Think tension. Think Music. Think a knife and a shower curtain. Think a rocking boat and glinting teeth...
When teaching my pupils about tension in narrative, I turn to film scores. We’ve all been there: a darkened cinema, the heavy breathing of a potential victim, the slow building music, an increase in heart rate. The scene reaches its climax and the victim is caught by the ghost/vampire/serial killer/rabbit. Now play the scene without the music. Does it have the same impact? Does your heart beat in quite the same way? Why does a building “duh duh…duh duh” have us sprinting for the shore?
Primary music gurus Rhythmajig are working with schools to enhance pupils’ understanding of musical concepts and vocabulary, while assisting teachers with behaviour management and engagement. The online learning platform is designed to be accessible to all, adaptable to the instruments available in school, and, importantly, enormous fun. It also offers a unique scheme of work with outcomes above and beyond National Curriculum 2014. Teachers are able to take out a 30-day free trial to see for themselves.
In the classroom, percussion often takes a supporting role. It provides the accompaniment to pitched instruments and is often relegated to the role of ‘timekeeping’. This need not be the case. Whole lessons and, indeed, schemes of work can be built around percussion and there’s no shortage of options in this regard. Djembe drumming and body percussion are two popular and inspiring options embraced by many music teachers. With 2016 being the year of the Rio Olympics, another percussion option is well worth exploring – samba drumming.
Manchester-based music ensemble Psappha have created Psappha Kids: Music Explained, a film-based resource specially devised to support the teaching of classroom music for children aged between 7 and 11 years. The resource is available free-of-charge, and is suitable for both non-specialist and specialist music teachers alike.
“We can be heroes” he sang, but to me, Bowie was the Hero. Like many people around the world, I was shocked and devastated by the news of David Bowie’s death last Monday. I’ve been a massive fan of Bowie all my life, from the highs of Ziggy Stardust, Soul Man and The Thin White Duke in the 1970s, to the period in the 1980s and early 1990s where he struggled with his writing, to the great comeback of The Next Day three years ago. He was quite simply the Picasso of Pop.
I love music and regularly use it in my classroom (I have written a couple of Staff Room blogs about this). I love the impact it can have on your children and the mood of the class, want to soothe them, play some chilled classical music or Spanish guitar music, want them to get ready for learning then use Don’t Stop me Now for a wake up shake up.
Music exists only in the fourth dimension: it is sounds in the air, moving in time. A written musical score or a CD is no more a piece of music than a script or a DVD is a play. Although unlike a play, you can’t see music. This gives it a unique place in the panoply of the school curriculum, so it is vital to know what to look for in a good music lesson.
At the time of writing, the annual BBC Proms season is now underway, an eight week celebration of music concerts, talks, workshops, family events and more. This year to mark the opening pupils from four primary schools have been invited to take part in two Proms concerts at the Royal Albert Hall, celebrating the first year of BBC Ten Pieces.