Orchestral Assembly 2016





Y12 IBDP Setting Up for Their Musical Links Investigation

This past few week were very interesting because actually the new idea came from discussion with the students!

Since we are doing the same in-depth analysis now for each piece we get, we had the students pick their favorite piece from different genres to analyse. Each student will bring in their audio along with their analysis (DRPITTS), and context for the class. They will present these findings to the class and write notes on the board. Next! We will find musical links between the pieces that they have chosen and presented to the class. This way they are revising their analysis, but also hopefully motivated to do it as well

Students did great in their presentations and they are now setting up for their summer writing tasks.

Y12 IBDP Film Music

We now started a new composition task about writing film music (basically programme music but specifically associated with a scene). In the introduction, students watched a few ‘muted’ clips of scenes from popular films and we brainstormed what each student would compose for the film to invoke the feelings of the film. They would then hear the actual music underlying the scene and many students had the ‘aha’ moment where they saw the importance of music where they would not usually notice it. After watching a few different genres of film scenes, they are now asked to find a scene of their choice to write an underscore for.

Here are their finished products:

Y12 Romantic Etudes

As an intro to the etude, we were talking about Lizst and his etudes (study piece). We started the lesson at the piano to explore the technique that the etude is exploring. In this case it was multiple voicing with 2 hands, so the students would try to play the piece and think of the different possibilities of using both hands to play all the parts. In the end, they would watch a video of the performance and discover the techniques that were used.

Y12 Romantic Opera Task

Today we did a group analysis of a piece of music.  For homework students did basic analysis of an aria from La Boheme (Mimi’s), using their music score and the recording on managebac.  During the lesson, they were only allowed to use their notes from home and their homework, and they were given a big poster paper to collaboratively answer the question.  The question is similar to their exam question:

Analyze the excerpt in regards to:

Musical Elements: Including but not limited to dynamics, rhythm, harmony, melody, tonality, instrumentation, texture, tempo

Structure: Give a detail of the structure of the piece, instrument entrances, changes that take place

Context: Put the piece into its cultural/time period context

** All at the same time using proper musical terminology.


The students were split into 3 teams to do one of those categories above.  After 11 minutes of working, they would switch into another section to fill in whatever the other team has missed.  They had control over the music (they can start/stop the track as needed). In the actual IB exam they have 25 minutes individually to do all 3 categories, so this really made them work together to see what they can come up cooperatively.  The end result was great, with a full page of work that they explained to each other afterwards.