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If you only had them for one term a year.....

Discussion in 'Music' started by manuscript2007, Jan 25, 2012.

  1. manuscript2007

    manuscript2007 New commenter

    ......what would you teach?
    Curriculum cuts, budget cuts, staffing cuts.....
    If you only taught Y7, Y8 and Y9 for one term each per academic year, what would you teach them? Which topics or key concepts would you choose and why? Is there one scheme of work that you would definitely do, or anything you wouldn't bother trying to squeeze in?
    Interested in everyone's thoughts!!!
  2. manuscript2007

    manuscript2007 New commenter

    ......what would you teach?
    Curriculum cuts, budget cuts, staffing cuts.....
    If you only taught Y7, Y8 and Y9 for one term each per academic year, what would you teach them? Which topics or key concepts would you choose and why? Is there one scheme of work that you would definitely do, or anything you wouldn't bother trying to squeeze in?
    Interested in everyone's thoughts!!!
  3. TrueFaith

    TrueFaith New commenter

    Very little, I'd have thought.

    Seriously, for me it would have to be as practical and exciting as possible so that students get enthused by the subject enough to consider it as an option for further study and extra curricular stuff..

    Blues, some African drumming and maybe something like programme music. It will be really hard to get any kind of progression, as you'll most likely spend your first three weeks or so reminding them of what they already know....
  4. jonowen

    jonowen Occasional commenter

    Not ideal but better than missing out on music altogether. I agree with TF and make it mainly practical but make sure that you choose topics which you know really well and are enthused about. I'd pick Reggae, Ragtime, Jazz and do an arrangement of differentiaited parts.......you know the idea!
    Why not give the pupils some responsibility and set a little competition to tell their peers about their favourite music/band? This will require some homework (or not if you have access to research resources) and why not offer a small prize for the best one? Pupils could work alone or in groups - ask them to decide as a class before the start. (I have done this and remember one girl sharing her love of The Planets with the class - I was delighted that no-one made fun of her or spoilt her talk). You could record this (evidence for good practice) evaluate (teacher and/or peer) and have a starting point if you have this class group the following year.
  5. TrueFaith

    TrueFaith New commenter

    Whilst I agree that listening is important, I think doing little and often is the best way. I tend to (admittedly with far more time than one term a year, I get the regulation hour a week) have a short listening activity in most lessons, whether that is a formal activity, Q+A starter or appraisal of performances. I certainly wouldn't do any more listening than I do now if my teaching time was reduced by 2/3...
  6. silverfern

    silverfern New commenter

    Do you have access to computers with Audacity (or other simple audio software)? If so, get the class to make podcasts about musical topics of interest....
    Eg. Discussion of a favourite pop piece, with history of the singer/band and musical/listening analysis (ie. describing the instruments used, structure, topic of the lyrics, etc). Students have to record themself presenting the factual material and cut and splice in audio examples to illustrate their points.
    Eg. 'Dictionary of musical features' podcast (perhaps for the older year levels?). Students have to explain a musical feature, eg. major and minor chords, and play examples to illustrate their point. Maybe each student has to cover 2 or 3 different musical features (that you've covered in the last 1-2 years of their music lessons?) in their podcast.
    A unit based around knowledge of chords is always useful leading into GCSE. Blues topic covering I, IV and V, or a song-writing topic covering chord progressions, Jazz topic covering added-note harmonies, etc.
  7. i the t

    i the t New commenter

    Our school has a similar situation.
    one term in y7, one in y8 and none in y9 unless you opt for it.
    I completely disagree with Florian re : practical being the worst thing to do.
    Samba and African Drumming go down really well with students and they can get straight into it.
    Singing and beatbox are also practical yet can be accessed easily...
    If you've only got one term you've got a vested interest in doing something that will secure their interest in taking it further. Art at KS3 for eg. is mainly practical yet also involves "hours of practice".
    Practical Practice !
    And the vocational aspect surely is not a consideration at KS3. I mean, how many students take English Lit for it's vocational link to being an author ?
  8. florian gassmann

    florian gassmann Star commenter

    I didn't say it was the "worst" thing to do. I merely pointed out that it doesn't take kids much time to realise that (a) being a performer requires much more time and effort than most are willing to offer, and (b) the overwhelming majority of "consumers" of music (in whatever genre) are listeners. They are not composers and they are not performers.
    Basically, the economics of music simply don't work if most people interested in music are composers, a smaller (but still large) number are performers, and there are a tiny number of listeners at the end of this entire process.
    It was the dire mistake made by the inventors of GCSE, who seized on what was most easily teachable instead of what was most practicable and most relevant.
    I have no doubt whatsoever. And how many of those students are going to be professional African drummers after they have got "straight into it"?
    And do you think these pupils are going to spend the rest of their lives playing African drums as they sit in their city boardrooms or at their Tesco tills, or do you think that they might one day become interested in <u>listening </u>to a more varied musical menu and wondering why their teachers didn't prepare them to understand anything about it?

  9. i the t

    i the t New commenter

    you said it was the "worst possible option" !

    and as for the rest of what you said I can't for th elife of me figure out where you're coming from ?
    Education at KS3 does not need a vocational link does it ?
    I don't teach music to encourage people into making a career out of it, in fact I actively promote
    the unlikelihood of achieving financial success in music in anything other than teaching it.
    I teach the students music for the cognitive, spiritual/emotional and enjoyment and general educational benefits at KS3!
    If you've only got a term per year that's enough to inspire and light a spark and propel those who's calling it is to continue on an extra-curricular basis or opt for it at KS4.
    And are you really suggesting we need to train students how to be consumers of music?

  10. I deeply sympathise with Gassman - the ability for students to apply themselves to listening is in a parlous state. However I don't think it's the job of music education to turn children into audiences. I think John Cage would be turning in his grave were he alive today!. I also think that you will naturally listen to music more attentively if you have had a go, no matter how unskillfully, at making it yourself.
    I would, however, put in a plea that as much practical music making is done though the use of the voice as that would be the most likely way that a non-instrumentalist might join in music making when they are older and requires the least amount of specialist knowledge and practice.
    Finally, you don't need to want to be a "performer" to get a lot out of performing music. I've got grade 8 piano but never had any intention of being a performer.
    And a PS: this whole debate is absolutely shocking and someone needs to be taking these schools to task - where is NAME? Where is the ISM? Can we get a campaign gong to NAME AND SHAME these schools?
  11. manuscript2007

    manuscript2007 New commenter

    Thank you everyone for all your replies and the variety of them!
    Don't get me started. I am stuck in this situation now until goodness knows when and had no consultation beforehand unfortunately. I can only pray that some of the Y9's choose Music regardless, even if they've had no input from me for the past year....
  12. florian gassmann

    florian gassmann Star commenter

    I said performance was the worst possible option <u>on a very limited timetable</u>.
    As I'm sure all musicians would agree, to reach an adequate standard in performance it is necessary to practise regularly. The chances of pupils practising regularly in the 40 weeks per year when they are not having music lessons is very remote.
    No, but exactly the same scenario occurs if you remove the vocational element:
    • the overwhelming majority of people who enjoy music in their lives do so as listeners
    • a very much smaller number do so as performers
    • very few people indeed are composers.
    I really can't see why we have an exam system in which so much importance is placed on composition - apart from anything else, the howls of anguish from teachers every August when the results come out is a reminder that it is a part of music that cannot be assessed reliably, and it is a musical activity that very few people are ever going to pursue into later life.
    I don't feel so strongly about performance - this is something that many people do pursue into later life - but the sense of getting anywhere as a performer is going to be very limited in a scenario in which pupils have 12 weeks "on music" followed by 40 weeks "off music" each year.

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