Comparison/Contrast in literacy
A great way to come to understand a text or a group of texts is to use comparison/contrast. This is particularly useful when students have familiarity with concepts or issues present in a text but some elements refute their current understandings. This can be done in verbal or written form. Graphic organizers, such as Venn diagrams, are very useful for helping students recognize the relationships between different texts.
Comparison/Contrast in music
Due to the extended time spent on preparing different pieces, ensemble students in particular are primed for activities associated with comparison/contrast. If students have had experience before with pieces by the same or related composer, period, genre, or style, they can be asked to look at the new piece of music and compare it to that which they have studied before. So, for example, a band might be playing King’s march, Invictus, having previously played Sousa’s Washington Post. Students could either as a pre, during, or post-playing activity compare and contrast the style, features, tonalities, purpose, and character of these marches. The benefit is that students become more aware of the poignant features of the piece, prompting both deeper understanding and more immediate performance ability of the piece, because they perform from a position of familiarity as opposed to starting every piece as a blank slate.