[Page started 23 September 2016]

Note that S3 Performing may sometimes start with ‘late S2’ projects like Group Performing 2.

Music depends on performing. Without performers, there’d be no music, and music must have started with spontaneous performance (aka improvisation) before anyone ever ‘composed’ anything! All that other stuff like listening concepts is just there to explain what’s going on anyway and help us understand it, which is why it’s now called ‘Understanding Music’. So developing your performing skills is both vital to your progression as a musician and central to school music courses as well as the most obvious way to get actively involved in music in the first place. But there’s a clear difference now (at S3 and above) from S1–2 because we’re asking you to choose two performing studies from the variety of earlier years and/or outside music lessons. These could be things we can teach and learn in class like:

  • Tuned percussion
  • Keyboard/Piano
  • Guitar
  • Drums
  • Bass guitar
  • Voice

Or things you’re learning outside the class like:

Or a mixture of both.

Where pupils are learning something outside the class, we’ll look for ways to integrate that where possible. If it’s an instrument we can also offer here like piano or guitar, we’ll try to find work that’s complementary to your outside pieces (so no confusion with two teachers saying different things about the same music!), and will always discuss pieces for exams at S4 and above with your teacher. Sometimes we’ll even encourage a third in-class choice for pupils who’re already learning two instruments to a good standard outside.

Another difference from S1–2 is that we’ll be using far more different materials, books etc. as you start concentrating on your particular choices at S3 and above. Now of course everyone has their own ideas about music and what they’d like to play and we’ll try to take that into account where possible, but we also ask you to understand that we offer you tried and tested progressive materials to help you develop the necessary skills to play anything including your own choices, and working at what we give you will help you to do this! We have a good range of suitable progressive materials (most with supporting demos/backing tracks on CD or computer) including:

  • 2012–2018/2006–2012 Rockschool pieces (and some earlier ones) for guitar, bass and drums at Debut and Grade 1–5 levels
  • Live Series for the same instruments at a similar range of standards
  • Blues You Can Use, Total Rock Guitar and Guitar Aerobics
  • Complete Guitar Player series and other more acoustically-oriented guitar books/music
  • Rockschool Popular Piano at Debut and Grades 1–5
  • ABRSM Jazz Piano at Grades 1–5
  • Trinity Guildhall Electronic Keyboard at Initial and Grade 1–5 levels
  • Complete Keyboard Player series and other keyboard books/music
  • ABRSM, Trinity Guildhall and other graded tuned percussion music
  • And much else collected over the years for all these instruments and voice

Now, you can’t expect to develop serious skills without putting in more time than we can give you in a class that also needs to accommodate composing and listening/understanding requirements. So out-of-class practice/homework also becomes vital, but class time is still important for consulting with the teacher, asking for help/demos and learning how to practise effectively (as opposed to just play!) by working through difficulties in an effective manner. As well as learning to keep working at your own thing while the teacher’s helping others with theirs…

Lastly, concentrating on individual things doesn’t mean that group performing is out, so we can still sometimes do group performing, and working hard on your separate skills should also mean we’re able to tackle more advanced and interesting group performances when we do! :-)