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The general pattern in Flora Stevenson Primary School is that a music school student will spend the majority of the school week in a mixed-ability class. Class work will include any music for which the whole class is timetabled. In addition to this, around two half-hour periods per day will be allocated for specialist music. This will include individual instrumental lessons and practice plus small group sessions for theory, aural and general musicianship. Choral, orchestral and other kinds of ensemble rehearsal take place both within and outwith the school day. Therefore, a student'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 at Flora Stevenson Primary School, our students are expected to continue their education at Broughton, where they will retain their instrumental teachers.
In consultation with students and parents, time for specialist music is created by extraction from selected subjects either wholly or partially for the year. We may, for example, decide to extract completely from one subject for one year or attend only one out of two lessons for another subject in the week. All of this is negotiable and no two Music School timetables will be the same. The aim is to set aside approximately a quarter of the school week for music, including all individual and small group tuition. As in Flora Stevenson Primary School, other ensemble rehearsals happen outwith the normal school day.
All students study English, mathematics, a modern language and a science. Music School students choose a further four out of a possible total of eight other subjects, one of which will be music. Great care and planning is given to the choice of courses in S3 and S4 to ensure a balanced curriculum whilst giving enough time to specialist music. The total timetable allocation for music including Standard Grade music is approximately a quarter of the school week.
Music School students usually sit National 5 music in S3, progressing immediately to Higher in S4. This is to enable the students more choices appropriate to their needs in S5 and S6. For example, a Music School student may wish to study for Advanced Higher music in S5, leaving S6 to concentrate on auditions for colleges and college Diplomas. These may be academic diplomas in musicology, teaching or composition - or practical, instrumental ones.
There is a good deal of variation in the time allocation for music at this stage, according to the career intentions of the individual student. A normal pattern for a student in S5 or S6 would be to sit Advanced Higher music plus two other subjects. By S6, a well-qualified student, intent upon a music course beyond school, could be spending 50 per cent or more of the school week studying music.
All music students tend to get involved in music making out of school as well as in school. They are expected to take part in the network of ensembles within The City of Edinburgh and beyond.
Music students are in every way full members of their respective schools. The welfare of Music School students is the concern of the Headteacher and staff and they are subject to the same pastoral care, through class teachers and guidance staff, as any other student. They are also subject to the normal rules and administrative procedures of the school.
In accepting a student into The Music School, The City of Edinburgh Council is making a major commitment to resources, both in material terms and in terms of the dedication of the specialist teachers involved.
If the School is to be of maximum benefit to its students this commitment must be matched by that of students and parents. This guide is intended to help parents play their part in the process.
It is expected that students will attend for the complete school year except for unavoidable reasons such as illness. Parents are asked not to make family holiday arrangements during term time.
In the case of absence the normal school procedure will apply, but in addition, parents are asked to notify The Music School as early as possible. With prior knowledge the schedule of visiting teachers can often be rearranged to make the best use of time in school.
Performing is an important aspect of musical training and we try to provide as much performing experience as possible. Concert dates are usually known and published well in advance. Occasionally an invitation to perform will arrive at short notice.
In all reasonable circumstances we do expect that students will be available to take part in concerts as required. To avoid possible conflicts of interest it is important to know of any musical commitment outwith The Music School either regular or occasional, which a student wishes to undertake. The Director of The Music School or the Primary Music Specialist should be consulted about any possible performances (especially of a solo nature) and auditions.
Some practice time is provided in school but more must be done at home. Parents are asked to give all possible help in seeing that opportunity for serious, undisturbed practice is available at home. Instrumental teachers are happy to advise on the organisation of practice time. Parents of younger students are encouraged to attend some instrumental lessons so that they are better prepared to supervise practice at home.
Students will be expected to provide much of their own music,The City of Edinburgh Music School finances generally being used for ensemble rather than solo work.
Please note that privately-owned instruments are not covered by any Council insurance. Instruments owned by The City of Edinburgh Council should of course be treated with the utmost care whilst on loan. It is wise to discuss with our instrumental specialists any proposed purchase of an instrument.
Music is a physically-demanding activity and parents should ensure a good diet and adequate physical exercise. A selection of good sporting activities is wise in order to avoid the kind of injury which could impede musical progress for a long time. In the case of even minor injuries make sure that the doctor is aware of the implications for a practising musician. If serious discomfort arises as a direct result of instrumental playing, seek advice. Practice is hard work but it should not hurt.
Parents will be aware of a child’s progress through formal processes such as the regular school report and informal communication whenever appropriate. Students’ progress is constantly monitored and we are happy to discuss such matters with parents at any time. Appointments to see any of the music staff can easily be made by contacting the Director of The Music School or the Assistant Director.
The first year of any student’s time at The Music School should be viewed as a probationary period. If there are serious doubts on any side about a student’s future at The Music School they should be discussed fully by all parties concerned. Such discussions should normally take place during the spring term and no student should be withdrawn from the scheme other than at the end of the school year, due notice having been given.
All instruments and all styles of music are considered equally.
A preliminary audition can be arranged through the Director of The Music School at any time during the academic year. On the basis of this informal meeting advice will be given on whether or not to proceed further.
Those short-listed for a final audition, will be called in February, March or April for assessment by a panel of highly-renowned musicians from both within and outwith the School. All instruments and all styles of music are considered equally. Over the years students have successfully secured places in The Music School with their performances on a wide variety of instruments such as drum kit, electric guitar, bagpipes and recorder along with standard orchestral instruments.
The audition is a straightforward 15-minute performance of music of the candidate’s own choice plus a variety of other possibilities such as aural tests, scales, sightreading and improvising as appropriate.The whole audition normally lasts 30 minutes.
The panel is aware of the widely differing backgrounds of the applicants and is looking much more for potential ability than for present attainment. For this reason it is not possible to prescribe a level of performance required for entry at any stage. The technical skill of a young primary student may be of little significance in the selection. On the other hand it would be unrealistic to consider seriously an S4 or S5 student who is not already well on the way to the technical accomplishment expected by one of our major colleges of music. There is no set number of places to be allocated annually. There are many musical children for whom a specialist education is not necessarily the best course.
The City of Edinburgh Council will offer places only to those children who, in the opinion of the panel, have a musical talent and personal motivation of such a degree as to justify a highly-specialised form of education. If you are unsure of suitability for application, please feel welcome to telephone the Director of The Music School for an informal discussion.
In accepting a student into The Music School, The City of Edinburgh Council is making a major commitment to resources, and if the School is to be of maximum benefit to its students this commitment must be matched by that of students and parents. This guide is intended to help parents play their part in the process.
A preliminary audition can be arranged through the Director of The Music School at any time during the academic year. On the basis of this informal meeting advice will be given on whether or not to proceed further. Those short-listed for a final audition will be called in for assessment by a panel of highly-renowned musicians from both within and outwith the School.