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Written annotation for students who can't use Sibelius but make great live compositions on their own instruments.

Discussion in 'Music' started by coolrewards1, Oct 17, 2013.

  1. Hi

    I have two students who are great performers and strong improvisational composers but when they are using Sibelius they are very weak as they find the software too hard to fully realise their composition that they wrote on their drum kit or guitar.

    Does anybody have experience of allowing their student to record a live recording of their composition then writing about it in an annotation without using a score?

    Are there any teachers who know the pitfalls to this approach, or any tricks or writing techniques they should use to replace through writing their score through an essay-style medium? Also are there any Music GCSE moderators who have some support with this as well?

    Your help would be greatly appreciated as I feel this students have the capability to get a B or A but currently have Sibelius scores that are Ds and Es.

    This discussion may also help other students with this in other schools.

    Many thanks

    Peter Mason
  2. Hi,

    I'm in a bit of a similar situation, I'm NQ so I might not have the right answers. You could check the student study book for your chosen specification - I think that you are allowed a live recording with a full annotation. For guitar, they would need to include the structure, the chords and the strumming pattern (I think, please don't quote me) and for drums I am a little unsure, but liaise with the peri because they might be able to help you with it. If they explain the techniques they are using and where, like a rimshot in the second verse instead of hitting the snare, that might help.

    It's worth having a look in all that's available for the specification...

    I hope that might help you.

  3. I've had pupils use annotations or lead sheets rather than Sibelius scores and not be disadvantaged. Mine have taken screenshots and annotated them e.g. with chords, strumming patterns, structure using verse/chorus etc. dynamics, tempo, performance directions, effects, panning etc. they've applied. Those who used the multi-track recorder took photos of their settings and then created diagrams showing the structure, details of the chords etc.
  4. muso2

    muso2 Occasional commenter Community helper


    Check out this recent thread for ideas. I've taught edexcel and OCR in the last year and both fine with recordings as long as there's something to go with it - tab or screen shot or graphic score, etc. check your spec if a different board.
  5. YesMrBronson

    YesMrBronson New commenter

    That still means they used a computer. What do you do about pupils who don't use a computer to compose?
  6. muso2

    muso2 Occasional commenter Community helper

    The same minus the screenshots - chords, structure, melody notes/tab, lyrics, dynamics - I've never had comments back from exam moderators about not having enough, and have rarely given more than a page with the recording.
  7. What exam board are you using? I use OCR and for them if the student plays everything themselves then no annotation is needed you just write that information on the back of the form. You only have to worry if they teach others another part or use technology. Even for the technology OCR just need the details of what the student has actually done not a technology loop etc. I don't have any up to date experience of any other board.
  8. muso2

    muso2 Occasional commenter Community helper

    This used to be true, but from 2009 it changed and you had to submit something - quote from current OCR spec:

    'compositions/arrangements must be submitted in recorded form and accompanied by a score or detailed annotation'

    However, if you've not had comment back in 4 years, and I haven't despite handing in very short annotations, it seems they're not too worried. Bottom line at least is that there is no obligation to provide a score. And if your students can compose great music live then that's the hardest part dealt with!
  9. YesMrBronson

    YesMrBronson New commenter

    So many mixed messages about this. I think it may depend on the moderator that you get. They should accept annotation/tab/chords/lead sheets etc...

    but will they?
  10. Thankyou for you your ideas, threads and advice, they have all put my mind at rest. My board at the moment is AQA.

    Interestingly I had this back from a senior AQA moderator on Friday:

    "There is no problem with an annotation - indeed, given the nature of some pieces, it can be far better than a Sibelius or Cubase score which doesn't always make sense or give a true picture of the piece. A live performance on CD often gives a much better idea of the piece rather than some Sibelius type of submission which doesn't always do a piece justice.

    Will certainly not disadvantage students, no specific length is needed but something that is clear and to the point is the main point; there are various ways of putting an annotation together - often in bullet point form with snippets of rhythmic ideas, bits of tune, chord sequences etc is often preferable to a long piece of prose."

    He then went on to give links in AQA to examples.

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