Now is hardly the time (was it ever?) to extol the virtues of the free market. However, I recently experienced the musical equivalent of the benefits on social mobility. As I wrote recently, pupils in the East Lothian Guitar Ensemble bid for parts which would offer a challenge without causing undue stress and worry. We rehearsed the piece for the first time on Friday 31st Oct and, I would argue, broke the back of it – despite end-of-week tiredness, trenchant rain and Halloween excitement.
One spin-off of pupils examining the score to choose their part is that they know how many parts* the arrangement features. This might come back to them when they begin their own compositions and arrangements for SQA Music courses.
Since then, a few pupils have asked for an upgrade to a more demanding part. No-one has asked for an easier part. Is this a sign that pupils, through lack of confidence bid for an easy part and experienced the boredom which lack of challenge can bring? Or does it mean that confidence, fuelled by success, has led them to seek a new challenge? Or both? Or nothing?
* the piece began as a trio. After the addition of heterophonic parts there were seven. Spread across approximately 40 pupils this results in roughly 6 pupils per part – numeracy across the curriculum 🙂
In a post yesterday I referred to a program called Hyperscore but, as the central subject matter concerned a video featuring a very specific application, I didn’t dwell on the technicalities of the program. Well, the other reason is that I’ve never seen the program. However, after writing the post, I had a more detailed look at this video and looked at these particulars and I can see a place for a program like this in schools. Composition in SQA courses is certainly not the ideal setting as the program seems to be to composition what flat-pack furniture is to carpentry. However, primary or S1/S2 might prove more suitable . There are many people with an intuitive feel for how music fits together who are neither musically literate nor sufficiently proficient on an instrument to participate in the creative process – and produce some kind of finished product.
At $79 (less for site licence) it’s probably worth investigating. If only we knew someone in East Lothian familiar enough with music and IT to review it.
I frequently refer to the many advantages which keeping this blog has conferred – upon pupils and myself. Out of the blue, I recently received a very generous gift thanks entirely to the existence of this blog. The gift was from the Dutch guitarist, composer and teacher, Eugène den Hoed and took the form of a mountain of sheet music of original compositions for guitar along with a CD.
Eugène teaches in the Centrum voor de Kunsten in Bergen op Zoom and, from time to time, appears as a panel member in competitions run by the European Guitar Teachers Association (EGTA*).
You can hear Eugène playing excerpts from his compositions here
Many thanks, Eugène.
* The president of EGTA is John Williams