The Music School at Flora Stevenson
The Music School pupils in Flora Stevenson Primary School will spend the majority of their school week in a main stream mixed ability class.
In addition to their weekly class music provision Music School pupils will have around two half hour periods a day of specialist music. This will include individual instrumental lessons, supervised practice and accompaniment plus small group sessions for theory, aural and general musicianship.
Choral, orchestral and other ensemble work take place both within and outwith the school day.
A Music School pupil’s working day can be quite long but it would be unusual for any musical activities to extend beyond 4.30pm.
After participating in the specialist music programme provided by the City of Edinburgh Music School at Flora Stevenson Primary School, our students are expected to continue their education at Broughton where they continue in the music school and retain their instrumental teachers and their Director and Assistant Director of Music.
Primary Music School Timetable
The Primary Music School lessons are timetabled so that wherever possible the pupils do not miss core class teaching time.
Generally over the course of a week and within the school day, a music school student will have:
- 2 half hour piano lessons
- 2 half hour lessons on their other instrument
- 2 half hour supervised practice sessions, one being with accompaniment where appropriate
- 1 half hour theory lesson
- 1 half hour aural and musicianship lesson
In addition to these lessons there will also be:
- 1 half hour samba band lunchtime rehearsal (primary 5-7)
- 1 half hour chamber group lunchtime rehearsal (selected pupils)
- 20 minute choir rehearsal before school (all music school pupils)
- 1 hour string orchestra rehearsal after school (selected music school and main stream pupils)
Brief History of the Music School
The City of Edinburgh Music School (originally The Lothian Specialist Music Unit) was opened in 1980.
The 1940’s huts at the rear of Flora Stevenson Primary School were converted into the Primary Section of the Music School.
In 2009 the new building that we occupy today was opened. Although a self-contained building we are now joined by a corridor to the main Flora Stevenson building.
We are a Steinway School of Excellence and the building includes nine Steinway pianos, one large recital room, two ensemble rooms and five practice rooms, all of which are sound-proofed.
- Primary Christmas and Summer Recitals – all pupils perform solos on both instruments where appropriate, plus ensemble performances.
- Piano solo performances at every Flora Stevenson Friday assembly. Pupils will be chosen by the Assistant Director as and when they have a piece ready that requires a performance opportunity.
- Primary Outreach Concerts – Visits at least once a year to other primary schools. Solo and ensemble performances.
- Music School Open Day – all pupils involved in solo performances, choir, samba band and chamber music.
- City of Edinburgh Council’s Resonate Series of Concerts in the Queens Hall – solo/ensemble performance in one of the concerts.
- Flora Stevenson International Day – chamber music, samba band and solo performances.
- Flora Stevenson Scottish Week – solo and ensemble performances.
- Flora Stevenson Christmas Service – solo/ensemble performances.
- Music School Twilight Concerts – at Broughton High. Primary solo/ensemble performances as decided by the instrumental teacher.
- Broughton High School Christmas and Spring/Summer Concerts – string orchestra members.
- Edinburgh Competition Festival – entries by instrumental teacher recommendation. Age and Stage appropriate.
- National Youth Orchestra of Scotland (junior orchestra) – pupils are encouraged to audition by their instrumental teacher. Age and stage appropriate.
Entry for Associated Board Exams is encouraged where appropriate. As a general guide the pupils will be aiming for grade five standard (equivalent to the practical requirement for Advanced Higher Music) by the time they leave primary seven. Many of the music school pupils will achieve levels that are well in advance of this.Although not an exam the Music School holds individual annual assessments early in March for all music school pupils on each of their instruments. This is not a pass or fail situation but it does provide a benchmark for the progress that each pupil has achieved over the course of a year.
The Primary Music School follows a tracking system for instrumental lessons. The tracking is filled in by the instrumental teacher at each lesson and is collated at the end of each month by the music school secretary.
Annual Music School Reports are issued in June along with the main school reports.
Music School Parents’ Evenings are held in October and March to coincide with The Flora Stevenson main school Parents’ Evenings.
Aural and Theory Tests are held at the end of the Autumn Term and the start of the Summer Term in order to track progression.
Theory of Music – pupils come to the Music School at different stages in their theory studies. They work through the associated board system of grades as is age and stage appropriate, aiming to complete grade 5 by primary 7 or at the earliest opportunity.
Aural Training – contains a mixture of Kodaly and aural work that is linked to the associated board grade exam requirements that the pupil is working towards. Once a week in small groups, pupils develop their aural awareness through a wide variety of participatory activities.
Rhythm – beating time, note length recognition, time signatures, imitative clapping, rhythmic inventing and dictation.
Pitch – Interval recognition, cadences, triads, melodic imitation, sight-singing and melodic dictation. Singing of canons to develop harmonic awareness.
Talking about/describing music – Articulation, tonality, dynamic range, tempo and period style.
Experiences & Outcomes
A Log Book of all performances and the performers response to their experience is kept and up-dated throughout the academic year.
i-pads are used in supervised practice sessions and ensemble rehearsals to discuss aspects of performance and technique.
Rob (P6 – S6) “The Music School changed my life”
Alasdair (P3 – S6) “Do everything you can!”
Lucy (P3 – P7) “It’s fun and you make new friends”
Emily (P4 – S4) “Such a friendly atmosphere”
Josie (P6) “It’s an exciting experience”
Mia (P5 – S3) “I made lots of friends, not just from my year group but from all the other years as well. It’s hard work but it really pays off!”