JUNIOR CONSERVATOIRE – THE MINI MUSIC COURSE General Information for Parents/Carers The Mini Music course aims to give students of 4 to 7 years a sound, enjoyable start to their musical studies. Parents/carers are encouraged to join in with the Mini Music group activities, making this a unique way for you and your child to participate in music together. The routines and procedures followed by all Mini Music students, parents/carers and staff are set out below. Registering Your Child Parents/Carers should register their child in person each Saturday with the Attendance Monitor at the Junior Conservatoire desk, which can be found at the Staff/Student entrance to the Raymond Edwards Building. All children should register at least 10 minutes before the start of their activities. Children are not permitted to leave the premises unless accompanied by their parent/carer or an authorised person.* Collecting Your Child All parents/carers are expected to collect their child after his/her final lesson/class and sign out in person at the Junior Conservatoire desk. * At the beginning of each academic year, parents/carers may provide in writing the details of an additional person authorised to collect their child, other than themselves. Supervision for your child Parents/Carers of Mini Music students are required to supervise their child while in College. You are asked to attend your child’s Mini Music group activities and to escort him/her between lessons and classes, however attendance in instrument lessons is not obligatory (see ‘Learning an Instrument’ below). Borrowing Instruments Mini Music students can take advantage of the opportunity to borrow one of our Junior Conservatoire instruments, many of which are ‘junior’ size and given in good working order. Please enquire as to whether an instrument suitable for your child is available to borrow. There is no hire charge to borrow an instrument. However, a yearly fee is payable to cover insurance and maintenance costs. Concerts Mini Music students usually participate in one concert per term, as follows Autumn term as part of the choir/ensemble in the course’s Winter concert Spring Term an informal solo and/or ensemble performance for families in class time Summer term an informal solo and/or ensemble performance for families in class time Language Tuition is given predominately in English, however, the College implements a Welsh Language Policy (available on request) and where possible, tuition may be given in Welsh. MINI MUSIC CURRICULUM Rhythmic movement (30 mins) Through activity and movement to music, this class aims to develop awareness of tempo, pulse, dynamics, phrase and form, creative expression, rhythmic and musical patterns. Singing (30 mins) This is an activity geared to promoting musicianship, ensemble skills and teamwork, as well as core singing skills. Many children gain a first experience of public performance in this activity, developing the sense of achievement that comes through performing in a large group. From time to time, the children will also undertake ensemble work on instruments. Learning an Instrument Many children will start learning an instrument through Mini Music and demonstrations of the violin, viola, cello and recorder will be given as part of the course. For those who wish, a package of instrumental lessons plus Mini Music classes can be arranged, at an additional fee. (NB We cannot guarantee to arrange instrument lessons immediately before or after the Mini Music classes.) Children may opt to share lessons (subject to availability) or have individual tuition while on the Mini Music course. Your child’s tutor will devise a bespoke scheme of work appropriate to his/her needs. This will normally include technical exercises and pieces that develop musical awareness and an effective basic technique. With regard to external examinations, while we recognise that taking exams can provide a useful goal, the College does not require your child to take one grade after another. Instead, you are advised to follow your tutor’s recommendations on how your child can develop a flexible technique. We advise not to take a grade exam unless you and your tutor are confident of a strong pass at merit or distinction level (ABRSM). Parents/carers often ask if it’s better for them to attend a child’s instrument lesson or not. Our advice is that, for students taking their very first steps in learning an instrument, it is better for a parent/carer to observe lessons in order to support productive practising at home. As a child gets older and more experienced, and it can be beneficial to encourage independence and for a child to have his/her lesson unsupervised. Parents/carers are advised that their presence in a lesson inevitably alters a child’s focus – and that of other children if a lesson is shared. If a tutor sees that a child can concentrate better in a lesson without a parent/carer present, we will respectfully suggest that you attend lessons on a more intermittent basis. Assessment Assessment in JMAS is predominately done on a continuous basis, with tutors monitoring progress on a weekly basis and providing termly written reports. To keep in touch with your child’s progress, you are encouraged to attend part of your child’s instrumental lessons from time to time – as well as observe class activities (space permitting and with the tutor’s agreement) – and liaise with your child’s tutors on an on-going basis. Formal written reports on each activity are issued at the end of each term. Where it is not possible to speak to tutors directly, questions about progress should be raised with the Head. Any concerns that we have regarding a student’s progress will be raised by the Head o as early as possible. Progression Between Courses Progression between our Junior Conservatoire courses is not automatic, but based on a student’s standard and rate of progress the recommendation of their tutor the recommendation of the Head. Once they have reached a standard of approximately Grade 1 or equivalent level on their instrument, most Mini Music students move onto the Music First course. The Head or the Mini Music Co-ordinator will liaise with parents/carers through this process. In turn, most Music First students remain on this course until the age of 11. From there, some then either: continue with lessons only through the Take Part Tuition Scheme, or join the Junior course which is suitable for students who are approximately Grade 5 or equivalent level on their principal instrument at age 11 (NB the Gr 5 exam need not have been taken. A slightly lower standard may be accepted from players of instruments traditionally begun at a later stage). Families of students wishing their child to progress to the Junior Course in time are advised that the entry standard for this course is approximately Grade 5 at the age of 11 (the exam need not have been taken).
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