When we have reviewed the work we did in Year 8 we have a general introduction to music this year. There is further work on appreciating Nigerian music touching on sound properties, pitch, texture and duration. We play lots of examples of music from Nigerian artists and singers and encourage the students to make presentations on their own favourites. We also explore the terrain of Africa on a map discussing each country’s relevance in the bigger picture. The students are introduced to the countries themselves and develop their knowledge about size, land mass, borders, languages, ethnic groups, economical and political information and resources.
We continue with the topic of theory and accidentals, degree of scales and intervals, the tonic triad and how to use it in music, additional short lines or ledgers above or below the stave, dynamics, time signatures and minim notes as a beat. Time signatures are always an important feature here too as well as clapping the rhythm and the major keys of A, Bb and Eb. This is where the Circle of Fifths comes in with its diagrammatical representation of scales and their corresponding sharps and flats. Some work is done on reading a piano score using both the left and right hands. This is the year when there is serious work done in theory since we need to know who will achieve the level of knowledge which is needed to qualify for IGCSE Music in Year 10. Students will take an exam just before option time in Year 9 so that they and we can decide if they want to pursue this course next year. Their eligibility will, of course, depend on the score they achieve in their theory exam.
We continue with more work on the Baroque Era playing further works of Vivaldi, Handel and Bach but this time introducing a more detailed look at some of the music for example: Bach’s Minuet in G for clavier/piano and highlighting the features of a piece such as this with its three beat rhythm and ordered composition, also mentioning the important fact that the minuet was the dance of the time with information on period costume and manners.
As well as introducing the various past eras in music we go onto more modern music and cover jazz and its contributors. An interesting study of both the people who took part and some of the music which endeared itself to many throughout time. Other musical offerings such as Rhythm and Bass and Pop music are covered as well as individual singers who have made their mark on society.
We encourage students to share their musical tastes with us by bringing in examples of their favourite singers on CD for us all to listen to and appreciate. Of course, this is together with a presentation which the students do outlining the singer’s or performer’s life and their achievements.