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Gcse music bombed mock

(16 Posts)
Butby Tue 12-Jan-16 23:28:17

My daughters absolute favourite subject is music but she is really struggling. She had an assessment in September and she got a U grade and this has just been repeated in her mocks.

She did a lot of revision but says it's too much to remember and recall for the exam. I don't understand as she did really well in everything else.

Not being musical myself I don't know how to help her. For revision I helped her make mind maps and revisions cards with all the different periods of music and the features associated with each. Seeing her teacher next week to discuss further but don't know what to suggest??

Ionacat Wed 13-Jan-16 08:51:18

Which board? The listening varies quite widely, from set works with Edexcel with lots of memory to applying knowledge in AQA and OCR. The applying knowledge a lot of pupils find difficult, e.g. they can learn all of the features of the Classical period, but they have to be able to recognise a piece of Classical era music and then listen out for the features they can hear. If her other subjects aren't a problem, I'm guessing she is struggling to apply what she had remembered. Lots of pupils if they don't recognise the style of music either leave it blank and don't even have a go, or quite often over-complicate their answers and forget to state the obvious simple answers.

Quite a few pupils in music tend to do badly in the mock, at this time of year the main focus is getting everything recorded, before a big push on listening once it is finished. The listening really improves the more you do it.

Get her listening actively to music more not just on headphones whilst doing other things and as wide a variety of music as possible. If you have car journeys, put the radio on, e.g. Classic FM, BBC radio 2 and 3, radio 2 or make a car playlist/CD. (If Edexcel, set works need to be on loop.) What period is it? What composer? What features can she hear? What textures can she describe? Time signature, key etc. Look at the music she is playing/singing when she is practising, what key is it in? Does the melody have balanced phrases, sequence, imitiation etc.

Butby Wed 13-Jan-16 09:44:44

Thanks for this ionacat - it's Edexcel - she says she is ok with the listening but cannot remember which features apply to which period/style.

Stillunexpected Wed 13-Jan-16 09:53:13

What is her target grade and how is she doing with the composition and performance element? If I remember correctly, Edexcel have 60% of the marks for those two elements so it is possible to pick up a lot of marks which can help with the shortfall in the exam.

Butby Wed 13-Jan-16 10:39:58

Her target is an A, she doing better with performance and composition but hasn't been given marks yet

randomsabreuse Wed 13-Jan-16 10:51:08

I found classic FM better than Radio 3 in the car as you usually got to the bit where they told you what it was within the journey!

Might be worth listening to known pieces - so period is known - and writing down features as she hears them and why. Maybe also practice the recognition at home with you controlling the music player and repeating the same track several times and creating a system - first run listen for tonality - atonal or clear key, then rhythm - syncopated, compound or simple time, 3/4 time, then type of base line - big chords/arpeggiated moving bass etc. Presumably there's a list of features in the syllabus/ her notes - just start looking for one thing at a time rather than getting overwhelmed.

Start with obvious ones like Mozart = classical, Rachmaninov = romantic, Handel = Baroque and go from there.

TheOptimisticPessimist Wed 13-Jan-16 11:31:26

Advice from pps is good to help with the listening paper.
Repetition really does help so if you can get some past papers or examples online they should make a big difference.

As stillunexpected mentioned the performance and composition are huge parts of the overall grade too and can really make up for a bad listening paper. I did my GCSEs not too long ago (about 8 years ago) and music was an additional subject for me.

Listening wasn't my strong point, (I got a C in the paper) but because I poured myself into my performance and composition I came out with a decent A overall. There is still hope that she can pass with a decent grade if she can pull her listening mark up even by a grade or two so don't give up hope! Make sure she keeps at it and hopefully it will click. Good luck!

LilyBolero Thu 14-Jan-16 23:26:48

If identifying the period is tricky, what I would do is to give her some 'deal breaker' things to listen for - e.g. 'harpsichord = baroque'. So she can get the period pretty easily. If she has a table with features from each period, she could just learn that, then having found the period with her 'main feature' she can then churn out the other features.

It's not a cast-iron way of doing it, but might help ease the panic?

Ionacat Fri 15-Jan-16 09:46:40

Edexcel makes it easier in some ways. There are only 12 set works so she won't hear anything she hasn't heard before. However the main issue tends to be is that the analysis can be really hard to remember.

Listening to the set works over and over again helps as does making sure she understands what the questions are asking, e.g. harmony- the chords etc. Get her used to using words to describe the different elements, e.g. texture - unison, polyphonic etc. melody - conjunct, sequence. Also state the obvious, the amount of pupils I've seen who have waffled on in a comparison question, when the first one is played on the violin, second on a trumpet would have sufficed. Or even the first one is louder than the second, but the comparative language has to be there to get the marks. Mmenoics and silly ways of remembering can help, my year 11s used to be fairly creative here! But like practising the more you do the better you get at it.

RummidgeGeneral Fri 15-Jan-16 20:14:34

You tube videos are the way to go. There is quite a lot of help with the current Edexcel GCSE set works. If your daughter goes in to you tube itself and searches deeply she will find lots of videos that music teachers have put on themselves with revision points. I find the best ones combine speaking and powerpoint slides. For example,
Jen Whitfield's yt videos are good. This one is an overview of the structures of all the set works

This teacher's resources are excellent

good luck with it.

Butby Sat 16-Jan-16 20:24:18

Thanks for all your help you've given fantastic advice 😀

gobbin Sun 17-Jan-16 17:07:57

If you google Edexcel Set Work Summary there is a school that has kindly shared their revision sheets, ine for each set work, that are useful (and have all the basics in one place).

Figmentofmyimagination Sun 17-Jan-16 21:42:35

Edexcel music - what an absolutely terrible course. We all complained about it after the 2013 gcses and the school moved to a different syllabus. Composition and performance are fine - thank god. But the listening - awful. They are testing your ability to memorise a whole lot of irrelevant guff for 12 different pieces nobody cares about. Since the information has no rational basis, it is incredibly hard to remember.

And some of the music choices - dreadful, frankly. Truly banal and patronising.

My DD is bright, with a very good memory - but this listening exam was the hardest of all her gcses, because it was a feat of memorising a whole load of pointless rubbish.

MidLifeCrisis007 Mon 18-Jan-16 18:45:13

I did music O' level back in the day.... and found it very hard. The listening bit involved sitting there listening to a scratchy old record. My hearing isn't great and it was all a bit of a blur.

I was delighted to scrape a C and am in awe of people who do well in it.....

Nowadays, I'm still an avid classical music fan. Just don't ask me any questions about it......

gobbin Wed 20-Jan-16 23:48:11

Be interested to know which exam board your DD's school moved to Figment because all of them demand similar things from their listening exam, whether they have set works or not.

I love teaching the Edexcel syllabus and think it has a fair balance of genres and eras and allows you to get under the skin of a piece. Much better than exams of old where anything could (and did) come up from plainchant to Japanese drumming.

When children start to question the essence of sound, perform poetry in a stylised form of drama (with just ten mins to prepare) because it helps them understand period and context, will analyse any sound structure effectively and clearly love the challenge in a music lesson then you know they've been taught well. I'd question your DD's teachers, not the exam board.

gobbin Wed 20-Jan-16 23:51:22

it was a feat of memorising a whole load of pointless rubbish
It's actually about LISTENING to the music and being able ANALYSE it. Background and context ('pointless rubbish', as you call it) is only part of a successful exam performance.

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