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Intro to GCSE Music First lesson (double)

Did anyone discover any new music over the holidays?

Have pupils been playing much on their instruments?
See any films with good soundtracks?
Starter activities:
Phase shifting exercise (importance of knowing your own part well, playing as a team
and supporting others)
- Counting to 21, where only the 1st 4 beats are voiced, then each person is to clap
when they reach 21 (Importance of a shared sound, internal rhythm).
- Counting to 21 where one person starts off, then someone else says 2, then 3 etc. If
two people speak at once, start again. (Importance of non verbal communication)
Intro to course
- Organisation of folders - AoS1, 2, 3, 4, general (inc theory)
- Explanation of course outline and requirements
- Expectations for homework, coursework, independent practice, work and listening
outside of lessons
- Trips, visits, Colfes and LPO project
- Development of musicality, much more than just learning a spec to churn out an
exam grade
- Any questions?
First term
My Instrument solo performance and composition for my instrument. General skills
in listening and practical ground musicianship. Development of scope for musical
understanding across times and cultures this will cross over with shared music
Discussion questions play music whilst pupils are working
Very open questions prompt pupils to think outside the box and think of cultural
influences, uses and functions of music over time and in different cultures and all the
different ways that two or more people might experience or play music together.
Discuss answers pupils adding ideas to their own sheets if they have missed
Listening activity in relation to discussion
Play two pieces of shared music - Alap and a Choral Classic.
Similarities? Differences? Pupils to focus on what they can hear first time round, then
to think of the context of the pieces second time round.
Sharing of answers: Did someone else point out something that you didnt hear or
think of?

Approaches to composition
It is essential to:
Know your instrument / the instruments you are composing for
Have a rough plan of what shape the composition will take
Understand the success criteria and work towards that
Have a wide listening base to draw influences from
Believe in the value of your own creative work (and others)
Have the confidence to try out new ideas and experiment
Appreciate there are many different ways that one can compose / come up with a
musical idea, so be open about how you might go about writing your own music
It is useful to:
Develop aural skills so that you can communicate an idea that might form inside your
Not stress about composition work as coursework. Simply leave time to develop and
complete your piece so you are not rushing to meet a deadline schedules and
creativity rarely mix. Coursework will therefore be something you will need to work
on in your own time as well.
Food for thought:
Q: What are the differences / similarities between composition and improvisation?
Q: When in life do we compose?
Q: When in life do we improvise?
Looking at it this way, improvisation comes much more naturally to us than
composition, and it is an important skill to have as a musician as well.
Improvisation activity that addresses approaches to composition pupils on
any instrument of their choice
Signals for pupils to:
Play an ostinato
Copy another
Keep going
Develop into ABA piece if time

Listening for pitch and rhythm

Different types of question:
a) Multiple choice questions: graphic pitch scores, notated rhythm / pitch scores,
chord sequences
b) Page scores where you fill in the gaps with pitch (using a given rhythm)
Some examples of a)
1. Which diagram matches the main melody of the extract?

2. Which of the following rhythms is the correct rhythm for the bass line of the

3. Which of the following chord sequences describes the ending of this extract?





4. Place a tick next to the correct notation for the melody of the lyrics:
Where we go, nobody knows, guns hidden under our petticoats.


John Williams - ET theme

The Noisettes - Never forget you
Vivaldi - Spring from the 4 seasons
The 1975 Chocolate

Second lesson
Questionnaires where I am at with Music and how I would like to develop
Include questions on music theory, notation and listening background / interests
Where are we at with music theory notation? Short discussion. Explain exam
requirements for compositions, listening and creative task.

Focussed listening typical exam questions to use as examples

Questions about the listening exam?

Comparison Listening
- Listen out for similarities and differences between the music of these two
What instruments are playing
How many different parts are there, and how do these parts interact
Descriptions of the melodies you can hear
Anything else you can hear

Also have a think about the context of each of these pieces:

The style/genre/tradition
Function of the music
Cultural importance
The way the music might be learnt, performed and heard, and reasons why.
Alap The Nightingale
What can
be heard
in the

Context of

Hallelujah Chorus