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GCSE options, DD wants to take music but I'm not sure it's a good idea.

(42 Posts)
WhenTheDragonsCame Sat 20-Feb-16 07:55:27

At the moment DD1 wants to work with children who have special needs when she grows up. She struggles with Maths and English so the school are saying they will use one of her selections to give her extra help with them.

This means she has two subjects to pick. Her first choice is child development and her second choice is music. At the moment she is unable to play an instrument and I'm not sure she will be able to get up to the standard required in two years. I have said that I will get her private guitar lessons and she has had keyboard lessons in the past but due to her keyboard breaking did not practice at home (though the teacher did say that she made adequate progress in just 30 minutes a week) and she has had ukulele lessons at her old school.

Should I encourage her to take a subject with a higher chance of success, such as catering which she does enjoy?

Thank you.

WhenTheDragonsCame Sat 20-Feb-16 07:56:25

She also has to chose between history and geography.

prettywhiteguitar Sat 20-Feb-16 07:59:29

I would have thought music was a perfect compliment to child development if she would like to work with children. Not sure catering would look as relevant to an employer or further ed organisation. And she does play an instrument? The keyboard?

prettywhiteguitar Sat 20-Feb-16 08:00:58

Learning music/a musical instrument requires persistence and daily practice as long as she does that she will be fine

FaithAscending Sat 20-Feb-16 08:02:09

Does she get an options evening where she can chat to the teacher? GCSE music really does rely on you being fairly capable on an instrument. You need to be able to read music, perform an instrument as part of it. To be fair, it was my favourite GCSE by far but I'd been playing since I was 5! I would see if you and she can sit down with the teacher to see what the teacher thinks about whether she'll be up to speed in time.

Duckdeamon Sat 20-Feb-16 08:03:35

Catering sounds pointless. If she enjoys music, why not? Learning music can also help with maths.

History/geography she should just do whichever she enjoys and is best at.

SomedayMyPrinceWillCome Sat 20-Feb-16 08:05:33

Can she read music & have an understanding of rhythm & tone? I think she will struggle as a beginner playing her primary instrument - how she will she do the composition element? When I did music GCSE (about 100 hrs ago but hey!) we were expected to compose from the start of the course

prettywhiteguitar Sat 20-Feb-16 08:06:19

The teacher won't let her take music unless they think she is up to it, so yes I would second just getting in touch with the music teacher

Eastpoint Sat 20-Feb-16 08:07:19

What sort of grade is she hoping to get in GCSE music? If she is hoping for a high grade then definitely not, composition & performance are marked and she won't be at the required level. Music is no easier than an MFL, are GCSEs streamed at her school?

LIZS Sat 20-Feb-16 08:11:50

Tbh I'm not keen on vocational subjects pre gcse unless there is strong reasoning behind it. Child Development will be covered by any level 2/3 or above course related to childcare or teaching she might take at college. It would probably be better to keep her options open with traditional subjects so music if she enjoys it and perhaps art, pe ( which includes human biology and nutrition) or drama rather than catering if she prefers a practical element. Does she volunteer with children with SN ?

SanityClause Sat 20-Feb-16 08:14:48

Music is a very highly thought of GCSE and A level, as it requires a lot of skills. (Analytical skills, and essay writing, along with the more obvious ones of composing and performing.)

However, you are usually advised that you need to be able to perform on your instrument (including vocals) at about grade 5 standard, or above, so, even with the best will in the world, she just wouldn't be able to do it.

Fatfreefaff Sat 20-Feb-16 08:22:49

My daughter got an A in Music last year and is only grade 3 on piano. She had to do one group performance and I believe one individual performance where she sang. She is not a trained singer by any means - but practised and practised. Would that be an option?

ClashCityRocker Sat 20-Feb-16 08:25:17

At our local secondary they suggest that children should be working at grade 4 level to succeed at music GCSE - not sure what they mean by 'succeed' but it strikes me that it would be difficult to acheive in two years (although it does of course depend on your daughters natural ability.

What do you mean by 'she has two years to learn?' Are you talking about the time she has until she starts doing the GCSE or are you talking from starting to finishing the GCSE?

I would suggest that you speak to the music teacher as she will be more up to date on the syllabus requirements and whether your daughter stands a chance.

Ikeatears Sat 20-Feb-16 08:29:23

Ds is taking music GCSE. He doesn't play an instrument well, although he has the basics of piano and guitar (nowhere near grade 5 though) I had similar concerns but spoke to his music teacher who assured me that she would be delighted for him to take music and that she was sure he could do really well. The performance element is a relatively small component and you can sing instead of a traditional instrument. The composition can be done via cubase (sp?) which is a computer- based composition tool. There is a live element to this but again, it is relatively small. I think if her teacher is happy for her to take it, she should go for it. She is already losing one of her options for extra maths and English (they offer this at ds' school too and I think it's a good thing) and she is more likely to succeed in something she enjoys.
Re history and geography, I don't know about the geography syllabus but history is very essay- heavy and the exams involve lots of analytical writing. Ds considered it but English isn't his strong point and even his history teacher said that, although it could be done, he would find it difficult. To give you an idea, he got a level 6b in his last English assessment.

Lottie4 Sat 20-Feb-16 08:33:08

We tried not to influence our DD on her choices, but when it comes to music your DD will have to work hard learning an instrument from new and have confidence. One of the first lots of homework my DD had to do was prepare and perform something in front of the class - playing or singing. I think teacher was just trying to initially assess them so it wouldn't matter your DD was playing her first notes on a guitar.

It might be down my DD' school, but A & A* in music are hard to achieve - last year 4.8% of them got one of these grades, whereas in geography and history it's more like 20%.

WhenTheDragonsCame Sat 20-Feb-16 08:41:37

DD1 does really struggle with learning so I'm not sure how she would cope with too many academic subjects. She is definitely doing English, maths, double science and history. She then gets 2 options. I'm pretty sure she would not consider art or drama and already refuses to do pe regularly.

The only 3 subjects she will consider is child development (she really wants to do this), music or food/catering (they have a gcse and non gcse option).

Her primary school suggested that she may possibly have some kind of learning difficulty but she has seen a speech and language therapist who said she was at the lower end of average but that was for all cognitive ability rather than just processing. She has also been screened for dyslexia and that has been ruled out.

I will try and speak to the music teacher but she has only been at the school since September and I'm not sure how many lessons she has had yet.

Thank you for your help.

WhenTheDragonsCame Sat 20-Feb-16 08:49:50

She will hopefully starting guitar lessons after easter but that is obviously too late for picking her options. She loves music and is constantly listening to something.

I will phone the school on Monday.

Thank you.

wormshuffled Sat 20-Feb-16 08:57:13

I quite honestly think she will struggle if she can't read music or play an instrument. Music was the subject that caused my daughter the most anguish of all her 11 GCSEs, and my DD is at grade 5 level. It is by no means an easy subject. It's the one subject my DD took that I wish she hadn't.

Hulababy Sat 20-Feb-16 09:04:22

I think you and she need to speak to the music teacher. Has there not been an options evening for you all?

Many schools will only let a child do GCSE music if they can play an instrument.

WhenTheDragonsCame Sat 20-Feb-16 09:06:11

Thank you.

She had keyboard lessons through school for 2 years but is unable to read music. I'm not sure if that's because she doesn't have the ability or if she wasn't taught.

I think maybe I should suggest she takes the food preparation gcse and does music as a hobby.

Thank you.

Balletgirlmum Sat 20-Feb-16 09:10:39

Dds school says they have to be grade 3 singing or grade 4 instrument at the start of the course to take music.

I have many friends who are music teachers. It's really hard to get a good grade if you can't play/don't understand theory.

lljkk Sat 20-Feb-16 09:10:47

2yrs ago DS was going to take music GCSE even though he can't read music & doesn't play anything.

But he's got a good ear for composition & could memorise a piece on keyboard or another instrument. Never gonna get an A, but he would have got C-B+ and would have suited him since he has interests in audio design.

SweepTheHalls Sat 20-Feb-16 09:11:03

Honestly if she can't read music I really would not do GCSE. We require grade 5 in an instrument to take the GCSE....... occasionally make exceptions, but they would need to be playing to a high standard but just not have taken the exams. I would encourage catering.

WhenTheDragonsCame Sat 20-Feb-16 09:11:42

Hulababy I'm having a lot of problems with her behaviour at the moment, especially around school. They had an evening before half term but she refused to go. We argued about it but she went to a friend's house after school but refused to tell me where she was.

She had been saying she wanted to do food but at the weekend said she had decided music instead. I really want her to pick subjects that she loves as I am hoping this will help her with enjoying school.

If I knew having a teenager was going to be this hard I wouldn't have had 3 DC!

Katymac Sat 20-Feb-16 09:28:08

Dragons - I sent you a PM

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