Big school sound

18th September 1998 at 01:00
A DELIGHTFUL introduction to secondary school music finds its way to the Diary which we will only accept as a spoof with the greatest reluctance.

"Welcome to music at High Street School!" it begins. "Many of you will have experienced percussion at your primary school. Here, it is very much the same, except that instead of the music lady visiting you once a week with a percussion trolley, you visit a music man once a week and the percussion trolley is already there.

"This is because you are at big school now. Instead of Miss Smith fumbling around with a glockenspiel, trying to teach music when she is really a maths teacher, all the teachers teaching you are specialists in their areas of study!

"Instead of singing The Wheels On The Bus Go Round And Round each week, you will be exposed to the canon of high art music; be drawn into the magical vaults of aesthetic creativity; be transported through the emotional revelation of sonic interaction; and invited to bang a tambourine over it all. In week three, we do the crotchet.

"In addition to percussion and the crotchet, we do tests. You will be invited to take a leap of imagination, to encapsulate in musical sound an experience, an emotion or feeling, and to realise this through the sensitivity of performance to a sympathetic audience.

"And then the teacher will give you a mark out of 10, collate it across the year, norm-reference your work and publish the results in the local paper. But the important thing here is the personal and social development you have experienced. Remember that aesthetic experience cannot be quantified.

"If you have any questions, or are unsure about whether to specialise in tambourine or shaker, feel free to ask any of the music staff."

It is signed R. Supwood, Head of Music.

A touch of cynicism there, Chris Peirce, head of music at Nicholas Breakspear School in St Albans? But thanks anyway.

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