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 Post subject: GCSE Music
PostPosted: Fri Nov 04, 2011 4:50 pm 
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Joined: Wed Mar 04, 2009 2:01 pm
Posts: 6683
Location: Herts
This was to be a choice for my dd but I have recently heard some horror stories about the theory and how hard it is. My dd loves playing but is not so hot on the theory side. What can people tell me about this GCSE and how suitable is for those who love to play but are not interested in composing? Thanks DG


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 Post subject: Re: GCSE Music
PostPosted: Fri Nov 04, 2011 6:17 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jun 18, 2007 2:32 pm
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Location: East Kent
it depends what stage your son is at , but master yoyo chose music as one of his GCSEs , he played the drums ( and loved it) and has a really good sense of rhythm. They assured him it didn't matter if he was at a particular grade and that the composition would be fine..in fact the teacher enthused about the fact he could read drum music and had huge ideas about a "Stomp" type performance.

He found it really difficult and felt he was at a huge disadvantage as the other boys were m ore formally trained - he hadn;t really covered enough in KS3 at school to prepare him for GCSE. He asked to give it and in year 11 they agreed as he had become thoroughly demoralised - he is a someone who needs to feel confident to succeed.

It may not be the case with your son or his school, but it is worth doing some research, maybe look at the syllabus carefully. We found the options evening a bit rushed and with hindsight should have looked into things a bit more.


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 Post subject: Re: GCSE Music
PostPosted: Fri Nov 04, 2011 6:51 pm 
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Completely different experience here. My DC had no formal theory but was playing at at least grade 5 standard - syllabus was 30% practical, 30% composition and 40% listening and appraising.

Composition was fun as they had a brief and had time to experiment and used Sibelius/Q base programmes to help. Two pieces had to be submitted.

He thoroughly enjoyed the GCSE - very high grade achieved!


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 Post subject: Re: GCSE Music
PostPosted: Fri Nov 04, 2011 7:27 pm 
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My eldest DS took Music GCSE, he played trumpet to Grade 4 at the time and had no formal theory training. He thoroughly enjoyed it and ended up with a very good grade. We had the same concerns as you Daogroupie when he chose it as an option, but his teacher said it is more about a student's musicality than the need for any particularly theory training. I'm not sure how accurate an explanation this is but it worked for our son.

So sorry to hear about your son's experience yoyo, how awful for him.


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 Post subject: Re: GCSE Music
PostPosted: Fri Nov 04, 2011 8:37 pm 
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Joined: Mon Oct 12, 2009 9:23 am
Posts: 63
Location: Buckinghamshire
My DS has recently started GCSE music. He's also a grade 5 player, but has done theory only to about grade 3 (not taken any theory exams). He's finding the composition part quite tricky. So far, it seems to be as much about creative freedom of expression as about technical tools. I think this approach is fine in what is, after all, a creative subject, but it's uncomfortable for my logical, sciency son, who likes to operate from the basis of a thorough theoretical understanding.
Music GCSE could be difficult for a child who does not already play an instrument to about grade 3-5. Several in my DSs music class are already well above this standard (some staggeringly so), and few do not already play or sing.

I did music O-level long ago, but it was much more analytical in my day, and you didn't need to be an excellent instrumentalist to do well on the course. I think the introduction of more practical musical skills is good, though it does run the risk of excluding children who have a genuine interest but don't play.


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 Post subject: Re: GCSE Music
PostPosted: Fri Nov 04, 2011 9:43 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jun 18, 2007 2:32 pm
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Location: East Kent
Quote:
Music GCSE could be difficult for a child who does not already play an instrument to about grade 3-5


I think that is the key in our case, despite school's assurances..


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 Post subject: Re: GCSE Music
PostPosted: Fri Nov 04, 2011 10:20 pm 
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yoyo123 wrote:
Quote:
Music GCSE could be difficult for a child who does not already play an instrument to about grade 3-5


I think that is the key in our case, despite school's assurances..


I have just spoken to eldest DS yoyo and he agrees with this. In his words he said he thinks it was unfair on your son. Apparently in his year all of the boys taking the subject were playing instruments to grade four and above and some had achieved grade 8 in two instruments.


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 Post subject: Re: GCSE Music
PostPosted: Fri Nov 04, 2011 10:30 pm 
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My DC's group had a couple of people who did not play an instrument - they did both pass but got grade Bs whereas everyone else got A or A*.


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 Post subject: Re: GCSE Music
PostPosted: Sat Nov 05, 2011 12:07 am 
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Joined: Thu Dec 18, 2008 10:12 am
Posts: 3758
Location: Berkshire
My oldest son is a musician who was unable to demonstrate this in music exam situations (like me - I sat one exam grade 4 and failed, becaues of nerves). he didn't do Music GCSE, but took it on as a risky 4 subject at As level as he is so committed, and plays piano and guitar to a high (unexamined) level.

He got unbelievably an A at AS and a B at A level.....in year 12, he did performance, and in y13, he did his own composition.....I remember trepidation seeping through me when he said his piece ws so complicated that he couldn't play it... :lol:

I think if your children love music they will do well at GCSE. It is for those who can play and understand music. Does the grade achieved matter? Probably not, it is more about whether they love the subject or not.


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 Post subject: Re: GCSE Music
PostPosted: Sat Nov 05, 2011 2:49 pm 
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Joined: Wed Mar 04, 2009 2:01 pm
Posts: 6683
Location: Herts
My dd is Y8 and has already passed Grade Five in three instruments and has passed Grade Four in another two and is working on a Grade Five and a Grade Six so she will probably be on Grade Seven by the time she starts Year Ten so it will not be a grade issue. A friend of ours got 98% on Grade Five music theory and had a couple of Grade eights but still found the theory very difficult.

She is not interested in composing and finds theory a chore so I think I can hear Economics calling her name! DG

PS , We will be at the double reed day at Guildhall tomorrow if anyone is going and fancies saying hello. DG


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