome to Puzzle Pieces!

This page contains notes and guidelines for teachers on how to use the Puzzle Pieces and the Warm-ups and Composing Projects that comprise the Puzzle Pieces project. It gives a quick summary of how it all works, but as there’s a lot of materials available it might be worth re-visiting this page a few times once you’ve started to work with the pieces.

Check out the PDF downloads at the bottom of the page for a detailed introduction, suggested termly plans, illustrations of how Puzzle Pieces links to the National Curriculum and guidelines on how Puzzle Pieces maps onto the Model Music Curriculum in KS2 & 3.

There are 25 Puzzle Pieces in total. These are:

  • Bolero
  • Bounce
  • Bhangra
  • Caribbean Ostinato
  • Cool Blues
  • Daydreamer*
  • Foghorn!
  • Funk
  • Haunted House
  • Komoriuta
  • Jazz on Toast*
  • Ode to Joy
  • Pavane*
  • R&B
  • Rain Dance
  • Raindrops
  • Scottish Air
  • Shout Out!
  • Sidescroller
  • Sneak…
  • Spanish Sunset
  • Streetlamp Strut
  • Syncopitski
  • That’s a Wrap!
  • Waltz Through Paris

*Daydreamer. Jazz on Toast and Pavane are graphic scores, designed to encourage improvisation.

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Each piece has parts for the following instruments:

  • Bb Brass (treble clef)
  • Trombone (bass clef)
  • Eb Brass (treble clef)
  • Tuba (bass clef)
  • Clarinet (in Bb)
  • Flute
  • Recorder
  • Alto Saxophone
  • Violin
  • Cello
  • Guitar
  • Ukulele
  • Percussion/Drum Kit
  • Tuned Percussion*
  • Boomwhackers

*Although specific parts are not included for piano and keyboard, players can use the tuned percussion levels to play along

When you select the piece you want, you get access to ALL these parts and each part includes ALL the levels available for that instrument. You just have to download and print the ones you need.

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NEW: pBuzz Parts now available for all Puzzle Pieces

About the parts

  • Clarinet has additional ‘B’ levels, which are higher versions of the music in lower levels, taking the clarinet over the break (e.g. Level 1b = an octave higher than Level 1 clarinet).
  • Bb Brass (treble clef) matches up with Trombone (bass clef) levels.
  • Eb Brass (treble clef) matches up with Tuba (bass clef) levels.
  • Boomwhacker levels are presented in two different ways; with coloured noteheads to match the colour of the boomwhackers used and also with correlating coloured spots, for those who find it difficult to read the coloured noteheads. These also match up with the Tuned Percussion parts.
  • Percussion/Drum levels 1-2 do not specify what instruments to use. This is deliberate, as it allows flexibility to choose instruments either appropriate to the style of the piece, or indeed from what may physically be available! Level 1 uses a single line stave, indicating a single sound/instrument. Level 2 is written on a two line stave, indicating two different sounds (e.g. high/low). Level 3 is a basic drum kit pattern (using 2 or 3 instruments) with Level 4 using more complex drum kit patterns.
  • Guitar and Ukulele levels have traditional notation and TAB parts available, with chord charts for some pieces.
Image of cassette tape

BACKING TRACKS:

Each of the Puzzle Pieces has a pre-recorded backing track, which fits with all of the different levels of different instrumental parts and can be used in performances. Six of the pieces also have “flexible ensemble” band parts, which can be given to more experienced players and used to accompany performances instead of (or even as well as) the backing tracks.

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WARM-UPS AND COMPOSING PROJECTS

The Puzzle Pieces themselves are only part of the picture. The overall project material also includes a number of warm-ups and composing projects. The warm-ups can be used simply to start a class off and get them focussed on music, but they can also form composition projects in themselves.

WARM-UP TRACKS:

In addition to backing tracks for each of the Puzzle Pieces, there are also additional warm-up tracks in different keys (see table below for transposed notes):

  • Funk Riff (concert Bb)
  • Ballad (concert C)
  • Kick (concert D)
  • Love Song (concert A)
  • Samba (percussion sounds only)

The warm-up tracks are intended to be used for improvised call and response activities in whole class tuition groups. Samba can be used with instruments on any note, as the track is percussion only. However, it can also be used purely for rhythmic purposes (e.g. clapping rhythms or drumming on chairs etc.) building up layers of rhythm, in keeping with the samba style. The use of signals to start/stop sections can be introduced here, with the use of e.g. a whistle.

MICRO WARM-UP TRACKS:

There are also 5 Micro Warm-up tracks in Bb, C, D, Eb and F (concert pitch). These tracks are roughly 30 seconds long, with a 4 bar introduction and 8 bars to play. These can be used in the same manner as the other tracks, as short call and response pieces, or as part of a composing exercise, where pupils are encouraged to come up with ideas for their own rhythms to try on an appropriate note along with the tracks (or alternatively to decide on the order a set of given rhythms will be performed in).

COMPOSING PROJECTS:

There are four sets of composing projects also available as part of the Puzzle Pieces project. Each of them is designed to tackle musical composition from a slightly different angle and spark your group’s creativity.

  1. Ostinato comes with a backing track and is designed to introduce the idea of working with ostinato/chords. (Not to be confused with Caribbean Ostinato, which is one of the 25 Puzzle Pieces!)
  2. Rounds, Songs and Pentagram Dances is a suite of three composition projects; these do not come with a backing track and are worksheets designed to provide a starting point for creative composition projects.
  3. The two Music Maps are a kind of musical/sonic game, encouraging players to use their instruments to mimic the sounds that might be heard on a train journey or in a farmyard. Artwork for the Music Maps was created by illustrator Mark Pankhurst.
Go to the Warm-ups and Composing Projects
Concert Pitch Key Instruments in C Instruments in B flat Instruments in E flat Instruments in F
A A B F# E
B flat B flat C G F
C C D A G
D D E B A
E flat E flat F C B flat
F F G D C
G G A E D

LINKS AND DOWNLOADS

Download Introduction and Instructions
Suggested 2-year termly plan
National Curriculum Links
Puzzle Pieces and the Model Music Curriculum
Puzzle Pieces Rhythm Flash Cards
Go to the Puzzle Pieces
Go to the Warm-ups and Composing Projects