Scottish Chamber Orchestra: Masterworks III (my resources)
Essentially, the learners had an incredibly valuable experience working with professional musicians and interacting with a complex piece of contemporary music. The aims of the project, as far as the SCO were concerned, were met. However, I had one more additional aim - to teach the majority of the 'modern' (i.e. 20th Century) musical concepts to my class which would fulfil the requirements of the curriculum.
As stated in my first entry for this project, this would ensure that time is spent effectively in this busy academic year and the learning happening in class is linked meaningfully to the world (contextual learning). The experience of the learners so far was very rich. To reflect this, I wanted to have an assessment activity that could 'capture' this richness. This would therefore be a combined assessment which would touch on all of the outcomes for the understanding music part of the course as well as prepare them for the final examination. The assessment consisted of two sections: firstly, annotating an extract of the score highlighting relevant musical techniques and concepts; secondly, commenting on the social context of the piece and different factors which influenced its composition.
In order to lead up to this assessment I led an activity through a different extract of the same piece which allowed us to discuss and highlight various concepts in the piece. I used the PowerPoint below using the SmartBoard to highlight the concepts in real time and make notes over the score which the learners then used to annotate their own scores.
This led to the assessment well as the learners knew the expectations of assessment thoroughly. Here is a video of what musical material I expect the learners to know from both seen and unseen passages of the score:
After marking and commenting on the assessment I was very pleased as to how well the students responded to this task. I was very pleased to discover that, as well as reviewing the concepts highlighted in the video above, the learners commented very well on the 'social context' of the piece. Many learners had remembered much of the information that the composer herself had given at the concert. This was very encouraging!
In my experience, learners often find the contemporary musical concepts difficult to relate to. However, I am pleased that this piece has engaged them which will allow my learners to really relate to these concepts. I am very excited about teaching these concepts through this stimulus in the future!