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Discussion in 'Music' started by silverfern, May 12, 2011.

  1. silverfern

    silverfern New commenter

    Great ideas Mrs Music! I agree that playing some of the music helps students understand it. I try and choose a section which showcases a particular composing technique or feature of the work, eg. 'circle of 5ths'.

    We usually start by listening to the piece, without the score, and then discuss what the students heard, when do they think it was written, musical features...

    I usually type up the main themes on Sibelius. The students colour each theme a different colour, and then we have a 'colouring-in competition' (surprisingly popular with Y12 boys!) to find occurences of the themes in the set work. This is a good tool for illustrating melody and also texture.

    I also usually write a set of analysis questions, rather than just telling them the features of the music (which is just a memorisation, rather than understanding, exercise). I design three sets of questions (easy/medium/difficult, red/orange/green), covering the musical elements, eg. easy: what is the key signature; medium: what key does the piece begin and end in, giving two pieces of evidence for each key (ie. bass note, chord notes in other instruments, raised leading notes in minor keys; difficult: identify the keys and modulations at bar ___, ___, and _____. The students then mark the features on their scores.

    Like your true/false idea. This works well as a debate too. Give a statement such as, 'Mozart's melodies are mostly conjunct'. Students, or groups of students, have to argue for and against, giving musical examples as evidence.

    Also use summary grids, ie. all the main features of melody, harmony, texture, instrumentation, structure, articulation/dynamics, features of the style/period...

    As a summary execise, I give the students 'sound bites' or cut outs from the score, and they have to identify the piece, where the excerpt fits in the whole piece, musical features of the excerpt, etc.
  2. Mrs Music

    Mrs Music New commenter

    Oohh yes, we do grids for every set work too. (We 'DR SMITH' them - each letter standing for a different element of music. Do this at KS4 too - if I had a pound for every time I said DR SMITH!).
  3. DR SMITH....do tell!
  4. I presume....Dynamics, Rhythm, Structure, Melody, Instrumentation, Texture and Harmony? Sorry to be so dim before!!!!
  5. florian gassmann

    florian gassmann Star commenter

    I think that Metre, Tempo and Timbre might also have to fit in there, somehow.
    But Edexcel specify the elements that have to be discussed in the questions themselves, so I'm not sure it's really worth memorising them.
    I've always found it more useful to ensure that students really understand the terms they are likely to see in questions. Far too many seem to think that tonality refers to tone (i.e. timbre) or that texture refers to harmony.
  6. florian gassmann

    florian gassmann Star commenter

    I forgot to add that the most useful (if potentially boring) revision technique for A2 Music is to practise a lot of essay answers. I've found that even those who know what elements such as texture and tonality mean often find it difficult to express their thoughts in words, and often end up making the same point over and over again in different paraphrases. They also tend to ignore the obvious similarities in "comparison" questions. Working practice essay questions will usually reveal this, although the answers are time-consuming to mark.

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