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Y12 performance lesson observation

Discussion in 'Music' started by JennyMus, Mar 10, 2012.

  1. Probably a daft suggestion, but what about discussing performance preparation, e.g. warming up, coping with nerves, stagecraft. You could have them up performing excerpts and discussing communicating with the audience etc...
  2. florian gassmann

    florian gassmann Star commenter

    I used to do short improvisations for starters at this level. Write a simple chord pattern on the board and then ask for a series of individual 20-second improvisations suitable for (e.g.):
    an aerobics class
    a gentle exercise session in a care home
    marching like soldiers in a kindergarten
    a relaxing theme to hear 'on hold' when telephoning a help-line
    a solemn tune for a grand procession
    music to accompany an amusing cartoon,
    etc. Tends to work best if you accompany those who play melodic instruments or sing. Even better is to loop the chord pattern and go round the group with no pause between each performance. The activity can generate brief discussion on what musical elements best suit each purpose.
  3. Florian, I have to be honest, I am highly likely to steal that list for one of my practical or composition classes.
  4. florian gassmann

    florian gassmann Star commenter

    You're very welcome. It's just a variation of an exercise we had to do at university in the 1950s, I think for Dr George Guest, although I could be wrong. There we had no given chord pattern but had to extemporise in the style of a named composer, beginning and ending in given keys, and continuing melodic ideas from the previous player. So it went something like:
    Mr Gubbins in the style of Chopin, starting in C-sharp minor and ending on the dominant of A major.
    Mr Playmore, in the style of Poulenc, ending on the dominant 13th of Eb.
    Miss Haveago, in the style of the younger Scarlatti, modulating to F-sharp minor ...
    And so on. It was done in a room with two pianos, and we each had to take over from the other on the pause chord, without any real time for thought. Oh what fun!
  5. When I taught A Level last year I hardly did anything on performing expect go through the marks scheme and then expect them to prepare performances in their own time with their teachers. We had a couple of lessons where they performed to each other - which were recorded, and then inidividual recording sessions were after school when it was quiet. Very few course hours used. I felt we needed all the time for the listening and harmony.
    Am I alone in this approach?
  6. I was of the impression that the OP was talking about GCSE, I may well be wrong.
  7. Sorry, talking about AS-level. They are all bass/guitar players and we currently don't have a peripatetic teacher for them (don't ask), nor enough timetabled classroom lesson. I have 3 pupils, 2 are absolutely fine, but I just regularly check on them and make them perform to each other. There is one weak one so I have to do a bit more work with that pupil. In an ideal situation I wouldn't have to and I do feel the exam is getting left behind a bit, but for now it will have to do... :(

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