Monday 10 October 2011

Give It A Rest ... Please?

The observant amongst you may have spotted reference to my currently touring secondary school open evenings for the smaller Puddlecote (the boy). One aspect that struck me this year, and last (for the girl), is that every music department we have visited is a massive departure from those of my own schooldays.

We had posters of the four orchestral groups on the wall; all were required to learn to play at least the recorder; the music teacher was a bit odd, wore flares, and swayed backwards and forwards with an almost ecstatic grin on his face while playing the piano; and the closest we got to technology was a wood housed record player on which we were treated to The Dambusters Theme and a bit of The Pretenders at Christmas if we were lucky.

In short, it was naff and pretty useless for our future development.

The classrooms are far more impressive now, with computerised keyboards complete with sampling and mixing software displayed on monitors in all schools we have visited.

I've also noticed, though - because it would be bloody difficult to miss unless blindfolded and wearing ear defenders - that, without exception, every school has a complete set of steel drums which they seem extremely proud of since it has been the vigorously played centrepiece of every music department we have seen. How a makeshift caribbean instrument has been transformed into the must-have educational priority in quiet suburbia is anyone's guess.

But then again, it does follow the primary school pattern, especially after reading a letter the girl brought home today.

Apparently, they are going to be having an 'immersion day' where they will spend all the time available learning about Brazilian Samba drums, South African Gum Boot, Balinese Gamelan music, and Afro-Latin percussion. It took them just over a month of her attending to roll that one out.

This is being provided by a private company but, it's OK, it'll only cost me £15 because the school is 'partially funding' it.

In short, modern music classes are still irrelevant to future development. They're just more right-on and ideological in being so.

Good grief.


Mark Wadsworth said...

Well, my favourite musical instruments are in fact steel drums and bag pipes, it's just NOISE and I LOVE IT!

But only when played outdoors, it has to be outdoors. It's like AC/DC but without the tricky chord changes.

My third favourite instrument is "coal train going past", that's quite impressive as well.

Anonymous said...

I Think i must have been a bit over exuberant when i was at primary music class,because i was taken off the blocks and put on the Triangle.

Anonymous said...

Presumably, if they're asking you to pay, you have an option.

Remember - "Just Say No" to drums ... :D

Anonymous said...

"In short, modern music classes are still irrelevant to future development. They're just more right-on and ideological in being so."

Grind, grind, grind. Rub, rub, rub. Everything and everywhere, all the time and ceaseless - cultural de-indoctrination, cultural re-indoctrination.

Out with the British, in with "the world".

Getting it all spit shined and ready for when the one-world-leader is set to take-over.

(Out with the normalization of smokers, in with the normalization anti-smokers fits this procedure too BTW, just in case nobody's quite noticed it yet or oh-so-believing otherwise.)

Lysistrata said...

At secondary school in the, er, early 60s, our music teacher used to play orchestral works to us on the record player - I think it was a Hacker with a Garrard SP25 deck - and get us to try and guess the instruments. Her favourite sarcasm? "That, girls, was a piano."

(Had to post this as the sign-in thingie is "Halli" = "Halle Orchestra. Geddit?)

Angry Exile said...

Actually, DP, I'm slightly impressed. I thought you were going to say that music classes had devolved to covering how to use iTunes and not much else.

banned said...

Any other information on the "Education Provider" Private Company, another of Blairs Third Way state funded not-exactly-a-charity?

Dick Puddlecote said...

Anon @ 00:18: Yep, that's the way I see it too.

AE: No, the kids can actually play instruments. OK, we have only seen them operating upturned oil drums so far, but they are playing something. ;)

Here you go, banned.

Anonymous said...

Dick, don't knock the South African Gum Boot dance. It has roots in the African tribal war dances as well as early Hollywood musicals a la Fred Astaire.
cf: Johnny Clegg, Juluka.

Weekend Yachtsman said...

My youngest passed Advanced Higher music (that's the highest level of school exam in Scotland, for those who don't know), and not at the lowest pass-level either, without being able to read music.

This tells us all we need to know about modern "music" education, does it not?

dunhillbabe said...

Have been on the same tour for the last few weeks... I agree the schools 'seem' so much more engaging - artwork, design and tech projects, stuff we used to call 'sewing' on display all over the place(and some of it very good indeed).
Nevertheless, when I got to the geography/science area (they seem to roll subjects one into the other these days) I could not stop myself from grilling the teacher as to the level of brainwashing my daughter *might* be subjected to regarding 'global warming'... I think I am already marked out for the naughty chair ..

subrosa said...

Your music classes at least left an impression Dick or you'd have forgotten all about them.

Weekend Yachtsman, I'm going to look into that one about Advanced Highers not needing the skill of manuscript reading. That's appalling. The changes must have been in the last 15 years or so because until I do know every child who sat Higher Music (not the advanced Higher), was required to have a recognised qualification in at least one instrument.