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Why aren't 14 year olds able to read music?

Discussion in 'Music' started by Phantom of the Opera, Jun 20, 2007.

  1. bod99

    bod99 New commenter

    "..hugely insulting slur on Secondary teachers who have to pick up the pieces of the **** that masquerades as education in state primary schools in this country."

    No-one disputes that there are primaries where they don't have specialist music teachers and who struggle to provide a decent music education. But who in their right minds suggests that secondary teachers are all doing a great job? My local secondary certainly isn't. I regularly have year 9 children telling me they're doing "what we did with you in year 5". I hear the same from other schools - we work to provide a stimulating and thorough music curriculum and the secondary school spends lessons designing CD covers. I used to send on 34 children each year who could mostly read music to grade 2+ standard, all play in a band and sing in 3 parts. What did they do at secondary? very little except lose interest and go backwards.
  2. To be fair, it can be hard on the secondary teacher when some children move up with that kind of experience while others have had none, and therefore needed to start from what was, to the experienced pupils, back at base again. That would be a case for setting in music, but this is more the gift of management than of the department, unless you have two same-year classes with different teachers at the same time. And management so often still see music as a left-over, despite the lip-service they pay to its importance.

    When I first started teaching secondary, I had two year 9 classes for two lesson a week each. Except that for one of those lessons half of them weren't there - they were in either Latin or German. I think music was what the Head Wancer(sp) thought would be a good stopgap for them. They hadn't been selected for music, though, they just hadn't been selected for not-music. Continuity was a nightmare.

    I was amazed to read from Phantom "That has so little to do with Secondary education. Have you NEVER been in a Secondary school? Have you not looked at the National Curriculum? Have you not looked at any of the many published resources or the exam syllabi?" as though he thought that *proved* that there was across-the-board good practice in secondary schools, while the same could be said of primary schools, yet we all know it doesn't happen in all primaries either.
  3. myrtle

    myrtle Occasional commenter

    "..hugely insulting slur on Secondary teachers who have to pick up the pieces of the **** that masquerades as education in state primary schools in this country.."

    I can't quite believe anyone could make such a generalised insulting comment towards primary schools.

  4. bod99

    bod99 New commenter

    it's ignorance and arrogance at its worst Myrtle. Makes you feel sorry for the children taught by a such negative teacher doesn't it?
  5. florian gassmann

    florian gassmann Star commenter

    Post 101. Thanks for the explanation, but it leaves me confused on a fundamental point. Is the undoubted improvement in students' work due to the "Musical Futures" approach, or is it really due to the extra tuition and resources that have been provided? Providing additional rooms and extra staff to improve the teacher:student ratio is likely to see an improvement, whatever the nature of the scheme.

    And how can you say that the models are sustainable and replicable now that "the funding phase has finished?". No funds - no extra staff. It's as simple as that.

    It sounded like a great scheme, but I can't really see how it can make any lasting impact without funding.

    As someone who worked in the independent sector, I was lucky enough to be able to provide "personalsied learning" for many pupils. If we had a group capable of doing well in the Chamber Music for Schools competition, I could provide a room and a professional coach for them. If I had an aspiring rock group, I had the equipment and staff to help them succeed.

    Obviously, success breeds self-exteem, but I can't see how a collection of attractive leaflets can compensate for the fact that "The funding phase has now finished".

    Sorry :(
  6. Florian,

    I think I can answer your point based on my experience. I follow the musical futures model with just me, 28 pupils and on a bad day 2 rooms, a hallway, corridor and canteen, in competition with dance classes going on in the hall! The pupils still make progress and are prepared to put up with this in order to continue their work which is important to them. I explain the restrictions clearly to them at the start and lay down my ground rules and they take it in turns to use the rooms/drum kit each week. It's not ideal, but it works. SLT are starting to talk about more space for music!!!....
  7. I would suggest that any posts people are finding offensive, particularly those which are insulting to those teaching in the state education system, are reported to the moderators using the red triangle in the box at the bottom of here! I think offensive posters need to be removed from these forums and stop spoiling them for the rest of us who come on here to discuss topics, not to be insulted!
  8. I think that looking at my hotlist this morning, several posts have been removed.

    Hopefully the ones that just resorted to name calling and those linked with unsolicited insults on education / schools.
  9. The name calling ones have been removed, but don't think the slurs on state schools and primary teachers have been!
  10. There is nothing wrong with pointing out the failings of state education in the UK - and, in particular, the appalling primary sector's failure to adequately teach music.

    What is astonishing is that teachers from Primary dare to criuticse secondary teachers who have to pick up the pieces from their own bad teaching.

    Every 14-year should be able to read traditional westeran notation, unerstand chord symbols, easily interpret graphic scores, etc. There is no excuse - and the main reason it doesn't happen is becuase too many primary schools fail to fulfill their legal duty to teach music and, in many who do pay lip service to it, the standard of the education is simply dreadful.

  11. According to zia her post 82 is now 91 - which suggests that EXTRA posts have been added rather than some removed.
  12. Well you've just added 2!
  13. POTO There is no requirement in the primary curriculum for children to be taught how to read music. There is an element of using graphical scoring, but no actual notation! Therefore it is no failing of state education, but a failing of the national curriculum for not prescribing that notation be taught!
  14. Attainment target for Music

    Level 1

    Pupils recognise and explore how sounds can be made and changed. They use their voices in different ways such as speaking, singing and chanting, and perform with awareness of others. They repeat short rhythmic and melodic patterns and create and choose sounds in response to given starting points. They respond to different moods in music and recognise welldefined changes in sounds, identify simple repeated patterns and take account of musical instructions.

    Level 2

    Pupils recognise and explore how sounds can be organised. They sing with a sense of the shape of the melody, and perform simple patterns and accompaniments keeping to a steady pulse. They choose carefully and order sounds within simple structures such as beginning, middle, end, and in response to given starting points. They represent sounds with symbols and recognise how the musical elements can be used to create different moods and effects. They improve their own work.

    Level 3

    Pupils recognise and explore the ways sounds can be combined and used expressively. They sing in tune with expression and perform rhythmically simple parts that use a limited range of notes. They improvise repeated patterns and combine several layers of sound with awareness of the combined effect. They recognise how the different musical elements are combined and used expressively and make improvements to their own work, commenting on the intended effect.

    Level 4

    Pupils identify and explore the relationship between sounds and how music reflects different intentions. While performing by ear and from simple notations they maintain their own part with awareness of how the different parts fit together and the need to achieve an overall effect. They improvise melodic and rhythmic phrases as part of a group performance and compose by developing ideas within musical structures. They describe, compare and evaluate different kinds of music using an appropriate musical vocabulary. They suggest improvements to their own and others' work, commenting on how intentions have been achieved.

    Level 5

    Pupils identify and explore musical devices and how music reflects time and place. They perform significant parts from memory and from notations with awareness of their own contribution such as leading others, taking a solo part and/or providing rhythmic support. They improvise melodic and rhythmic material within given structures, use a variety of notations and compose music for different occasions using appropriate musical devices such as melody, rhythms, chords and structures. They analyse and compare musical features. They evaluate how venue, occasion and purpose affects the way music is created, performed and heard. They refine and improve their work.

    Level 6

    Pupils identify and explore the different processes and contexts of selected musical genres and styles. They select and make expressive use of tempo, dynamics, phrasing and timbre. They make subtle adjustments to fit their own part within a group performance. They improvise and compose in different genres and styles, using harmonic and nonharmonic devices where relevant, sustaining and developing musical ideas and achieving different intended effects. They use relevant notations to plan, revise and refine material. They analyse, compare and evaluate how music reflects the contexts in which it is created, performed and heard. They make improvements to their own and others' work in the light of the chosen style.

    Level 7

    Pupils discriminate and explore musical conventions in, and influences on, selected genres, styles and traditions. They perform in different styles, making significant contributions to the ensemble and using relevant notations. They create coherent compositions drawing on internalised sounds and adapt, improvise, develop, extend and discard musical ideas within given and chosen musical structures, genres, styles and traditions. They evaluate, and make critical judgements about, the use of musical conventions and other characteristics and how different contexts are reflected in their own and others' work.

    Level 8

    Pupils discriminate and exploit the characteristics and expressive potential of selected musical resources, genres, styles and traditions. They perform, improvise and compose extended compositions with a sense of direction and shape, both within melodic and rhythmic phrases and overall form. They explore different styles, genres and traditions, working by ear and by making accurate use of appropriate notations and both following and challenging conventions. They discriminate between musical styles, genres and traditions, commenting on the relationship between the music and its cultural context, making and justifying their own judgements.

    Exceptional Performance

    Pupils discriminate and develop different interpretations. They express their own ideas and feelings in a developing personal style exploiting instrumental and/or vocal possibilities. They give convincing performances and demonstrate empathy with other performers. They produce compositions that demonstrate a coherent development of musical ideas, consistency of style and a degree of individuality. They discriminate and comment on how and why changes occur within selected traditions including the particular contribution of significant performers and composers.
  15. bod99

    bod99 New commenter

    red box for POTO, yet again.
    You can't criticise people for not teaching something they're not supposed to teach.
  16. Notation isn't actually required to be taught until key stage 3 - so please take back your insults!
  17. IN REPLY TO post 110 (as of this moment)

    No, Phantom, that wasn't Zia's post 82 that she started with the words "Post 82" was it? How many of us start our posts by typing the post number?

    It was the number of the past she was responding to.

    Wore haste, less wassname, innit?
  18. Should practise what I preach, shouldn't I?

    Number of the pOst

    More haste

    Less wOssname

    (fancy a teacher not being able to spell wossname!)
  19. Oh abi - yet again you show your ignorance of music education, the national curriculum and all things relevant to this forum. Have you considered iVillage to be perhaps more suitable to your needs?

    Well done on being able to cut and paste the levels though - brilliant. Gold star.

    Notation is required to be taught - there is no restriction on it being within any particular key stage - that suggest bad teaching as you could well be deliberately holding back pupils who want to progress further.

    Do keep up, dear.
  20. bod - they can be criticised for not teaching what is required - Primary schools (state ones at least) are not fulfilling even abi's warped version of it. Primary Heads should be sacked if they are not ensuring that the National Curriculum is being taught in music or if there are no music lessons. The problem with state Primary Music education goes way beyond them not teaching notation properly - it is a total shambles.

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