A STUDENT'S GUIDE TO AS MUSIC FOR THE OCR SPECIFICATION. By Paul Terry, Chris BatChelor and David Bowman. pound;16.
A STUDENT'S GUIDE TO AS MUSIC FOR THE EDEXCEL SPECIFICATION. By Paul Terry and David Bowman. pound;20.
Available from TES Direct pound;20.
These pragmatic publications aim to help students achieve higher grades in AS music by discussing the main elements within each course and focusing on the areas of study set for 2001-04.
Sensible advice, correlated to each specification, is given on performing, composing and essay-writing, and no doubt readers will hang on every word since Terry and Bowman are experienced music examiners.
Each volume is well illustrated with music examples, many taken from the respective set works and sample essay. It's a pity that glossaries are not included in each ase (the Edexcel's listing of technical and other terms is particularly useful).
In the OCRguide, Chris Batchelor brings real expertise to the important jazz element. (Without Batchelor, Terry and Bowman deal much less authoritatively with the blues in their Edexcel volume, appearing to believe, for example, that some, rather than all, blues chords are by implication dominant sevenths.) In an attempt to engage student readers, Terry and Bowman are sometimes prone to the kind of verbal padding that they advise students against in their essay-writing, and also to some unsustainable generalisations (Beethoven's entire third symphony sounds "heroic" while the seventh symphony, again in its entirety, "makes us want to get up and dance").
The three guides contain much that is of value and they will prove a boon for music teachers and students faced with the extra demands imposed by the new AS-levels.