Delivering Music At Every Level

 Schools and colleges across the UK are facing big changes with big budget cuts, GCSE and A level specifications made “more challenging” and the English Baccalaureate squeezing Arts provision. For both levels two (GCSE) and three (A levels), students now face memory tests that could cover anything the students have studied over the two-year course. Revision and memory skills have to be a part of subject delivery. Music staff notation has been given a higher status, giving an advantage to students learning orchestral instruments. Some of these skills might not have been covered during key stage three.

As musicians and teachers, we all know the side-effects music study can have on students – better focus, self-discipline, improved brain function/fluency etc. But with less money to spend in schools, are the Arts facing a greater proportion of cuts? In Music, students need to get familiar with staff notation quickly, in performing, listening and composing contexts. Students need to be armed with relevant vocabulary and use it in the right places in longer written exam answers. With an hour – or less – a week to study music, pressures to prove progress in twenty minutes, literacy and numeracy targets, assessment for learning and other whole-school initiatives, adequate preparation for GCSE Music is difficult, especially as 80%-85% students do not enter the GCSE exam.

MusicFirst is a 21st Century solution to these issues. Combining a powerful classroom management system dedicated to music, hundreds of lesson resources, and cloud-based music software, the MusicFirst Online Classroom provides a paperless classroom giving teachers more time to deliver music in their school. Students can use it wherever they can connect to the Internet on PC or Mac – some parts of MusicFirst even have apps to run on tablets and smartphones. Tasks can be set as a homework using the same software and the same interface as in school. Differentiation is built into the software. There’s a huge range of topics, each with tests that can be as long or short as you wish. Resources are built in, written by expert Music teachers. Tests automatically mark themselves so effective and exportable data is instantly collated. You can organise classes or year groups and publish exercises direct to the relevant students. Collaborative “Calendar” and “Grade book” sections help your music staff stay organised.

In MusicFirst:

-          “Noteflight” is a high quality music staff notation writer/reader, featuring a “Connect” section, allowing students and teachers to use text next to their music. Pinpointed teacher feedback can be linked to specific sections of the music, or a student can analyse a music example from the teacher using the same tools.

-          Using “Auralia” or “Musition”, students can practise both written and aural skills used for the listening exams. This could be set as a daily exercise for home or school.

-          “O-Generator” teach students composition and performance skills.

-          “Soundation” is a multi-track recording studio with built in synthesisers and audio processing tools.

-          “Sight Reading Factory” generates music for the performer to play/sing back spontaneously.

-          “PracticeFirst” displays written music then listens to the performer’s pitch and timing, giving a real-time assessment of their accuracy.

-          “Focus on Sound” is an “interactive dictionary” but so much more, featuring built in teaching, learning and assessment tools – from basic instrument recognition to A level listening and analysis exercises.

With instant feedback, automatic record keeping and personalised learning planning, you will enable more musical learning and better attainment grades for Music in your school.

MusicFirst gives the teacher and the student a set of extremely powerful tools at a very reasonable price point, costing significantly less than you might expect for something of such high quality. You can release your students’ learning from the confines of the classroom and give opportunities for learning that are only possible through high quality, accurately targeted software programs. Turbo-charge your Music department – MusicFirst and watch your students fly…

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