As we settle into another half term or more of the virtual music classroom, we thought we’d signpost three areas which could inspire and support some creative projects for your primary and secondary classroom – with the added advantage of developing your students' skills towards a recognised qualification.

Coming up with creative ideas to keep students engaged and motivated can be time-consuming and energy-sapping, particularly when maintaining their interest in a listening and appraising activity is often reliant on your relentless enthusiasm and production of resources! Creative coursework tasks can feel impossible due to students’ limited access to instruments so we hope this blog can provide some support. Whether you are looking for some new resources; a creative stimulus; the basis of a scheme of work; or a new way of getting students to record their work and progress, the three things below should be able to help across the three disciplines of performance, composition and listening.

Podcasting and Vlogging

If your student is already able to access their virtual lesson using a tablet, phone, laptop or PC, then they have what they need to create a podcast or vlog. Ask students to devise and record either a podcast or a vlog about something related to the topic or subject you have planned and you’ll be able to assess their understanding of the topic whilst taking them through the skills and understanding of planning and recording their own content.

The RSL Creative Qualifications in Podcasting and Vlogging run from Debut to grade 8 and are 100% assessed through submission of a coursework task which gradually increase in technical skill and conceptual understanding as you progress through the grades. Many students are technology inhabitants who may be more at home doing this than their parents and you as teachers so use the Podcasting and Vlogging syllabus and digital books from Debut to Grade 8 to guide them and you through the step-by-step skill development. The ebooks, developed by GoCreate Academy, are filled with information, short tutorials and guidance which will help. In addition, our colleagues at Focusrite are currently offering 25% off any product for anyone who purchases one of the epublications available via our website. Click here for more information.

Music Production

Limited access to equipment is one significant barrier for students engaging in curriculum music at home. If your students are able to access a virtual classroom then they are pretty close to being able to access the range of digital audio software which they can then use for creative composition tasks. We wrote a blog on 16th April which signposts various ways of getting hold of this software so please do have a read of it here or contact our colleagues at the bottom of this post for more advice and guidance.

‘Opening DAWS: Home Learning Through Music Technology – 16th April 2020 READ OUR BLOG HERE

The RSL Music Production grade books are full of information and questions related to the theory of music production, music theory in general and specific listening examples. They are all built around a creative composition coursework task which students can complete in their own time and with teacher-led guidance. Click here to view our webinar introduction to the syllabus, download more information and to look at the benchmarked skills at each level. You can also get in touch with us directly to gain access to exemplar Schemes of Work to take you through Grades 1 – 3 in a virtual and live environment. As one Head of Department has told us:

‘The Music Production grades help us to identify and cultivate Music Production cohorts earlier so that we can ensure candidates are even better prepared for A level and try to retain healthy numbers at recruitment.’

Click here, fill out a form, and we will send you a FREE digital copy of one of the Rockschool Graded Music Production books!

The Learning Platform – the RSL Learning Platform provides free access to all of the graded music exam materials from Debut – Grade 8 across Acoustic and Electric Guitar, Ukulele, Piano and Drums for any teacher signed up to our Teacher Registry. This means that you have access to over 250 scores and tracks of music across a range of popular music styles, alongside scales, arpeggios, chord voicings, stylistic studies and improvisation exercises to help plan your lessons. These can be used to support with listening exercises, music theory and for performing – even if students are using a virtual keyboard, chair drumming or their own voice. For more information and to register, click here. As one Head of Department delivering our VQs has put it: ‘It is phenomenal and will save me infinite hours of work. This is certainly well worth a visit.’

We are continuing to work hard to support you and want to thank you for everything you are doing to keep music going in these challenging times. Our Vocational Team are consulting with OfQual to ensure we can provide as much advice and guidance for teachers delivering these qualifications and, in addition to regular communications, you can get ongoing updates via our website here. For any other information and to discuss how we can continue to support music in your school, please contact us directly: business@rslawards.com

Contact Details and Further Advice:

Ableton:

Get help via their Knowledge Base

Click here if you are completely new to Ableton

To get started, download the Ableton Live 10 Trial here

Instructions for the installation and authorization can be found here

Cubase:

Richard Llewellyn (UK Education Manager) for Steinberg can be contacted at r.llewellyn@steinberg.de

To help with installation and activation, this video may help

Click here to find out the difference between Cubase programs.

Expert advice and interviews

Digital book from one of Steinberg’s Certified Trainers, Darren Jones: Complete Guide to Music Technology using Cubase 10.5

Bandlab:

Help pages can be found here