Last night saw another successful Campie Musical Evening in Musselburgh Grammar School (bigger hall – more parents can fit in). The enthusiasm of so many brave, smiling young people taking to the stage was infectious. The evening comprised Guitars, Brass, Recorders, Choir, Scottish Country Dance, Jazz Dance. Guitar and Brass being timetabled, class-time lessons, it’s not possible to play both – but very many pupils took part in more than one group and several were in four!
This is really an effortless Transition event. Pupils in P5-P7 mix with peers already attending MGS and get to know the layout of the Music Department, school hall etc. What strikes me as valuable is for young pupils to see e.g. an S6 pupil perform a short solo. No amount of description of the road ahead could get the message across like this – and provide the inspiration to continue practising.
Such an evening also strikes me as Curriculum of Excellence in action. All four capacities are present in abundance – the stage was graced with:
- successful learners
- confident individuals
- responsible citizens
- effective contributors
With particular regard to the last two on this list, many thanks to Gavin and Jamie in S6 who put in a long shift (from 4:00 – 9:15 setting up and operating sound and lights). Thanks also to Callum in S6 and Hayley in S3 who helped me out with tuning and re-tuning 25 guitars in addition to playing along with the group.
I found myself wishing that councillors from neighbouring authorities, currently considering cutting primary instrumental provision, had been present, to get a real sense of the sadness and the loss that this will inevitably bring about. I can’t imagine a bigger dent being put in the 3-18 continuity to which CfE aspires.
Later in the year, when Campie’s P5-P7 guitarists put on a concert for P4s (next session’s new players) I will record the group pieces we played last night – in addition to the solos, which many will offer. This smaller event will take place in the cathedral-like acoustic of Campie’s Gym Hall.
Yesterday I took part in an interesting CfE exercise at MGS where class each class teacher teamed up with another from a different department to investigate common ground and curricular connections. As an instructor, I was not really programmed into this but was very pleased to be included, having put out some gate-crashing feelers. The power of Maths decreed that many would be paired up with teachers of the subject and I was pleased to see that one member of the Music Department was Maths-bound.
As all expected, there were many overlaps. However, there were also a few false friends – words, the interpretation of which in either subject, is so different that we ought now to be on the lookout for understandable confusion. Examples?
Scale: referring in Maths to order of magnitude but in Music to the various spellings of stepwise movement in a melodic line
Time: time is relative in Music and absolute in Maths
Happily, the connections outweigh the differences by miles – is that a mixed metaphor? I’ll ask the English Department when we pair up with them 🙂
It’s fitting when something new, positive and creative comes along for New Year, so thanks to Ewan McIntosh for the heads up on wordia, whose mission is to redefine the dictionary. This is done by means of short videos, to which collection we are all invited to contribute. The part of the invitation I particularly like is, “think of a word which has a special meaning for you.” As everyone in the teaching game knows, wanting to take part is a huge part of the journey.
I see an opportunity here for pupils and teachers of Music to parallel the excellent work of LTS‘s Learn Listening Online. There seems to be room for inventive and fun ways of illustrating concepts. Moreover, the fact that it is a dictionary should reinforce the connection between music and language. Contributors will need to think about parts of speech and perhaps even etymology. If contributing to this is not the embodiment of CfE, in terms of cross-curricular, creative connectivity, then I don’t know what is.
This illustration of the concept of round might give some idea of what I’m describing. My current favourite, however, is parody – this word was just asking for it.
Happy New Year!