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Music - Some notes on dialogue

What it's all about

What's the answer to the pupil who says "I've finished"? It's not to set them more work. It might keep them busy, but that's not particularly inspiring and it's never great for musical development, writes Anthony Anderson.

Music offers more creative ways to differentiate between pupils. One is by using extension.

Assessment is at the centre of this approach, as the teacher engages pupils in dialogue. Rather than rushing to say what we think, spending time uncovering what the pupil is aiming at leads to better outcomes. This is where becoming a musical sleuth has real advantages as we seek to uncover the music that pupils are trying to create.

Set them a challenge: "If you could compose anything, what would it be? What are you most pleased with in your work? How could you make your music better?"

Such questions provide valuable starting points, identify the musical aspects that they are most pleased with - always good for building on - and usually reveal untapped creative ideas.

I don't always get this right. The rush to meet exam deadlines and my attempts to offer the best possible musical education to a class full of diverse talents can lead to cutting corners, time and dialogue. And, sadly, it is always the music that suffers.

Allowing pupils to follow creative tangents, take risks and not fit into a one-size-fits-all lesson leads to satisfying music-making. It builds musical experiences that endure, and which have lasting echoes.

What else?

Get creative juices flowing with QCDA_Resources' primary composition resources. Inspire classical compositions with MissBagpipes' introduction to the musical era.

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