This post concerns students’ abilities to generate responses with the appropriate levels of depth when discussing the prescribed works.
Using the approaches to learning skill – thinking – we can identify two skill descriptors that should be developed throughout the two years of the DP Music course:
1. Apply skills and knowledge in unfamiliar situations
2. Analyse complex concepts and projects into their constituent parts and synthesize them to create new understanding
Question three of the listening paper invites students to compare and contrast the two prescribed works. Within that compare and contrast framework, the specific direction of question three is variable depending on the year of the exam. Students need to have the skills to unpack the question, analyse the music and synthesize their argument as the specific ‘situation’ – the question – is unfamiliar.
When students present their musical understanding in their written response, they need to understand the level of depth that is necessary to fully respond to the question. As a teacher, one way to prepare students for this understanding of depth is to provide sample responses for students that have varying degrees of specificity. For example, a teacher could use the wording of a previous exam with the current prescribed works:
With reference to the scores, compare and contrast at least three passages from each of these works that illustrate distinctive use of instrumental colour
Students could work together to generate their own responses. After students share their thinking, the teacher would invite students to generate three sample responses: poor, average and very good. The teacher would have one or two samples to discuss as a full group.
Through discussions, the teacher would guide students to understand the level of depth required in a ‘very good’ response.