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Sweet music of essential guide

Margaret Nesbitt and Frances Wilson welcome an addition to a study package. The Silver Burdett Music: Scottish planning guide 5-14 is an essential book. It should be used with the teachers resource book in planning a work programme with the Silver Burdett Music scheme. The guide covers the entire scheme, books 1-4, and is set out in five parts.

Part one summarises 5-14 expressive arts in music, gives a similar, brief breakdown of the Silver Burdett's "programme of study" format and assures us that the two combine in a happy marriage.

Part two makes up the main body of the book and consists of attainment target charts for each of the four books. The layout uses a song by song approach, with attainment outcomes and strands given for each, in tables, across the page - very useful.

There is also a "conceptskill development" column which could be useful when planning a series of lessons around a particular concept. These tables do illustrate the flexibility of approach one can employ with this scheme.

However, since all four books are covered in these tables, the relevant book number inserted at the top corner of each page, or a colour coding system, would make it easier to pinpoint a song - there are 40 pages to choose from.

The listening skills in books 1, 2, and 3 are covered by recorded music selections and the guide lists the pieces used under the headings: orchestral, synthesisers, piano solo, concert band and other recordings. Teachers are referred to the specific book for more information.

Part three focuses on planning and contains some useful ideas for formulating some blank proformas for time-saving planning. Also included are four photocopiable concept charts, one for each stage. These allow you to tick off which songs or activities have been covered in a concept area, but would have been even more helpful had they been related to a similar layout with the strands. This way, a teacher could see at a glance which areastrand had been missed.

Part four, on assessment, could provide useful starting points for staff discussing their assessment policy in music. Continuous assessment is mentioned as well as the use of the planning guides given earlier to build in appropriate assessment strategies.

Users of Silver Burdett are reminded that the books contain evaluation exercises that focus on listening skills and conceptual understanding.

The final part discusses requirements in time allocation, accommodation, resources, in-service training, instrumental lessons and musical performance and identifies the role of a music co-ordinator for the school - the assistant headteacher is suggested - so that staff and pupils may achieve maximum benefit from the scheme.

Silver Burdett is expensive to put in place and it must be used wisely and well to warrant its purchase. This guide is therefore a welcome addition to the package.

* Margaret Nesbitt is a senior teacher and Frances Wilson is headteacher of Cuiken primary, Penicuik * Silver Burdett Music: Scottish planning guide 5-14. By Roselind Evans. Stanley Thornes Pounds 9.99

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