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Did music lessons at school help with your musical life?

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2 hours ago, Drax said:

Conscious this is probably a busy week for you, but be interested to hear anything on how it's done now. 

Have eldest just starting state secondary this week - what does a decent music education dept involve these days? 

We still have the national curriculum to cover, so basic theory and notation, vocabulary, a range of musical performance including singing and also cover a range of composers including 'the greats', plus various world and commercial genres. This feeds into GCSE for me,  (my school doesn't cover btec etc)  so there is classical music as the exam boards have to set a set work on such an example, plus an expanded range of the above. Most schools have the same approach as my department, the schemes of work in years 7/8/9 are mini versions of the GCSE content. 

I think most teachers now are aware of the conundrum of the student being into the latest thing and the teacher being out of touch. I can remember feeling that myself. We have a student at the moment who's a pretty competent producer of edm, however as good as his work sounds getting it to pass the assessment criteria is another matter. So we endeavour to include more advanced melodic and harmonic development techniques from 'classical' period. My argument is if you do food technology you don't just learn about pizza because its your favourite, there are more sophisticated culinary achievements. We aim to broaden the students musical palette, treading the very fine line of being understanding and meeting target grades. 

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6 hours ago, scalpy said:

As the head of music at a secondary school I'm following this thread with curiosity and a sense of dread!

Very brave of you to put your head above the parapet! And good on you. I do have a question (me sir!) And would love to know your thoughts. I went through three years of music lessons at secondary school in the late 1970's and never picked up an instrument once. The school did have instruments, and an orchestra,  but they were all reserved for the kids in the top streams. The riff raff in the lower groups got some perfunctory lessons on theory and that was it. I would love to have played, and was decent at the recorder in primary school, but all that stopped in secondary school. please tell me things have moved on since then!

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3 minutes ago, AdrianP said:

Very brave of you to put your head above the parapet! And good on you. I do have a question (me sir!) And would love to know your thoughts. I went through three years of music lessons at secondary school in the late 1970's and never picked up an instrument once. The school did have instruments, and an orchestra,  but they were all reserved for the kids in the top streams. The riff raff in the lower groups got some perfunctory lessons on theory and that was it. I would love to have played, and was decent at the recorder in primary school, but all that stopped in secondary school. please tell me things have moved on since then!

We'd shot down in flames for that. That's why the national curriculum expects a range of performing. We have keyboards attached to macs running logic, tuned, untuned and stuff that should be tuned percussion, ukuleles/ guitars and a starter scheme for other instuments, your school orchestra stuff for example (although that's really struggling) plus rock band instruments. 

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One particular memory I have from first year at high school was the teacher doing some kind of assessment of each pupil for suitability for the choir.

It basically consisted of being pulled up in front of the music teacher (can't remember if it was in front of other pupils or not) who was sat at a piano. He said "sing the lower of these two notes" and then played two notes at the same time. I made some kind of discordant groan - I really had no idea about notes or pitch or anything. I was now in the 'not suitable for choir' group☹️.

 

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The years of playing recorder in Primary were forgotten once you left Primary.

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7 minutes ago, Skybone said:

The years of playing recorder in Primary were forgotten once you left Primary.

When we were given the option of recorder, those that didn’t want to could play football or run around outside, strangely recorder wasn't that popular which may have been the idea.

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Although it was nearly 50 years ago now, I still remember a junior school music lesson when Miss brought in her vinyl copy of Prokofiev's Peter and the wolf. The characters being represented by the different instruments quickly had me hooked like Pavlov's dog.

This directly influenced me in 1965, coming up with the upright bass part in 'These Boots Are Made For Walking', which directly influenced Nancy Sinatra taking me to her hotel after the session and having full sex with me... our heaving rampant torsos twisting together until there was no space between us...

... that in turn influenced me to try to get on the 1960s Motown sessions backing the Supremes, but unfortunately Jamerson or Babbit always got those gigs...

The above is completely untrue obviously, except the first part.

😬

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The only darn thing I can remember, and in fact cannot unremember, is the notes of the treble clef. 

 

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Simple answer NO . As as kid at school in the seventies, music tuition was very poor. Although I had been playing guitar for 2 years, I was informed that I would have to take my exams on a recorder !!!  The lessons were boring and disruptive, as this was the subject that most of the bad lads had chosen too ! having been told by their peers that it was a doddle. Although watching one of the hardest lads in the school trying to play Frere Jacques on the recorder does go down as a highlight. Most of the lessons consisted of us having to listen to Vivaldi, Beethoven or Brahms, there was very little music theory or site reading. Honestly I've learnt more in the last few months of lockdown than I did at school.

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A lot of my early musical education comes from school.... but had nothing to do with the lessons.

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I started infants school at two years old, and remember the pieces of music played at school assembly, before first lessons. One piece in particular I really though I'd dreamt, or imagined, until, fifty-odd years on, I came across it again, and those early moments were re-lived. This is what was played to us, as well as many other fine works. Enlightened times, the early '50s..!

 

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37 minutes ago, stewblack said:

The only darn thing I can remember, and in fact cannot unremember, is the notes of the treble clef. 

 

Me too! Singing treble in the church choir until my voice broke did no help in this matter either....

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2 hours ago, T-Bay said:

When we were given the option of recorder, those that didn’t want to could play football or run around outside, strangely recorder wasn't that popular which may have been the idea.

We weren't given the choice! 

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I wasn't popular with our music teacher.  It was in the 1960s and the Beatles & Co were changing the music scene.  She was a classical music fiend and condemned pop music as being repetitive with the same line sung over and over again.  I asked if she meant "rather like the Hallelujah Chorus from Handel's Messiah".  For some reason that didn't go down too well!

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No, music lessons never helped in my experience. Junior school (70s) consisted of wrestling (not literally) with a recorder which I never got to grips with and being shunned from the choir due to having a voice like Johnny Rotten. We were put in a group called 'The Groaners' and spent choir practice time by doing drawings instead. Secondary school (80s) was no better. We did the usual 'this is a stave' , 'Mozart, what a guy' etc but my main memories are designing LP covers and sometimes bringing records in. One chap brought in a tape recording off of the TV of dismal, yanky, puppet nonsense Fraggle Rock that for some reason we listened to for 20 minutes before the teacher (who was a geography teacher) restored our sanity and whacked some Motown on. Typing that has just reminded me that for one whole year we never had a music teacher, it was always a PE teacher or whatever. Sometimes, we never had a teacher turn up at all. Dropped music after the third year when options came up because it was just a doss twice a week.

The only instrument we got our hands on were glockenspiels for about four lessons very early on in the first year there. Can recall infuriating our teacher by our consistency in making the little wooden balls on the end of the beaters fall off and roll across the classroom. He was going apoplectic, how we laughed. Until we got to school the following morning to be told he'd died of a heart attack overnight. Sorry, Mr Edwards, though I think your heroic boozing and 2 lighters a day smoking habit may have been contributing factors as well. 

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Indirectly. At school our music teacher was a complete bullying [email protected] He went all around the room one day and ordered us to sing solo. When it got to my turn I refused. He screamed that in his lesson, my voice was his. I told him to fork off which sent him into a violent rage. As a result I got grief and bullied from most of the other teachers for most of my secondary schooling. That caused me to rebel, pick up the bass and join a band at the age of twelve. Never looked back! 😀

 

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I had one term at senior school learning recorder. I found I wasn’t very good at reading music. We then moved to a different town and I started a different school. Our music lessons there mostly consisted of the class clowns doing stuff like putting waste paper bins full of rubbish on the door so that when the teacher (a rather quiet, reserved older lady) came in they’d fall on her. I can’t remember having a single lesson where we learnt anything about music, it was usually just chaos. Rather cheeses me off to think about it now. So no, they didn’t help at all. 

I think listening to music and singing hymns at infant and junior school (which I really enjoyed) coloured the type of music I like though. I suspect my love of Prog came from a mix of the jazz I heard at home and the hymns we sang at school. 

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Yet another who didn't learn much in music lessons, but all I ever wanted to study was physics, so music didn't even last beyond the second form.

According to my reports I was good at theory,  and I remember a lesson on tonic triads (why that one???). I also briefly tried the trombone, but the lessons at lunchtime with a teacher who had obviously wet his whistle in the pib beforehand were unpleasant. Beery, smelly trombone noises from his side of the room. Trying not to vomit noises from mine.🤢🤮

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Actually, I do blame school for my stage fright. We had the typical annual nativity play and one year (infants/early juniors, can’t quite remember) I was chosen to be the Narrator (i.e. reading the bits of the story between the ‘acting’ and ‘singing’), mainly because I was the most advanced reader in my year. Cocky little me was well up for it; “I’m ready for my closeup now!”😁.

Unfortunately shortly before the show was about to start the teachers deserted the kids backstage, and none of us had any idea when we were supposed to go on. By mutual agreement, we decided I should go on and start  doing my bit, so I waltzed on stage, fully in my element, and started. Unfortunately this was while one of the teachers was still playing  the piano (which I suppose was supposed to be entertainment prior to the show starting) and it gradually dawned on me that no-one in the audience could hear what I was saying and the confidence started to drain out of me, Eventually another teacher appeared and ushered me offstage, half way through my recital. This in front or a hall full of parents. I then had to wait 5 minutes til the piano intro had finished and then saunter on stage and do the whole thing again. I was absolutely mortified and to this day have never really got over it. Bastards! 

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13 minutes ago, taunton-hobbit said:

Our deputy head boy was screwing the music mistress - does that count?

😎

 

Where I went, we had a teacher knocking a pupil off for years. All the kids knew so the staff certainly did. It started when she was 12 and when she left school, she moved in with him and had a load of kids. Things certainly were different then.

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Music at school was rubbish (being polite there). The teacher was a grumpy unpleasant man, and for some reason he hated my pal so we all got treated badly. I really wanted to learn the Flute. They passed one around the class once and said 'blow into this'. The two people who got a note out of it got to learn flute. I felt robbed, my one chance was pathetically unfair.

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1 minute ago, itsmedunc said:

Where I went, we had a teacher knocking a pupil off for years. All the kids knew so the staff certainly did. It started when she was 12 and when she left school, she moved in with him and had a load of kids. Things certainly were different then.

I went to an all boys grammar in the late 70s. We eventually started getting girls in when we were in I think the 4th year; started with just a few 6th formers. Our games teacher ran off with one of them and our headmaster was sacked after being found peering through the keyhole of the girls changing room. 😂

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No.

It was crap music, I don't think we ever got past Clare de la flippin' Lune on the recorder, banging random percussion, awful violin lessons and a choir where I was told I couldn't sing so fosters off.

Beat all the joy out of music out of me by 11/12 then luckily I discovered real music.

 

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