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Historical Musicology The links between A-Level and Degree Level Music.

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Presentation on theme: "Historical Musicology The links between A-Level and Degree Level Music."— Presentation transcript:

1 Historical Musicology The links between A-Level and Degree Level Music

2 Aims/Objectives  To discuss what the main differences are between the Historical Musicology course and Music at A-Level.  My background.  Layout of the Historical Musicology course.  Assessment.  How teachers might help students transition to a music degree.

3 Dr Simon D. I. Fleming  I teach part-time in the Music Department of Durham University on the Historical Musicology course.  Specialist field: music production in eighteenth-century Britain, with a primary focus on the north of England.  Doctoral thesis: music production in eighteenth-century Durham City.

4 John Garth ( )

5 Dr Simon D. I. Fleming  Over ten years of experience of teaching music in schools and have taught the AQA, Edexcel and OCR courses in Music at A-Level.  Teach part-time at the Queen Elizabeth Sixth Form College in Darlington; responsible for AS and A2 Music.  I currently teach the OCR syllabus at AS and A2.

6 Layout of the Historical Musicology course  Students have a weekly lecture which focuses on a particular area of music history.  In 2013/14 first year students have studied the 19 th -century but will be studying the 18 th -century from next year.  Example lectures for this past year include:  Beethoven and monumentalism – Symphony No. 3 ‘Eroica’ and Symphony No. 7  Italian opera and the establishment of a virtuoso vocal art form – Rossini, Donizetti, Bellini, Verdi and the Risorgimento  England and the choral tradition

7 Research-informed teaching  At university, it is encouraged that teaching is ‘research-informed’.  Research-informed teaching refers to the practice of linking research with teaching in Higher Education.  Professor Dibble, as an acknowledged expert on 19 th -century British music, has used his research to deliver the lectures on Stainer, Parry, etc..  For the concerto grosso, I draw upon my research on Avison.  In secondary school there is little opportunity for ‘research- informed’ teaching outside KS3 although many teachers choose a topic with which they have the greatest affinity when delivering the A-level course.

8 Seminars  Each seminar group consists of five or six students.  In each fortnightly session one work or movement is studied in depth.  There will be discussion about:  The composer and his compositional output.  Background to the work itself that places it in the wider context of what else was being composed at around the same time.  An analysis of the structure, tonality, harmony, melodic material, instrumentation, texture and any other features of interest.  Who or what were the main influences in the compositional process.

9 Essays  Essays are marked on a scale of  Unlike at A-Level, students at degree level should aim to produce a publishable piece of work that includes musical examples, bibliography and footnotes, with their own analysis supported by extensive background reading and quotations from scholarly sources.  They do not get multiple attempts at their assignments. Students are welcome to ask questions before they submit their ‘summative’ assignments, but once marked there is no option to resubmit.  To compensate, students get two formative assignments each year which are designed to help prepare them for their summative essays. They get detailed feedback with their mark to help them improve; many also arrange tutorials to discuss their feedback.  Unlike A-level, students are not expected to memorise their essays for reproduction in an exam; as such this is more like mainstream musicology.

10 Essays  Example: Write an essay about cyclic form during the first half of the Nineteenth Century with reference to the fantasy, the sonata and structural compression.  Students tended to choose, for the sonata, Liszt’s piano sonata in B minor as this had already been studied in a seminar.  Hints had been given as to the importance of Schubert’s Wanderer Fantasy but this work had not been studied in any depth; students were expected to do the background reading and analysis for themselves.

11 Oral Presentations  Students need to give a ten-minute summative oral presentation to their seminar group.  Given a task in relation to a set work that they need to prepare for and deliver.  A: How does Mendelssohn’s admiration of the music of Bach and Handel manifest itself in his life and in his choice of musical genres? B: Regarding Elijah, choose three contrasting movements and guide the tutorial group through them, showing how the music both evokes, and diverges from Baroque templates.

12 Oral Presentations  Students are expected to:  Prepare a hand out or a PowerPoint presentation.  Provide a bibliography and make reference to scholarly literature in their discussion.  Include music examples both in audio and in score.

13 An extension or a large leap?  What is taught at degree is, in many respects, an extension of what is taught at A-level.  In assessment, there is larger gap between what is expected at A-Level and at degree level.

14 What might we as teachers do to facilitate the transition from A-level music to degree level?  Encourage students, as they study their set works, to do the analysis for themselves using the appropriate musical vocabulary.  Encourage students to speak out in classroom discussions.  Encourage students to use Sibelius (or other computer-based notation software)  Use scaffolding theory and threshold concepts.  Utilise scores in your discussions and encourage students to annotate them.  Choose classical-based set works.  Encourage students to do background reading on the works they are studying and listen to other related pieces of music.


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