Major pentatonic (Bb C D F G)
Japanese "In" pentatonic (D Eb G A Bb)
Lydian pentatonic (C D E F# A)
Then I asked each student to noodle around on their favorite scale and come up with a 2-bar ostinato. After a few minutes, everyone shared what they composed. It was clear that Amy's was our favorite, so we all learned it. Then I played that ostinato over and over and had everyone improvising along to find a complementary pattern. Ben wrote one that was essentially an inversion of the original, so we all learned that as well. Ellis filled in some of the rests and created a 1-bar rhythmic motive for the keyboard percussion, and I modified it for the flutes.
Once we had all of our material, it was time to play our piece. We began by repeating the first note of the main ostinato over and over, adding a couple more notes every few iterations. This was inspired by Steve Reich's minimalist percussion work, Drumming. The countermelody came in next, followed by the rhythmic parts. Then Ethan played a soaring improvised theme on top of everything. The piece ended as an arch form, with the layers exiting in the opposite order that they entered.
Here is a fairly unrehearsed version of our piece. Enjoy!