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Music – Foundation Stage

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					FIVE PRACTICAL STRATEGIES TO MOTIVATE BOYS AND RAISE STANDARDS
IN MUSIC

FOUNDATION STAGE

  1. RESOURCES: these should be good quality, sound-wise. Aim to have proper
     instruments for the music sessions, not toys or gimmicks. This shows respect
     and boys respond better to the “real thing”. Provide bass sounds as well as
     the higher sounds especially for tuned percussion. Use a good quality CD or
     tape player, as listening skills will be developed critically in these sessions.
     Support learning with as much visual material as possible: pictures/flash
     cards/colour etc.

  2. LIVE MUSIC: lots of opportunities to watch other people (children) making
     music in other classes; the early school; secondary schools; parents;
     governors etc. Also get an audience even the adult walking pass the
     classroom, so children have someone to play/sing to where possible have two
     or three children playing untuned percussion along with the CD
     accompaniment to a song, to make live music.

  3. BEHAVIOUR MANAGEMENT DOES NOT TAKE OVER CURRICULUM
     OPPORTUNITIES: allow opportunities (lots of) for exploring and discovering
     sound. It will have a high noise level and provided the instruments and child is
     safe this is all right and to be expected and accepted. To help to “contain”,
     “central”, “structure” and cope with all this experimental sound use a visual
     stimulus which they will “play to” e.g. a picture/pattern/shape (trace your
     fingers round it) a puppet or other moving object.

  4. PROFILE OF THE SUBJECT: it needs to be seen to be a valued and
     repeated area of the curriculum. Not the one which can be shelved if
     something more important comes up. If there is a visiting specialist the class
     teacher should still attend the lessons (or at least sometimes) to show it is
     important. Demonstrate all musical skills you and other teachers have,
     celebrate achievements, display certificates of festival competitions or graded
     lessons…or from the Butlins talent competition!

  5. VARIETY OF OPPORTUNITIES: especially linked to movement with music.
     Positively sitting and singing will not engage them sufficiently (some of them)
     but adding hand actions, movements etc, which are relevant to the song.
     Linking sounds to words (adjectives) or to numbers and patterning, as warm
     up lessons starters and develop the lesson not just in 3 parts, but with a series
     of short activities. Listening will be successful is given a specific focus, using a
     visual stimulus e.g. choose the picture (out of 4) which fits best with this piece
     of music or use a puppet to respond to the music.
KEY STAGE 1/2

1. UKS” – BOYS CHOIRS – as one of the extra curricular options. This would
   allow for a different repetitive of songs to be taught. (It may be necessary, for
   equal opportunities, to have a girl’s choir but this would not weaken the impact
   on supporting boys in order to raise achievement and engagement).

2. RESOURCES (choice of and quantity): large untuned percussion. Bass
   sounding tuned (on trolleys for accessibility) quality, enough for every pupil.
   Too many instruments are high pitched which does not relate to boys voice
   pitch. Reasons behind this being they are the cheaper ones! Also, to ensure
   that CDs have examples of boys and men singing, to avoid hidden messages
   about singing being “girlie”. These should not just be pop groups but male
   soloists and male voice choirs.

3. LIVE MUSIC: performers from local groups, secondary schools, army band,
   Salvation army band, police band etc. the aim being that boys see the role
   model: men do play/sing. Also the staff, especially the males, sing in assembly
   and share in performing wherever possible.

4. CROSS-CURRICULAR LINKS: using music as a stimulus for other subjects
   e.g. art/history/geography/RE/PE. This helps to put music in a real life context
   and pairs it with other (sometimes more respected) subjects of the curriculum.
   Also using music as a therapy, for calming, for enjoyment. This gives music a
   relevance and purpose and can link with music in the media.

5. TEACHING STRATEGIES: the hidden messages are noted, so the teacher
   needs to be keen and enthusiastic, choose songs/music which you like, then it
   is easier to enthuse others and demonstrates a more personal involvement.
   Sometimes group the children by gender. Vary the groupings obviously, but it
   is not necessary to award the boy/girl separation as sometimes the activity
   lends itself to this.
KEY STAGE 3/4

  1. A BOYS CHOIR (BARBER SHOP). PLUS STAFF: both pitch range and song
     style can be more appropriately chosen. Also, boys are less self-conscious
     without the girls. It needs to include adults e.g. other staff (teaching and non-
     teaching) governors…even parents perhaps. (They will need a forum for
     performances, a name, even a logo perhaps).

  2. RESOURCES: good quality percussion, real orchestral and jazz/pop
     percussion instruments including non-western. This will cover tuned and
     untuned. ICT, not just computers but there more relevant to life e.g. multi-track
     recorders, drum machines, synthesizers etc. Space and venue: dedicated
     areas for boys to develop their interests and musical skills. Being both
     academic and a very practical subject: it needs recognising and providing for.

  3. LIVE MUSIC: from good role models “outside” the school and within the
     school. Contact other secondary schools and share expertise any nearby
     colleges/universities/sixth form colleges, local operatic, dramatic society may
     send a singer or two to perform an extract from a musical, the royal opera do
     workshops and also some orchestras and ballet companies. Boys are visually
     stimulated as well as actually (which is less developed usually) therefore they
     need to see how the music is being created.

  4. RELEVANCE: set tasks/activities in context, relevant to life, present and past.
     Provide opportunities for individuals in making a link of the task to current
     affairs so the competition (for example) can be performed and appreciated for
     its communicative qualities as well as pure musical qualities. Be prepared to
     justify and answer awkward, challenging questions life “why do we need to
     do/learn this?”

  5. PACE AND VARIETY: three or four parts to a lesson, involving listening,
     performing and composing being instruments and voices, with some families
     and some unfamiliar music. Provide support for visual learners as well as
     visual (which is a natural ingredient in music (even) and kinaesthetic which
     should be a natural part in every lesson. Ensure it is a social subject, whole
     class activities, to avoid individual “expression”.

				
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