My way is SO much better than your way

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Teachers in Ontario, Canada experience ‘Find Your Voice’

Today one of our Musical Futures champion teachers received an email sent to her school office. The person who sent it came across as extremely angry about the situation in music education in England and made several personal and inaccurate accusations about Musical Futures and the teachers who use these approaches in their classrooms.

This blog is not an attempt to challenge his assertions, the manner in which the email was written and the lack of accurate facts to underpin his accusations make this unnecessary. However it is symptomatic of a certain “my way is better than your way” culture that seems to be growing in strength within the whole education sector as the tide of reforms and changes take their toll on teachers and school leaders.

In the email, the sender asks teachers to watch a video he has created and ask themselves why they are failing their students to such an extent by following approaches such as Musical Futures stating that

I could teach the lollipop men and women to teach music in schools better than Trinity college can teach fully qualified music teachers.

Here are the two videos that have caused him so much distress. You can make up your own mind about which way is better or perhaps, like us, you feel that there is no ‘best’ way to teach and learn music in our classrooms, rather that we should be grateful for the flexibility to choose an approach that is right for our students and their teachers (for as long as that lasts).

The danger in all of this is that we could lose sight of what should be central to any debate-our children and their musical learning. That’s why we at Musical Futures are committed to open source learning. All our resources and training are free and within our tiny team of part-time freelancers, we do our best to support teachers by email, in person and online with anything they might wish to try. In January we will be releasing an app which is designed to put the human face on Musical Futures, the students, teachers and ideas that are central to the growth and development of the approaches. We don’t do this because we are government funded or because we are ‘sponsored’ by OFSTED. We do it because we want to engage with and support teachers in our schools in the best way that we can. If we have a resource or an idea, we will share it as it happens, if we have it, you have it.

We stand behind our mantra that MF is there to be taken, used, innovated with and shared. But if it’s not for you then don’t do it. As always, now more than ever, Musical Futures calls for unity in the music education sector. Let’s stop encouraging the “my way is better than your way” debate and start working with teachers and students to ensure the survival of music in our schools.

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34 Comments

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34 responses to “My way is SO much better than your way

  1. The issue is that the author of this letter evidently has a different learning objective in mind. Whilst I agree that the video demonstrating his knowledge is very impressive for a 9 year old, his practical application of that knowledge is not apparent. I would much rather my students be involved in practical music making, than spend hours learning all the key signatures!

  2. From the ofsted report into hubs “A small primary school choir sang with reasonable accuracy and good diction. The specialist teacher sang and modelled well. But the pupils were only shown the song words and not the notation. Good opportunities for pupils to see and understand melody shape, rhythm, beat and rests were missed. ” This is one way to integrate these essential skills into MF.

  3. Pingback: Notation and Theory-the never ending debate about music in England’s schools | mrsgowersclasses

  4. It is difficult not to get personal here so I am going to just wade right in. The gentleman who posted the video is clearly passionate, and has also raised some of the same issues on the teaching music website forums. I have no problem being challenged over my pedagogy and welcome debate, but Mr Peck’s modus operandi was rude and unprofessional verging on being unhinged. I would welcome his posting on this blog if he can conduct debate in a way that is more befitting of the professionalism that we all try to uphold.

    Beyond that, if I may deal with his methods of instruction, the evidence presented in the video is not musical… at all. It demonstrates a superb knowledge about (not of) music which should be lauded, but very little about the child’s understanding of how to manipulate sound especially in terms of expression.

    His goals are clearly different as has been mentioned though.

  5. Nats

    Appalling! How dare he contact a school. I can memorise the periodic table, all science equipment and not be able to conduct a single meaningful experiment. I can memorise all the car parts, what goes where but won’t be able to fix one. I can get a Russian dictionary, memorise the words, learn the grammar and won’t be able to converse with a Russian.
    All he has done is teach him rules.
    It is meaningless, pointless and goes against the grain of EVERY musician I know. I learnt most if not all of the theory by making music, experimenting, learning through playing and all the academics I learnt, to a very high level, was always supported with playing.
    This guy is clearly very misguided.
    Shocking beyond belief. Learning isn’t about knowing stuff. It’s about putting your knowledge into action!

  6. A Hughes

    Surely the most important thing a teacher can do is to ignite an interest in and a passion for their subject. The Musical Futures approacht to music education creates a level of enthusiasm and engagement within the classroom that I have not seen in twenty years of teaching.

    Using this approach students learn the difference between Major and Minor chords from playing them and recognising their different sounds. The theory naturally follows.

  7. I have been teaching music in some form or another for over 30 years and I still question how much theory is necessary and at what point, etc. But, the first video above is absolutely shocking to me in its intention to front load the teaching of facts before the actually music-making. After the initial shock wore off, I found the video downright boring. I wasn’t impressed by it, as was so obviously the intent of the author. I actually felt sad for the young boy who was meant to feel proud of his accomplishments… because at the end what did he have? Not much.
    It reminded me of when my brother could name all of the dinosaurs and categorize them as carnivores or herbivores at the age of 4 years. It was kind of quirky fun to have him recite these for friends and family, but nothing beyond that. Needless to say he did not grow up to be a palaeontologist!
    Perhaps the teacher in the video feels that now this boy would be ready to learn an instrument and make some music after committing all of these facts to memory. I have had enough experience to know that this kind of introduction to the rules of music can actually be paralyzing for students. Students can become overwhelmed by the rules and too afraid of making mistakes to enjoy creating music. True musical understanding comes from exploring and manipulating the concepts and elements of music – not simply learning the notation (“yep – done that”). It’s about feeling and knowing – not labelling. It starts with listening and moving to music, and exploring sounds, and making music. When we truly understand a concept – then it’s worth finding a name for it.

  8. Gary Peck

    Hi everyone Gary Here,

    It seems I have hit a sore nerve.

    First of all let me tell you that for the last 4 years I have been telling the education department and Ofsted that there is a problem with teaching music in schools.

    In order to recvtify the problem I have developed a music course that is designed to teach music in schools correctly.

    Now Abigail pointed out that for the last 10 years Musical Furures has improved music in schools.

    If that is the case then why did Mr Gove order the Henley review and why the National Plan for Music.

    Mr Gove put out a call for evidence in order to rectify the problem.

    So If Musical Futures is so fantastic at teaching music in schools then why is there a problem.

    Well the same goes for me – You could ask – if the music course I have developed is so great and can rectify the problem then why is the education department not interested.

    The answer to this question is plain and simple. School ministers (MP’s) are being told lies.

    Those employed by the Education department are lying to MP’s – it is that simple.

    Outrageous you might think – Hospitals lie to cover up deaths and falsify figures to meet targets. We have schools covering up things as well. So do City and Town Councils all telling lies and doctoring documents.

    We now have a Flgship Academy being investigated by the Police.

    In Wolverhampton we had councillor Phil Page saying music taught in schools is excellent – Now who told him that knows full well it is not true.

    Councillor Phil Page has been lied to.

    Now yesterday we had this.

    Music hubs fail to improve music education for all.
    Here is the link I suggest you read it:

    http://www.ofsted.gov.uk/news/music-hubs-fail-improve-music-education-for-all-0

    Now I know for a fact and can actually prove that Ofsted are telling the truth.

    Sir Michael Wilshaw knows full well that my music course can rectify the problem of teaching music in schools. The video I posted on YouTube proves this.
    Yet he fails to act. I did receive an email from his secretary. I can show it to you if you want. It wassent as a PDF file.

    So I am going to refer this matter yet again to my MP.

    From your comment about practical music making and everything else is pure nonsense.

    The other video you missed out is the Morpeth video.
    Here is the link:

    I suggest you watch this video. Ofsted posted a link to this video.

    Look at what it contains – A child being taught to play the bass guitar upside down was just one fault can you find any others.

    Considering this was filmed in a school and is supposed to show excellent music teaching just baffles me.

    So please watch it then comment.

    The school I taught music at was a brand new school. It did not have any musical instruments.

    If it had, in 3 months every child I was teaching would have been able to read music and play 2 songs on guitar and Keyboard.

    So by the end of year 6 they would know how everything works.

    All schools try to teach children composition. Yet they do not know anything about Key Signatures or simple basic music theory.

    Anyone can go buy a guitar and a music book and in a week be able to learn a few chords and throw a 3 chord bash together and be quite pleased they can play something that is recognisable.

    You do not need school music teachers to do that.

    What you need school music teachers for is to teach music correctly.

    The correct way to hold and play the guitar.
    How chords are made
    How songs are created using chords
    How to read sheet music and TAB guitar
    Chord picking exercises

    The most important tool used in music is the circle of 5ths. Beethoven, Mozart, Bach all used the circle of 5ths to create masterpieces.

    They all understood without it music would not make any sense.

    How do you think modern composers get all their chord progressions from. They know how music works and use it to their best ability.

    Children from poor areas whose parents cannot afford to spend an average of £8,000 on private music tuition will never know any of this.

    School children can now learn in months what usually takes 6 – 10 years to learn.

    Can any of you or any school music teacher achieve this?

    A primary head teacher said “You do know I am a fully qualified music teacher” When I said I can get every year 6 pupil up to Grade 5 music theory in 7 -10 music lessons.

    So why tell me this? She believes this is impossible she thinks it cannot be done.

    Now she has watched the video did she email me or contact me like she said she would – NO!

    She has a moral obligation to ensure that every subject taught in her school is taught correctly.

    Yes all of this is in the music curriculum before you say it is not.

    I am not causing the problems it is those who teach music in schools.

    You all know everything about music but do not know how to teach it correctly.

    I have rectified the problem and for some reason school music teachers think just because I do not posses any music or teaching qualifications I do not know what I am talking about and take offence.

    Yet it is Ofsted doing the complaining. I am simply rectifying the problem of teaching music in schools.

    I would be glad to go head to head with Ofsted and prove I can quite easily get a whole year 6 class able to construct the Major Scale in every Key a single 2 hour music lesson.

    This would then pave the way to learning guitar and Keyboards correctly.

    To me Music is the easiest subject to teach in schools and I cannot understand why there is a problem.

    I am gobsmacked at what children are being taught.

    Music has to be taught in a chronological order.

    Also I hoped Abigail watched the 3 video of the Musical Alphabet.

    2 videos made by what must be fully qualified payed school music teachers, the other by me who is supposed to be talking out of my backside.

    Any way please watch the videos then tell me if I am wrong. Look for children being taught incorrectly. Like holding the guitar flat, One finger jobby to play the Keyboard, and pay special attention to the Bass guitar being played upside down.

    Any mention of music theory, chord progressions, circle of 5ths, Tab Guitar.
    Just emphasis on Composing, Listening and performing.

    Whoever designed the curriculum does not have clue how to teach music. No wonder parents pay for private music tuition.

    They just like Ofsted know full well music taught in schools is a joke.

    I am trying to rectify the problem and will succeed. I will not have Wolverhampton Head of music basically call me a liar and school music experts lie to school ministers.

    hope Abigail posts the videos of the Musical Alphabet for you to watch.

    If the video I posted of how to construct the Musical alphabet is wrong in any way then please tell me. I will not be offended if it is it will need to be corrected – plain and simple

    I think it pathetic that £300m has been spent on the Henley Review and the National Plan for music and Ofsted know full well nothing has been achieved. Hence their latest press release.

    So what now.

    Will this pave the way so Mr Gove can now award contracts to outside organisations to teach music in schools.

    I have said this all along and why do you think my music course will not be accepted.

    Is this the reason why those who advise Mr Gove’s team have been ordered to lie to them.

    A whole year 6 class up to Grade 5 music theory – could this wreck Mr Gove’s plan to start privateising school music lessons.

    Well you just keep up your good work and ensure music is not taught correctly.
    The only real losers are the children.

    Gary

    I look forward to your thoughts and comments

    • Gary, I have no issue with your method of teaching music and should I wish all my students to be able to recite a list of tones and semi tones and the cycle of 5ths then I would certainly take a closer look at your method as it seems to be incredibly successful in achieving this.

      However, I can’t for the life of me imagine why we would wish this to be the outcome of a music education for our children when there are so much more benefits to be had from them playing and creating music together and learning to understand and appreciate it from the inside out. I would be very interested in your comments on my ideas about this posted here: http://mrsgowersclasses.wordpress.com/2013/11/15/notation-and-theory-the-never-ending-debate-about-music-in-englands-schools/

      although I imagine you will dismiss them as “pure nonsense”.

      You will see from the comments here that you have extremely experienced and competent music teachers responding kindly and with thought to your posts. Perhaps you could take this into account when you do the same.

    • Nathalie

      Gary…there is so much I want to say but I need to breathe, count to 10 and then I’ll respond in a professional manner.

      For now….you would not last 5 mins in an inner city secondary school.
      And in the mean time, whilst I gather my thoughts, why don’t you read
      http://www.ofsted.gov.uk/resources/music-schools-wider-still-and-wider with some real evidence of the problems in music education.

    • Miss M

      This argument is ridiculous. Gary and MF clearly just prioritise very different things in musical education – Gary music theory and MF practical music making and relevance to students. Both have a place in music education, and surely both are needed for a true well-rounded education.

      Which method is BETTER is a pointless argument to be having, as I think MF teachers have pointed out. It depends entirely on the class, school, area, student! Whilst Gary has clearly found a great method of teaching theory, surely this is only appropriate to those who have an understanding of music in the first place, rather than a child who doesn’t play an instrument or sing, or have any experience in practical music making. Can the 9-year-old in the video sing the pentatonic scale as well as name it? I would be surprised. Could the child listen to a piece and say the reason it sounds sad is because it uses notes from minor modes? If not then what is the point in knowing this theory at all?

      Playing the guitar in a music class taught by a MF teacher may also not be particularly beneficial to a child’s musical education, if they aren’t being taught what chords are just how to play them. But they are probably reaping other benefits such as social skills, communication, team-work, the list goes on.

      I wouldn’t say I was entirely supportive of every element of MF but I am sure that if it really is a case of one approach or the other, which it shouldn’t be, I would certainly side with MF. At least the children are engaged and making music, and therefore will grow up to see music as fun and social, rather than boring and mathematical. The 9-year-old who can recite every key probably won’t be able to do so by the time he leaves school, but the children learning with the MF method will carry forward the skills they’ve learnt into every day life.

      We’re not talking about educating great musicians or children who want to go on to pursue a career in music, as this is only the small minority. We need to face facts that music is not a subject like science or maths and we should nurture and love it for this reason.

      And finally, Gary, slagging off MF in such a rude way is just going to turn more people against your programme. We’re all trying to improve music education in schools after all, not score points against each other.

  9. Gary Peck

    Gary Here again.

    Just a few pointer.

    I am not making innacurate accusations but pointing out incorrect teaching methods.

    Music Teacher – Children do not spend hours working out Key Signatures all of this can quite simply be learned in 15 minutes. A year 4 pupil can be taught to do this from memory in 15 minutes. Therefore resulting in it being done within 2 minutes. — Not hours.

    Watch the videos on YouTube of Key Signatures – I cannot find one that teaches the correct method correctly. If you can find one please send me the link.

    Martin – The child is only in year 5 yet he and his mates know so much. When they enter secondary education it is here that secondary school music teachers can put all of the latest state of art technology and facilities to great use.Compare what this child will be able to do entering secondary education with that of what year 11 BTEC music students are taught.

    I know what is taught in schools and I have pointed out to Wolverhampton city councillors and had pupils with 3 years worth of music lessons admit to them they do not know or have been taught any simple basic music theory yet they no doubt will get a A in music. In fact they know nothing.

    I am not making this up – this is fact and can quite easily be proved.

    Do not beleive me contact Cllr Ian Angus Wolverhampton City Council.

    He was going mad and insisted I contact the education department.

    So call him.

    Please can you all comment on your thoughts about £300m being spent on Music Hubs and Ofsteds comments about music hubs.

    To me this is totally disgusting and proves that I have been correct from the beginning and my music course could have stopped hundreds of millions of £££’s from being wasted on a project that those at the education department knew would not work.

    If any of you think I am correct then contact the Education Select Committee and make a complaint.
    Gary

  10. Ben

    I am not sure what hell-bent mission you are on Gary but I had a music teacher like you in my early days of school and all I can say is that I hated music. Quite honestly it was dead boring. Memorising theoretical concepts and being able to repeat them back by rote endlessly is not going to make someone a ‘musician.’ Sure, you might know a lot of wonderful things that ‘in theory’ could help you to as a musician, yes, theory is important and can assist you in your music making but in no way does theory make you a musician. Being a musician is about emotion, feel, a sense of creativity and having an ‘ear’ for making music. Some of the greatest classical pieces are rife with great musical theory, yet, it sounds terrible and is completely hideous to listen to, in fact, One Direction’s pop stylings would be kinder to the ear. I can see where you are coming from and obviously they way you teach works for you and your students, however, the majority of students in modern public schools just want to have fun, jam with their mates, learn to play an instrument and make music… FOR FUN. Not everyone aims to be a professional session musician, music educator or for that fact music theorist. Theory is one thing, practice is everything. Musical Futures provides an entry point for ALL students to engage them in music making and ignite a musical fire within them, theory does not get kids excited about music, music gets kids excited about music. Kind regards, Ben. Musical Futures Teacher.

  11. A Hughes

    You could always choose a pilot class, teach them using both methods and then survey them to see which method would inspire more students to continue studying music….

    Having the technical knowledge is great but what would the point be if students were too switched off to continue to study music to GCSE or beyond?

  12. .Compare what this child will be able to do entering secondary education with that of what year 11 BTEC music students are taught.”

    Hi Gary,

    “The child is only in year 5 yet he and his mates know so much.”

    You have not really addressed my point, the knowledge demonstrated is knowledge about music, and this is excellent. Is he though able to perform with expression? Do you spend any time in the seven to ten lessons of the course actually making music?

    “When they enter secondary education it is here that secondary school music teachers can put all of the latest state of art technology and facilities to great use.”

    I am very lucky that this is a good description of the facilities in my secondary school, but we are the exception and by no means the rule. In many secondary schools music departments are still desperately under-equipped. Can you describe what this “great use” is, am I right in thinking that you are suggesting that they can then go onto actually making music, in which case if this is the “great use” of music in schools, why not teach your theory based course in a way which includes practical music making?

    “Compare what this child will be able to do entering secondary education with that of what year 11 BTEC music students are taught.”

    First I will nail my colours to the mast, I do not like the Level 2 BTEC. The Level 3 is much better. That said, BTEC is a vocational course, like any BTEC therefore it is less grounded in theory and more in adult world scenarios. Other than theory grade exams, when would a student be expected to recite their knowledge of music theory? Looking at the epistemology of music, I think knowing how, is more important than knowing about and so music theory helps to underpin (i.e. is important but also subservient to) making music, do you agree? You might say that your students know “how to” construct a major scale and clearly they do, but this is not really “know how” until they understand also the importance of the major scale for the Western tradition,can internalise it’s sound, can manipulate it in their heads to improvise melodies, can perform it on an instrument in a way that is technically correct, can identify its use in music that is unfamiliar to them etc.

    Also your claim in the video, that music is easy to learn only once a child can construct a major scale in every key, well, yes it certainly helps with chord construction, harmonic analysis etc. but tell that to an Indonesian child who has mastered the Gamelan.

  13. Gary Peck

    hi Abigail

    Gary here,

    I am no longer going to be drawn into a big issue. It seems that it is Gary V the education department, Ofsted and every school music teacher in the world.

    A bit of David & Goliath

    I am not backing down or giving in. I thanks to Ofsted and their latest comments now have a stronger chance of being listened to.

    In June 2012 I posted a video on YouTube. Part of the music course is contained in the video and anyone who wants to see if the music course I have developed works can try it out. The video is 34 minutes long.

    Take note of the comment I posted at 30.36 in the film.

    Here is the link:

    I have done everything the education department and LEA has asked me to do when I first contacted them.

    I went and taught at a local junior school. I supplied everything and even had days off work without pay to help the school ensure the children were taught music correctly.

    What really upset me was the fact that those responsible for ensuring music taught in schools was taught to it’s best potential were not bothered and must have been lying to senior management.

    This is wrong and I will not accept this.

    I now as before will pursue this through my MP Emma Reynolds.

    I will no longer in any way contribute to upsetting school music teachers.

    I am angry at the way I have been treated by those employed by the education department.

    Ofsted have caused all of these problems. Sir Michael Wilshaw will not in any way try to rectify the problem.

    This totally baffles me. Yet they go on about raising standards.

    I now have a gut feeling that many school music teachers must be questioning just what are they doing wrong and why so much bad publicity.

    On the other hand we have politicians and city councillors saying music taught in schools is excellent.

    So who do you believe?

    I feel that if lies were not told and the decency to accept the truth and try and find out what is going wrong were properly investigated. Even at the start of Ofsted’s claims “Music taught in schools is inadequate” none of this would be happening.

    I am a honest law abiding citizen who has identified a problem and come up with a solution to rectify a school problem.

    So why is all of this now happening.

    A school teachers asked me if I could help 6th form pupils in their media studies. I did.

    If I saw anyone in need of urgent help I would assist

    This has made me become a nasty person and I do apologise for all the comments I have made that have upset you.

    I have emailed, Tristram Hunt, Mr Gove, Ofsted and my MP Emma Reynolds and suggested we see if we can in the best interest of the nation all work together and solve all these problems of teaching Theory, Notation and anything else that Ofsted music inspectors feel school music teachers might be doing wrong.

    I have suggested that the Education select committee, 2 ofsted music inspectors, 2 secondary school music teachers and myself and see if we can correct what is going wrong.

    If they feel this is not appropiate then I suggest you get a team of school music teachers together and do it yourself.

    Any more of Ofsted and Mr Gove making any more damaging claims about the poor standard of music that is being taught in schools will be far more damaging and than he can imagine.

    Mr Gove put out a call for evidence. I submitted material and some proposals and was totally ignored.

    This is unacceptable. This is enclosed in annexe 5 of the Henley Review. No mention of my name.

    The education department told me this matter is now closed.

    Not for me it is not.

    I have a strong feeling that nearly every school music teacher was taught music privately or a specialised music teacher at a school taught them.

    You have all been to Uni completed a music degree and all the other requirements to be a fully qualified music teacher in a school.

    Yet I do not posses any of that and was allowed to teach music in a junior school after passing a CRB check.

    I think it is because that I have taught myself music I have been able to put things together and noticed that teaching music works in a chronological order.

    Whereas if you are being taught everything from the aspect of being taught on a piano certain things take years to learn before it actually makes any sense.

    For instance you are taught certain musical notes and learn to read & play music on a simple basis for many years before you actually start learning the theory then gone on to more advanced complicated music sheets.

    Is this why music is considered very hard to learn?

    I do apologise and wish you all the best

    Gary Peck

    • Miss M

      Gary,

      What exactly are you achieving or trying to achieve by stating that ‘music in schools is a joke’? This statement is a joke.

      Music in schools is often excellent, and often not. This depends on the school, the teacher, and more than anything the student. Music teachers have in many ways a more challenging job than teachers of almost any subject due to the fact that by key stage 3 the range of ability a teacher can find themselves having to teach can be enormous – they can be faced with a child with 3 grade 8s in different instruments, in the same class as a child who struggles to hear, sing or play even the simplest of rhythms and melodies. No teacher would ever be asked to teach a child barely able to add 5 and 5 in the same class as someone who can quickly calculate logarithms. But in music the teacher is faced with this challenge. Whilst teaching a child who has years of practical music experience, grade 5 on an instrument and a desire to move on with their musical studies the ‘musical alphabet’ and the major and minor scale construction could be incredibly beneficial to this particular child, it would be absolutely meaningless to a child who’s only music experience is singing the occasional hymn in a school assembly.

      You make out that everyone is against you and you seem not to be listening to anyone’s points of defending yourself except to say that ‘you know you’re right and you won’t back down’. How mature. I just feel sorry for the children you are teaching this stuff to, who may go on to think that music is this boring and meaningless. It’s not fair on them. Music education is moving on from the days of memorising lists of facts, and you need to accept this.

      Music education is never going to be perfect, or work for every student. However, it can be engaging and enjoyable for every student and if anyone is going to achieve this it will be Musical Futures.

      Finally, MF is grounded on the idea of teachers learning from teachers. It is tried and tested. Teachers are listening to each other and supporting each other through what is not an easy task. I suggest you stop making ridiculous claims and criticisms and listen and learn from some of the excellent music teaching happening every day throughout the country.

  14. A Hughes

    Lionel Bart could neither read nor write music and wrote one of the most celebrated musicals of recent times. Endless pop stars have had brilliant careers having written their own songs never having heard of the circle of fifths or semitones. Music education MUST move with the times and appeal to students if it is to survive.

  15. Gary Peck

    Gary Here,
    I have recieved a reply from Ofsted they are saying they cannot comment or endorse any course or teaching methods.

    I have asked them to help rectify the problem.

    Yet again Raising Standards and Improving Lives is just a gimmick to fool the public into believing they are doing a great job.

    Some of you are going on about can the child actually make or play any music.

    The answer to that is No but the reason for this is he does not have a guitar or keyboard neither does the school he attends.

    If the school had I would:

    1. have taught him the chords of D – A & E = correctly.

    (Remember when teaching chords on the guitar the thumb and it’s correct positioning is very important)

    2.. I would then have him practising strumming to practise beats

    3. I would then have him playing 12 bar blues in the Key of D.

    (I would explain the chord progressions for this from the circle of 5ths using 1 -4 -5)

    4. Once he could do this I would then record him.

    5. I would then have him work out the Pentatonic Minor scale in the Key of D.

    6. I would then show him how the notes of this scale are broken down into shapes on the guitar. I would then have him practising shape 3 until he was confident in knowing it off by heart.

    7. I would then show him how riffs using these shapes – then get him to make his own up by himself.

    8. I would then have him improvise over the 12 bar blues track he recorded.

    9. Once he was playing confidently I would then have the child transpose the 12 bar blues into theKey of C using the circle of 5ths and do the same again.

    How would you teach a child to play guitar?

  16. A Hughes

    Certainly not hypothetically!

  17. Today I will be teaching year 8 the chords of A, D and E. I have 8 guitars so the class is split into groups, 8 on guitar, some singing, some on keyboards. Each week they rotate. The guitar group will be led by some older BTEC students and they will be playing these along to 3 Little Birds to give the chords some context. Every group will have a recording of the song and will initially play along with this so that they learn to hear where the chords change and copy appropriate strum patterns for the reggae genre. At the end of the lesson we will play the song together as a class and reflect on the learning.

  18. Pingback: Summary of discussion about notation, theory and supporting classroom teachers! | musicalfuturesblog

  19. Pingback: Advice to a College Music Student | SoshiTech

  20. gary peck

    Hi Gary here ~ You still have that video posted of a child being taught to play the bass guitar upside down. Is this an inaccurate statement? Or am I seeing things. As for my way, it seems none of you really understand how music works. This is why none of you cannot teach it corectly. Ofsted have seen the video I posted and now want this level of teaching taught in schools. the problem is that they (Ofsted)
    like all of you do not know how to teach it corectly.

  21. gary peck

    There is a reason why the chords A ~ D ~ E are taught first on guitar. It is not to teach 3 little birds.
    As for Btec music I cannot believe what is taught. Shocking.

  22. Are you actually saying that we don’t teach students the guitar so that they can play songs?

  23. Nitpicker

    I’ve just wasted minutes of my life trying to find the bit where a bass guitar is being played upside down. The red bass the teacher is playing at 03.57 is clearly the right way up; is there another bit of bass playing I’ve missed?

  24. Ben

    Gary, you seem to be missing the point here… 90% of students that enter a state school music room do not wish to be professional session musicians, nor do they really care about knowing all there is to know about music theory. All most students care about is learning to play an instrument to some level that allows them to jam with mates, play songs in a way that is recogniseable, or, a the very least an arrangement that suits their needs, feel or mood. Music is so much bigger than theory. Theory has a place, yes, I agree but not separately to application. Theory, in direct conjunction with application on whichever instrument a student chooses to play, has context, meaning and purpose. Without a purpose theory is merely theory.

    Please don’t be so narrow minded and arrogant to tell us that we are all wrong and that you are right, you are not. Music learning is personal and a completely subjective endeavour that should be driven by the needs of the students. Some students love learning theory and can use this to play instruments, some cannot play and all they have is theory, some students learn better in a kinesthetic manner, some are visual, some hate learning music full stop and need a lot of encouragement to do so, but most of all they just want to have fun and play/learn about music that they like and that relates to them (Something absent from many music rooms in state schools). This is what qualified teachers deal with every day in schools. There is no one right or wrong approach to teaching music and to state that there is merely naive. Every student that walks into a classroom responds differently and requires their own approach to learning, you cannot realistically teach with one approach and expect to reach every child, it is not a reality. Now lay off the music teachers of the UK, because they are the ones actually working with the greatest majority of students from all walks of life every day and doing their best to cater for the vast array of learning styles and personalities that enter their classrooms. Kind regards.

  25. Nitpicker

    Ah, found it in the other video. That is pretty weird.

  26. Gary Peck

    Mrs G – The reason you teach A – D – E chords on the guitar is because your students need to know how music works. Why 3 chords? Why are they the 1 – 4 – 5 chord progression of the circle of 5ths (Major Scale) in the Key of A.
    Why use a 12 bar blues? Why does it work? Why does the bass riff fit?
    Why does the pentatonic minor or Blues scale in the Key of A work when used in conjunction with it. (Improvisation)
    This is a great learning curve far better than teaching a child to play a 3 chord bash never knowing how or why it is created using music theory.
    Then get them to transpose it into another Key using the circle of 5ths.

    This is the nuts and bolts of how music works. This is what Ofsted want taught in schools now they have seen my video.

    Where do you think Andrew Lloyd Webber gets his chords from and why they are all in a Key.
    Not like the chap at the Karaoke the other night. The song was in the Key of D and he was singing in the Key of A.

    If everyone was taught music correctly in school the X-Factor would be boring. No one to laugh at.

    When a musician has a jam together with other musicians they do not ask what chords they are playing they ask what Key are they playing in.

    Nitpicker – You have to be quick it is there. But if you watch this video I made more than 12 months ago I have slowed it down. You can clearly see the bass guitar being played upside down at 10:31 in the video. Look out for bad teaching methods. I have shown them clearly.

    Please watch it in full then tell me if I am wrong.

    Most children do not care about Maths, English & Science but school music teachers are required to teach these subjects correctly.
    The same goes for music.

    Anyone who has been classiocally trained or been taught privatly knows full well they teach you to play the instrument first and learning basic notatation at the same time.

    It can now be 3 years before you are start learning theory. In schools you only have 3 years of music lessons and you know full well these children weill learn very little.

    Anyone can go out buy a keyboard and guitar and in a few days with the help of a music book be lamping out a recognisable tune.

    There are hundreds of musicians out there playing in pubs, bands who know everything but do not have a clue how they know.

    Would it not be easier to show a guitarist the pentatonic and blues scale and the associated shapes and how they work and why in a few simple music lessons than 3 years of banging their head up a wall spending hundreds of hours practising.

    You are the music teacher you are supposed to know how music works and why. If you teach music in a correct chronological order just like it is supposed to be taught Ofsted would not be making all these comments.

    I know and have identified just what is going wrong. None of you have. You all believe you are teaching music correctly and from what I have found out and investigated I cannot believe what is being taught in schools.

    Do any of you teach the Musical Alphabet correctly?
    Then watch this:

    Do any of you teach your pupils to construct the Major Scale in every Key
    correctly?
    Then watch this:

    I have taught music in a school and on both occassions had every child able to construct the Major Scale in every Key.

    This has never been done before and Heads of Music think this feat is impossible in just 2 music lessons.

    If you want Ofsted off your case teach this music course I have developed.

    Once the children can make sense of Theory and Notation then start teaching them to play musical instruments correctly. It will remove years from the learning process and every child will get an A in music.

    If you want the course you can have it to teach in schools. Just ask.

    If I were you I would email Ofsted direct and ask them just what it is they want taught in schools.

    It is them doing the moaning and posting the videos on YouTube of outstanding music teaching then when they see the video I have posted and I then pulled them up for incorrect teaching methods witnessed by Ofsted music inspectors.

    Do not have a go at me. I have done nothing wrong only told the truth.

    I am on your side and want the problem rectified. So do a lot of teachers by the emails I get.

    Music Hubs do not help school music teachers. This money is for them not school music teachers to help with teaching.

    £300m wasted – Ofsted proved it.

    Any problems email Mr Gove – I do, he works for me and if he thinks he knows better and thinks he can get away with it he can think again.

    If I was a paid music teacher teaching in a school the only way I would let them do a music inspection is if they passed one of my tests.

    From what I have seen on the videos posted on YouTube they do not have a clue how to teach music.

    Watch the video I posted

    Gary

  27. gary peck

    Nitpicker — Glad you found it. I find this method of teaching to be unacceptable especially in a school. NOT WEIRD

    So what I say is innacurate – please watch the video – then comment.

    You cannot tell every I one have made false comments when what I have stated is true and can be clearly seen by everyone. Any school music teacher who has been taught to play the piano correctly knows you do not teach child to use 1 finger.

    Is this the correct way to teach music in schools?

    I have challenged Ofsted & Mr Gove MP to rectify the way musical instruments are taught to be played in schools.

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