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Help with GCSE Music

(17 Posts)
QueenofQuirkiness Tue 17-Jan-17 22:13:34

Dd15 is taking music and although she is high achieving in all her option subjects and has a Grade 5 in her instrument (will be doing her theory in March), she is worried that she is going to underachieve in Music. She says that's she finds the listening too hard and can't recognise chords intervals and cadences (I hope that's right) and also that the teacher hasn't given her indication on the standard of her performances and compositions so she doesn't know where she stands with her grade, which is adding to her anxiety.
I am completely unmusical, but to help her I suggested that she should make lists of vocab for each topic (like dynamics - the only musical term I think I know!) and their definitions and try to learn them, but if anyone has any good advice that's more specific it would be appreciated smile

troutsprout Tue 17-Jan-17 22:45:16

Does she have music lessons outside school? Could you ask her her teacher to tackle this in her lesson rather than her normal instrument lesson? She could do some listening exercises with her
I think there are theory books you can get which have cd's to test yourself with. There is also some info on the Abrsm website which may help.

starving Tue 17-Jan-17 23:02:44

The listening bit comes with practice. DD struggled all year with it but by the time of the exam she aced it. She had a cd that she used, could you check if there is a suitable one for her to help. With Grade 5 she should be up to standard in her instrument.

Susiesue61 Tue 17-Jan-17 23:08:46

Ds1's piano teacher helped a lot. He found music really hard but got a B in the end 😊

MsMarvel Tue 17-Jan-17 23:19:11

Its Scottish system, but my piano teacher helped me through higher music while I was in 4th year (equivalent of a level instead of gcse) because I have an instrument outside of school. Unless listening comes naturally, it will take some time to get right, so it just needs a lot of practice.

Ionacat Wed 18-Jan-17 10:18:24

There are lots of aural trainer app out there to help recognise chords, intervals and cadences etc. Practise is the key here, little and often and it will click. If she is a pianist, practise playing the cadences, chords and intervals. Ask her instrumental teacher to help through pointing them out in her music.
With other listening, make sure she understands the key terms and what vocab is associated with it, for example harmony, you are listening for diatonic, dissonance, chromatic chords, diminished chords, triads etc.

Autumnsky Wed 18-Jan-17 13:05:01

Your DD still has 1.5 years, so there is plenty of the time to improve. I guess that's why teacher don't say the prediction yet.I remember that composition takes much big portion of the final score, performance actualy has less portion. I will check with DS1 and come back later.DS1 takes music, and is predict A* for this.

For listening, DS1's piano teacher always practice a few minutes with him each lesson. Maybe you can ask your DD's instrument teacher to help ? It would be difficult for a non musical parent to help, like me, I have given up help DS1 since he past his grade 1 piano, as I often didn't know what piece he practiced and made some laughable mistakes.

Moominmammacat Wed 18-Jan-17 13:37:04

I think the listening in GCSE exams is very different to the aural in ABRSM ...

ifonly4 Wed 18-Jan-17 14:33:32

Is DD in Year 10 or 11. As they progressed throughout Year 10 they're teachers gave my DD a rough guide as to what her work was achieving. They did Year 10 exams which were basically mock mocks and have just done Year 11 - all this has given DD a fair idea of what she could achieve.

From what I can gather it's really hard to achieve an A or A* in music. DD is around A/B grade and it's the composition that lets her down - she can obviously address other elements well as she's got a music scholarship for Sixth Form.

QueenofQuirkiness Wed 18-Jan-17 19:02:49

DD is Year 11 and is waiting on her mock grade for listening. I questioned her a bit further about her exact problem and she said that she finds it easy to remember definitions on paper, but it's hard to know what they sound like or distinguish very small differences. I will look for any CDs and I've asked her to ask her private music teacher for advice when she next sees them (Monday)z

BackforGood Wed 18-Jan-17 20:21:31

My dd's flute and piano teachers dragged her through her GCSE when the school let her down. I think they will be best placed to help her practice the bits she isn't confident in. If she's doing Grade 5 Theory, then she's got nothing to worry about in GCSE.

serendipitytb Wed 18-Jan-17 22:57:17

GCSE music (Edexcel if I remember correctly) aural is rather obtuse ibut that might reflect the teaching rather than the syllabus. I had two DCs that did music at that level, one the GCSE and the other the CIE IGCSE. Both were equally competent musicians (grade 8 before year 9) and had Grade 5 plus theory behind them. For the DC doing the IGCSE, the listening part seemed to be a test of acquisition of aural skills and was fine. The DC doing GCSE said the details asked for had to be regurgitated rather than worked out through aural skills and therefore ended up learning realms of stuff to do it. I never found out if the problem was the way that DC had been taught or the exam itself.

Autumnsky Thu 19-Jan-17 10:02:38

If OP's DD is in Y11, she must already have done her performance(30% of the total score) and composition(30%), it is strange that the teacher don't let her know her score. DS1 already knew his. If she has done well on this two, then listening(25%) is not so big a part. But teacher should be practicing with them using past papers, I think her listening will improve in the coming months.

busymummy3 Thu 19-Jan-17 12:36:06

My Dd is in Y9 and looking at options.
Loves Music and has passed with distinction ABRSM Grade 3 and Grade 4 in Singing.
She does not however play an instrument .
Can she do GCSE Music or is it only for those who play instruments ?

Autumnsky Thu 19-Jan-17 14:31:16

You should ask your DD's musical teacher. The music exam has 60% course work( half is composition and half is performance), then creative play(15%) and listening(25%). So listening and performance should be fine with singing. For composition and creative play, I am not sure about it. I guess you can still composition with the help of singing, yes, do talk to the musical teacher.

ifonly4 Thu 19-Jan-17 14:31:57

As long as she is willing to perform, ie sing, then yes. There was a girl at DD's school who hadn't had lessons but could and was willing to sing - she got an A!

QueenofQuirkiness Mon 23-Jan-17 18:37:28

Thanks for all your help, DD got 51/80 in her mock Listening which she tells me is just an A* hmm apparently the grade boundaries are very low?
Regardless, she still wants to pull her mark up and she says she's made an appointment with the teacher to discuss her compositions and recorded performance

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