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New Music Syllabus for GCSE exams

Vic Smith 14 May 15 - 09:33 AM
Jim Carroll 14 May 15 - 09:51 AM
Will Fly 14 May 15 - 10:04 AM
CupOfTea 14 May 15 - 03:35 PM
GUEST,Stim 14 May 15 - 06:32 PM
Vic Smith 15 May 15 - 06:46 AM
GUEST,Reynard 15 May 15 - 10:08 AM
GUEST 15 May 15 - 10:47 AM
Jack Campin 15 May 15 - 11:40 AM
GUEST,punkfolkrocker 15 May 15 - 12:10 PM
GUEST 15 May 15 - 02:44 PM
Jack Campin 15 May 15 - 03:06 PM
GUEST 15 May 15 - 03:19 PM
GUEST,leeneia 16 May 15 - 10:46 AM
Mo the caller 17 May 15 - 09:47 AM
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Subject: New Music Syllabus for GCSE exams
From: Vic Smith
Date: 14 May 15 - 09:33 AM

I was reading a short piece in today's The Guardian about the new AQA GCSE Music Syllabus. It is on their website in a rather more extended version than appears in the paper. The sentence that caught my eye was this one:-
For "traditional music", students will study songs from Santana's 17th album, Supernatural, which won nine Grammy awards after its release in 1999.

So the rising generation of young music students are going to be taught that "traditional music" is to be found on a best-selling album of pleasant, but unremarkable Latin-tinged middle of the road rock music with the songs and music written by the band members and not what a dictionary would call a "traditional" item in sight. All the thousands of tune session musicians all over these islands might like to know that the tunes you are playing need a new genre definition.

I am reminded again of Lewis Caroll's Through the Looking Glass and what he tells us of Humpty-Dumpty's conversation with Alice:-
"When I use a word,' Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone, 'it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.'

'The question is,' said Alice, 'whether you can make words mean so many different things.'

'The question is,' said Humpty Dumpty, 'which is to be master — that's all."

Right! That's my rant over, but I dare say others may want to contribute.


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Subject: RE: New Music Syllabus for GCSE exams
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 14 May 15 - 09:51 AM

More grist for the "anything goes" crowd's mill
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: New Music Syllabus for GCSE exams
From: Will Fly
Date: 14 May 15 - 10:04 AM

If you'd care to write to AQA and give them a resounding slap on the wrist, as I did this morning, the email address is:

music@aqa.org.uk

It probably won't do much good, but it would be interesting to know why they chose to ignore hundreds of years of wonderful music...


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Subject: RE: New Music Syllabus for GCSE exams
From: CupOfTea
Date: 14 May 15 - 03:35 PM

Wow.

I've heard similar things in people talking about music, but then I live in the home of the Rock and Roll hall of Fame (ghastly ugly building by a snotty architect)

Syllabus, I understand - but being a Yank, I don't know what sort of body is giving these exams. Could you explain it, please, some for those over the pond, so we can join in and rant with you?

Joanne in Cleveland
(knows that "trad" tends to be pre 1900 and/or out of copyright 'round these here parts)


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Subject: RE: New Music Syllabus for GCSE exams
From: GUEST,Stim
Date: 14 May 15 - 06:32 PM

The Syllabus in question is actually in the draft stages, and still being developed, so any well considered and knowledgeable input would likely be welcome. I am not familiar with this Syllabus, but I took advantage of the fact that the document in question is available on line, and found that the traditional music area of study is in fact new--the description of it, and it's purpose is here. It is significantly different than what would have occurred to us here at Mudcat--

3.1.5 Area of study 3: Traditional music
For the purpose of this specification traditional music is defined as music that takes influences from traditional sources including folk music and reinterprets them in a
contemporary style, and traditional music from traditional sources and cultures that is performed as intended by the composer.


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Subject: RE: New Music Syllabus for GCSE exams
From: Vic Smith
Date: 15 May 15 - 06:46 AM

traditional music from traditional sources and cultures that is performed as intended by the composer.

.... and here's me believing for the more that fifty years that I have been involved that traditional music is passed mostly unchanged between generations of informal players, usually without notation, and played mostly by ear, in the vast majority of cases without the name of the composer being known.
Silly me!


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Subject: RE: New Music Syllabus for GCSE exams
From: GUEST,Reynard
Date: 15 May 15 - 10:08 AM

How bizarre, Santana is not really more "traditional" than the Beatles, they took plenty of influence from "traditional" music like the Blues and old music hall songs.

I hope they have a rethink!


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Subject: RE: New Music Syllabus for GCSE exams
From: GUEST
Date: 15 May 15 - 10:47 AM

These days I doubt there is any music genre that does not have traces of influence from traditional music no matter how one defines it. Much like the human genome project and finding out that everyone is related if we look back far enough. There is nothing sacrosanct about music other than the music itself. Our likes or dislikes do not disturb the reality that history is a continuum, not a snapshot. The problem with oral traditions is that sooner or later someone has a different idea or perspective to add, and the oral part of the tradition becomes as true to itself as the paper it's printed on.


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Subject: RE: New Music Syllabus for GCSE exams
From: Jack Campin
Date: 15 May 15 - 11:40 AM

I doubt there is any music genre that does not have traces of influence from traditional music no matter how one defines it

That's not the point. It's pretty easy to locate music which has less influences from the commercial music world than Santana, and it's getting easier. Surely the point of including something labelled "traditional music" in a syllabus is to show that not all musical creative processes take place in a studio or a stadium stage.


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Subject: RE: New Music Syllabus for GCSE exams
From: GUEST,punkfolkrocker
Date: 15 May 15 - 12:10 PM

hmmmm.. maybe I should sit this exam...

I've got a 20 odd year old overdrive pedal
with a "How to get a 'Santana Sound' setting" in the instruction sheet...???😜


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Subject: RE: New Music Syllabus for GCSE exams
From: GUEST
Date: 15 May 15 - 02:44 PM

"It's pretty easy to locate music which has less influences from the commercial music world than Santana, and it's getting easier."

So direct them to Steeleye.


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Subject: RE: New Music Syllabus for GCSE exams
From: Jack Campin
Date: 15 May 15 - 03:06 PM

If you directed them to The Full English, Tobar an Dualchais, ITMA and the Library of Congress American Memory site they could do a lot better for free.


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Subject: RE: New Music Syllabus for GCSE exams
From: GUEST
Date: 15 May 15 - 03:19 PM

Then do that, Jack.


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Subject: RE: New Music Syllabus for GCSE exams
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 16 May 15 - 10:46 AM

From what I've observed, the following pieces come up over and over. If the kids can identify these, they should pass the exam.

Villikins and his Dinah
Speed the Plough (whatever that is)
Greensleeves
Scarborough Fair
Ikla Moor baht Tat (sp)


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Subject: RE: New Music Syllabus for GCSE exams
From: Mo the caller
Date: 17 May 15 - 09:47 AM

I suppose the problem is how to -
1)devise a course that can be taught from a text book by musicians who are not specialists in 'our' kind of music
2)set questions with answers that can be marked from a crib sheet.

If this is only a small part of the exam you can't expect experts teaching and marking, so if you invite more wide-ranging discussion the student might know more than them.

Good grief, we can't even agree among ourselves.

Maybe the whole attempt is as ludicrous as quiz questions which ask for the words of a nursery rhyme (as if there was only one version).


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