I hope everyone is well in the DP Music world. I have just started grading DP Music listening paper for the May 2015 session. I would like to share my thoughts in process while my experiences with the listening paper are fresh. Pragmatically, these recommendations will be more pertinent for DP Music colleagues in the southern hemisphere; northern hemisphere teachers could use these recommendations for their year one DP students.

The depth of the response of a student is of the utmost importance in the written response. In my classroom experiences, I found success when students were able to read, review and assess specific examples of highly detailed responses. At the moment there are minimal sample student responses on the OCC. My next post will include two examples of student responses that can be used in conjunction with the specimen DP Music listening paper currently available on the OCC.

If you already have sample student responses (or are able to generate your own samples), I suggest that you engage students in a dialogue about how much information is sufficient in a ‘excellent’ response. Students need to also understand how to gauge the level of detail needed in an ‘excellent’ response. In my opinion, the degree of detail is contingent of the length and complexity of the musical extract. If the musical extract is 3 minutes 30 seconds, is highly polyphonic, polytonal and contains serialised rhythm, then the student response could be somewhat general and still be considered a ‘good’ to ‘very good’ label on the exam. A musical example that is 1 minute 50 seconds, has two section A & B, has only two lines – melody & harmony, and is tonal would demand a very specific and detailed student response.

Provide students with models of high quality work and engage your students in conversations about the depth of analysis in their work.