Music Classes at Claro

It has been extensively documented that learning about music, as well as leaning to play a musical instrument, can provide many personal, social and cross-curricular benefits for students of any age. For example, learning and practicing music has been proven to help students to develop creative problem solving skills which transcend the subject music - thus also helping students with regards to other subjects, especially languages and mathematics.

Leaning to play an instrument has been shown to stimulate many areas of the brain, from muscle memory to the highest cognitive and creative activity. It can also help to foster personal discipline and pride in oneself. Musical participation and learning can also have many therapeutic benefits such as helping those suffering from anxiety and depression amongst others. Understanding how music works helps students to develop a lifelong appreciation for music.

Music has throughout human history been practiced by every culture and creed know to have existed. However, the central importance that real music making has always played in our shared human condition is often lost in the fast-paced modern world.

The main focus of this after school music program will therefore be to introduce the students to amazing and diverse music in a fun and stimulating way, while hopefully also fostering a love and understanding of good quality music. Furthermore, the program will also aim to fully and expertly accommodate any student who may have more ambitious musical goals such as mastering a specific instrument, and/or gaining recognized accreditation in music theory (which can be a stepping stone to further music studies).     

 

What the program can offer

  • Junior and Senior classes

  • Music for relaxation and stimulation

  • Music Appreciation

  • Music history including a brief overview of all major styles and periods in art history: Western Art Music (+/- 1400 AD – present), Jazz, Rock, and other popular and folk music styles.

  • Ear Training (aural)

  • Group rhythmic activities and sight singing

  • Music theory: melody writing, harmony, formal analysis, etc.  

  • General music knowledge including reading and writing music

  • Introduction to band instruments (guitar, bass, keyboard, percussion and drums)

  • Overview of orchestral instruments

 

Instruments and equipment

The following is a list of instruments and equipment available

 

  • 4x Acoustic guitars

  • 1x Bass guitar

  • 1x Synthesizer (Keyboard)

  • 1x Drum kit

  • Various other percussive instruments and home-made instruments

  • 1x vocal microphone

  • 1x Bass guitar amplifier (90 watts)

  • 2x Guitar amplifiers (10 and 25 watts)

  • Cables

  • 2x music stands

 

Books and Study Materials

Personally designed class notes including music theory and music history, a workbook with ledger lines for music notation and theoretical exercises, sheet music which may be required for performance pieces, vocal music, as well as hundreds of jazz charts.     

 

Performance Pieces

The students will be able to select from a wide variety of works which they can choose as performance pieces. These can be learned for both individual and ensemble performance. If the students’ progress well, and are feeling confident to do so, we can also organize a small concert at the end of the year. 

 

Ensembles [Optional according to demand]

  • Vocal ensemble (with accompaniment)

  • Guitar ensemble (with acoustic, electric and bass guitars)

  • Jazz band

  • Rock band

  • Percussion ensemble

  • Mixed vocal-instrumental ensemble

 

Class and ensemble times [To be confirmed]

  • General Music Class: Weekday afternoons: one hour senior and junior class twice per week.

  • Ensembles: once per week, each for an hour. 

  • Individual instrumental lessons: Late afternoons

 

Instrument focus

Individual guitar and bass guitar lessons can be arranged with myself for the late afternoons. 

 

Approach

  • Music for relaxation and inspiration

 

  • Audiation as an approach

 

[From The Gordon Institute of musical learning] -Audiation is the foundation of musicianship. It takes place when we hear and comprehend music for which the sound is no longer or may never have been present. One may audiate when listening to music, performing from notation, playing “by ear,” improvising, composing, or notating music is the foundation of musicianship. Through development of audiation students learn to understand music. Understanding is the foundation of music appreciation, the ultimate goal of music teaching.

 

  • Orff Instruments, and learning to make their own home-made instruments.

 

  • The Kodaly Approach. Includes a child development approach. [From Wikipedia]

The Kodály method uses a child-developmental approach to sequence, introducing skills according to the capabilities of the child (Choksy 1999:10). New concepts are introduced beginning with what is easiest for the child and progressing to the more difficult (Landis 1972:56). Children are first introduced to musical concepts through experiences such as listening, singing, or movement (Wheeler 1985:12). It is only after the child becomes familiar with a concept that he or she learns how to notate it (Landis 1972:46), similar to methods like Suzuki and Simply Music. Concepts are constantly reviewed and reinforced through games, movement, songs, and exercises (58).

 

  • The Elements of Music are the foundations or building blocks of music and include aspects of time such as rhythm and meter, and aspects of pitch such as melody, arrangement and harmony, and also the character or timbre of a musical sound. By combining these elements we get more complex elements such as texture, formal structure and style.

  • Movable Do Solfage:  “…during sight-singing, scale degrees are sung using corresponding syllable names (do, re, mi, fa, so, la, and ti). The syllables show function within the key and the relationships between pitches, not absolute pitch.”

 

Assessment and Accreditation

Although the main aim of this program will be to develop an appreciation for music while having fun, I will assess the students with regards to the general music classes and if they are taking individual lessons. This assessment will be constructive and encouraging in nature rather than undue pressure and criticism. However I will provide a much stricter assessment model to those students that wish to gain official accreditation, which will be in line with the stated outcomes of the respective grades.

Students wishing to gain accreditation for their musical progress can be registered for any of the following exams, which usually are in June and November at an outside venue in Pretoria such as at the UNISA campus. I can help students to register, and prepare for these levels. There are both practical exams and theory exams. Students wishing to study music at tertiary level will need UNISA grade 3 theory (or equivalent) for entry into the BA Music program and UNISA grade 5 theory for entry into the Bachelors of music programs (BMus), while the required practical levels can be as high as grade 8 for the latter.

Students can write more than one level exams at the same sitting but it should be noted that new music students will need several years’ preparation before they can attain the level of accreditation required for university entrance. All three programs shown below are internationally recognized, so a student that is able to attain the higher grades in the ABRSM program for instance will even be accredited to study music overseas.    

 

  • UNISA: theory and practical grades 1 – 8.

  • Associated Board of the Royal School of Music: theory and practical grades 1 – 8.

  • Trinity College of London: “Rock and Pop” program, grades 1 – 8.