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 🙂