Music Homework

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It is not unusual for teachers of Music to form a close working relationship in secondary schools.

It comes with the territory and their experiences of collegiality and developing musicianship in orchestras, bands or vocal groups.

Student A played the rhythms giving strong emphasis to the unexpected beats, then again so that his teacher could correct and refine technique for each exercise.

The teacher clapped and counted while the student played.

All this teaching and learning ensured that there was sufficient scaffolding for Student A to be able to practice with intent by himself.

I could see that Student A was putting effort into the rhythmic exercises as he acknowledged the reasoning behind them.Research into the theory of deliberate practice confirmed that the strategy has the potential to improve both student performance and student mindset about what makes a musician.To assess the impact of the strategy, each Music teacher focused on a case study of a selected individual student, rather than the whole class.When I approached A’s instrumental teacher, he identified specific strengths and weaknesses for the student – his notational and pitch skills were excellent, but rhythmic skills were a problem.So, I knew what technical weaknesses needed attention. The instrumental teacher identified exercises from a percussion tutoring book – – then demonstrated how the required rhythms could be played on single notes.His results up to the end of Term 1, Year 12, showed a ‘sound’ (average) achievement for the dimension of Performance, working within the guidelines of the Queensland syllabus.My estimation of his level and rate of progress was that he needed necessary skills to improve his results, hence the strategy of deliberate practice was appropriate to introduce in Term 2.The class lesson included research evidence and case studies of experts who favoured deliberate practice.For example, students saw Sir Donald Bradman in his early days, developing cricket skills in front of a corrugated iron shed wall, using a stump of wood to hit the cricket ball.Using the voice to say the rhythms developed improved skill in reading notation, what the teacher referred to as automatic application of a skill.He emphasised the three types of vocalising to be used – numbers, time names, sound names – perhaps at different times depending on the type of work.

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