How did the three chosen aspects become apparent for BASIS?
What is BASIS?
Instrumental methodology for beginning wind players at the Royal Conservatory The Hague; learning to play an instrument in the context of a broadly-based musical development.
‘Powerful sources of enrichment spring from music. We must spare no effort to have them opened for as many people as possible’ Z. Kodály1
Pupils sing songs to text, using solmisation or rhythm language, and using the absolute names of the notes while using their hands as a stave and pointing out the notes.
In translating this to their instruments, they also sing the songs, using the absolute names of the notes (instrument names) while applying the necessary fingering. In the second year they also sing from stick notation, but have also made their own note-based materials and composed their own songs. In the third year they can also sing at site from the stave.
All songs are investigated on an instrument, sung to text, using solmisation and in the rhythm language. The songs are learned where possible with clapping games and other forms of movement …….. The songs are sung in the BMO (Broadly-based Musical Development) A lessons, but also in the instrumental lessons. In BMO B lessons, singing in combination with instrumental ensemble playing is again performed.
Some of the observer’s reflections:
What did you think of this lesson?
Enjoyable! Mieke challenged her pupil by constantly introducing variety (alternating between playing, singing – in various languages, and notation, etc) and by keeping up a lively pace. She did all this with relatively little material. Merten was being challenged, but in a nice way. Mieke asked a lot of the pupil but did that in a relaxed manner, sometimes with humour. Merten was therefore focused on the lesson, but also had the chance to laugh now and again.
What did you notice in particular?
The constant change in activity. It was really good to see that Mieke allowed the pupil to experience a short piece of music in all its facets..
In what way did it become apparent that there was sufficient opportunity to take risks and be allowed to make mistakes?
-While Merten played a scale (one that was difficult for him at that point), Mieke allowed him time to find a note whenever he wasn’t sure. While Merten was having a think, Mieke helped him by playing the right note now and again. He took his time to think and after Mieke had played the note 3 times, Merten found the note himself.
2 PPP principle
In the way stated in section 1, all the material for instrumental playing is first prepared in an auditive way. The songs they can sing from the BMO-A lesson are then investigated on their instruments, sometimes during the lesson and sometimes at home. As soon as pupils can play a certain amount of repertoire on their instruments, the instrumental development is prepared by letting them investigate a known tune in another key. In that way they automatically discover a note/fingering which they do not yet know but which is necessary in order to play the tune. They then Present the new fingering and do a Practice session with this fingering in other known tunes in a different key or they do a Practice playing the second voices and ostinatos. Once pupils can sing and play the repertoire and do everything else involved, they have experienced as many facets as possible; this is the ‘Present’ stage of notation. This is followed by a Practice stage for notation by exercising with flashcards, stick notation, stave notation and writing notation themselves.
In what way were there opportunities to change roles (leading, following, accompanying)
-Merten wrote in his own way how he was able to practise a new fingering at home. Mieke read that through and said: ‘I understand what you’ve written. Can you understand it if I write it down like this?’ And Mieke noted the same fingering, but in another way.
- Last week Merten had been asked to write down the notes of the song Epo i tai tai. Mieke played the notes exactly as Merten had written them so he could hear what was incorrect. Then
Merten played the song from memory, without looking at the music. In that way he could more easily discover which notes he had written incorrectly.
3 Polyphonic skills
Pupils play familiar repertoire and the teacher plays in canon or in reverse or adds a second voice. Pupils understand what’s happening (listening and playing).
Pupils play together in canon or in reverse, with a second voice or a bass voice. Pupils play from flashcards and listen to what another pupil has on his card, at the same time playing from their own card.
Pupils play familiar repertoire and walk according to their heartbeat. Pupils play on the heartbeat and walk the familiar repertoire.
Pupils play familiar repertoire with an ostinato (self composed or existing) and listen to and identify what this ostinato is.
1 The observations show that in both stages of Broader Musical Development (BMO A and B) as well as in the instrumental lessons, there is visible enjoyment, as well as concentration and involvement with each other. The observer said that the pupil was challenged in good way. A great deal was demanded of him but in a relaxed manner, so that the pupil remained focused.
2 The film clips demonstrate that there was considerable variation in activity; the music was approached in different ways. The observer also mentioned the lively pace of changing from singing (in various languages), to playing and to notation.
3 The observer mentioned that there was opportunity to switch roles because the pupil was asked to write down notes and then to compare that with the way the teacher would do it. There was also sufficient opportunity to be able to make mistakes in searching for the right fingering. In this way the pupil gets the chance to take control of his own learning process.