Teaching secondary music
Teaching secondary music

This free course is available to start right now. Review the full course description and key learning outcomes and create an account and enrol if you want a free statement of participation.

Free course

Teaching secondary music

Characteristic 1: Musical music lessons adopt an integrated and holistic approach

Integrated and holistic are understood in two ways here. Firstly, that music lessons in schools need to have cognisance of young people’s musical experiences and activities outside of school, or in a previous school, such as their primary school. These experiences should be integrated into what is planned in the music classroom, using them to develop young people’s musical understanding in ways that build on and extend these experiences.

Secondly, integrated and holistic refer to how the most musical lessons tend to be those that integrate the three main aspects of musical experience – listening to music; creating music; performing music – into common learning outcomes. This leads more readily to young people being immersed in music and, as Matthews says, reflects the way in which music is typically experienced outside of school:

even a cursory examination of the musical practices of most musical traditions and cultures reveals that there is often much blurring of lines between the activities of composing, listening and performing.

(Matthews, 2011, p. 66)

Matthews goes on to cite examples from jazz, African township music and hip hop to reinforce this point. Similarly, if you take part in a karaoke session you will naturally integrate these activities: you will listen to the backing track and compose/improvise the ‘on the hoof’ cover version of whatever it is that you ‘perform’.

Activity 11

Allow about 1 hour

Part 1

Watch the video clip Bugs, which is taken from a key stage 2 whole class instrument lesson and note how composing, listening and improvisation are integrated into this lesson.

Download this video clip.Video player: exn885_1_2013_vid003-320x176.mp4
Skip transcript

Transcript

Bugs

[PIANO PLAYING]

[VIOLIN PLAYING]

TEACHER
What did she start with? What notes did she play? Atiya?
ATIYA
A?
VIOLINIST 1
No.
TEACHER
What did she start with?
VIOLINIST 1
Started with a D, that’s right.
TEACHER
D. What was the first line she played? You got it, Rosaria? [SINGING] D, D. Did she use a finger?
STUDENT
No?
TEACHER
Did she use a finger?
STUDENT
She used one with D.
TEACHER
Good girl, well done. She went [SINGING] D, D, one, one, D, D. Sing that with me. Ready, and –
[VIOLIN PLAYING]
VIOLINIST, TEACHER AND CLASS
[SINGING] D, D, one, one, D, D.
TEACHER
Then there was a little rest, two rests, and then she went what? Listen again. Next bit?
[PLAYING VIOLIN]
TEACHER
What did she do then?
STUDENT
Then she did the same as the first one, and then she went on to A.
TEACHER
Good. So she went D, D, one, one, A, A, A. What else did she do that was something that made it a bit more interesting?
STUDENT
Oh, she did this.
[PLAYS ACCENTED NOTE]
TEACHER
Great. The last note she played was a really short stab on the –? You did the right –
STUDENT
On the A.
TEACHER
On the A. How many As did she play? How many?
STUDENT
Three.
TEACHER
Three. And what did she do with those three As? Were they all the same? The last one was short. Did she do anything else? Play it one more time?
[PLAYING VIOLIN]
TEACHER
What did she do? How would you describe what she played? Yes?
STUDENT
She made it louder.
TEACHER
She made it louder. She started quiet. She went [SINGING] A, A, A. And a stab at the end. Try it, on your A string. One, two –
VIOLINIST 1
A string.
TEACHER
– three, go. [PLAYING VIOLIN]
VIOLINIST, TEACHER AND CLASS
[SINGING] A, A, A,
TEACHER
Start even quieter, and then you’ve got somewhere to have your stab – wait, wait, wait. If you start really quietly, you can get louder. One, two, three, go.
[PLAYING VIOLIN]
TEACHER
Let’s sing the whole thing once, and then we’ll play it. This is the chorus to Bugs. Let’s just try singing it once, then we’ll get ’round to playing it. Get ready.
[MUSIC PLAYING]
TEACHER
Singing now.
VIOLINIST, TEACHER AND CLASS
D, D, one, one, D, D, shh, shh. D, D, one, one, A, A, A.
TEACHER
Try playing it. Up you get. Violins up. Find your one on D.
[MUSIC PLAYING]
VIOLINIST
Starting with open D.
[PLAYING VIOLIN]
VIOLINIST, TEACHER AND CLASS
[SINGING] D, D, one, one, D, D. Shh. D, D, one, one.
TEACHER
Fantastic stab at the end. There’s a couple of rests there. Shall we bend, bend in the rests? It’s going to go [SINGING] D, D, one, one, bend, bend.
STUDENT
And then it goes D, D –
TEACHER
Off we go.
[MUSIC PLAYING]
[PLAYING VIOLIN]
VIOLINIST, TEACHER AND CLASS
[SINGING] D, D, one, one, D, D. Bend. D, D, one, one.
TEACHER
Fantastic. That’s our chorus. Now we need some verses. And it’s up to you now. What kind of creepy-crawly insects can you think of? Have a think. What could try and play on the violin? What creepy-crawlies can you think of? What can you think of?
STUDENT
Spiders.
TEACHER
Spiders. What can you think of?
STUDENT
Caterpillars
TEACHER
Caterpillars.
STUDENT
Cockroaches.
TEACHER
Cockroaches.
STUDENT
Beetles.
TEACHER
Beetles.
STUDENT
Daddy-long-legs.
TEACHER
Daddy-long-legs, fantastic. Daddy-long-legs fly as well, don’t they? And they’re very light. Let’s go with beetles, first. And it’s a really little beetle that moves very quickly. How could we play that? Listening partner, have a go. Have an experiment. What could you do? Both play to each other.
[PLAYING VIOLIN]
TEACHER
OK! Thank you. We’ve got one here. Do that again, right in the middle. Listen, listening.
[PLAYING VIOLIN]
TEACHER
Right. Which string? Do you want it on the E?
STUDENT
Yeah.
TEACHER
So we’re going to go on the E, tiny little bows. And we’re going to go really fast. Go.
[PLAYING VIOLIN]
TEACHER
Thank you! Thank you. If you hear this,
[PLAYING KEYBOARD]
TEACHER
That’s a bit – can you hear that?
[PLAYING KEYBOARD]
TEACHER
You stop. You take your bow off. So let’s hear beetles. Off you go, you beetles, and listen out for that thing to take your bow off. Go.
[PLAYING VIOLIN]
[PLAYING KEYBOARD]
TEACHER
Stop immediately. Let’s do it again. Beetles, go.
[PLAYING VIOLIN]
[PLAYING KEYBOARD]
TEACHER
Then we’re back to our chorus.
[MUSIC PLAYING]
[PLAYING VIOLIN]
TEACHER
[SINGING] D, D, E.
VIOLINIST 1
Let’s go with –
TEACHER
Daddy-long-legs. See if we can get the idea of them flying really fast, or buzzing. Off you go. Daddy-long-legs.
[PLAYING VIOLIN]
TEACHER
Something different. Something different.
[VIOLINS PLAYING]
TEACHER
Yeah, but daddy-long-legs, think of how they fly. Try doing that with your bow. Try getting it to go up and down. That’s brilliant. OK! Look at this! Just do what you did. These two have got one. Quickly. Listen and watch. These two have worked out one. Go.
[PLAYING VIOLIN]
TEACHER
Try it.
[VIOLINS SCRATCHING]
TEACHER
Great.
VIOLINIST 2
I like that one. Makes a funny noise, doesn’t it, James? What do you think?
[PLAYING KEYBOARD]
TEACHER
Stop. You didn’t hear?
[PLAYING KEYBOARD]
TEACHER
Daddy-long-legs have stopped. Get ready for the chorus.
[MUSIC PLAYING]
[PLAYING VIOLIN]
TEACHER
[SINGING] D, D.
VIOLINIST 1
Bounce, bounce.
TEACHER
Fantastic. You can see how we’re going to fit that piece together to play in the concert the end of term. We’ll do some more insects next time. I fancy having a go at caterpillars, definitely.
End transcript
Copy this transcript to the clipboard
Print this transcript
 
Interactive feature not available in single page view (see it in standard view).

Part 2

Imagine that you are teaching this class at the start of their first year at secondary school and you want to build on their experiences of this holistic and integrated approach to composing at primary school.

Think of a topic that you feel would build on the pupils’ experiences and provide opportunities for continuity and progression. Then, using either this lesson plan [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] or one of your own choosing, note down some broad headings for the lesson, including:

  1. the aims for the lesson
  2. the activities that will support these aims and which:
    • integrate performing, listening and composing/improvising
    • provide a suitable level of challenge and opportunities for progression for the class, knowing their experiences at primary level.

Return to this lesson plan and amend it after each of the subsequent ‘characteristics’ have been examined and the activity completed.

EXN885_1

Take your learning further

Making the decision to study can be a big step, which is why you'll want a trusted University. The Open University has 50 years’ experience delivering flexible learning and 170,000 students are studying with us right now. Take a look at all Open University courses.

If you are new to university level study, find out more about the types of qualifications we offer, including our entry level Access courses and Certificates.

Not ready for University study then browse over 900 free courses on OpenLearn and sign up to our newsletter to hear about new free courses as they are released.

Every year, thousands of students decide to study with The Open University. With over 120 qualifications, we’ve got the right course for you.

Request an Open University prospectus