tobin music
Accelerating music literacy
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Key stage 1
Key stage 2
Key stage 3

Guidelines for using the Tobin Music System
within the National Curriculum at Key Stage 3 and beyond

How can the system help secondary music teachers?

The KS3 music specialist is faced with a number of problems as pupils begin their secondary education. Sadly many pupils have had limited experience of music in their primary school and the secondary music teacher is faced with classes of pupils who have a huge range of ability. Music is probably the subject in which the standards and experiences between pupils vary most. You might be a teacher faced with teaching pupils who are experienced instrumentalists in the same class as pupils who have limited understanding of music.

The Tobin system has features which help to overcome these problems. The lessons on rhythmic shorthand are a good place to start because even experiences instrumentalists will find this invaluable for theory, aural and dictation work; whilst pupils who are not knowledgeable about rhythm can soon learn a simple way of writing down what they hear. The teaching of note lengths using the rhythm shapes and French time names is also beneficial to a whole class as it help the pupils to quickly learn all of their simple time signatures.

Are there any Tobin ICT tools to help me?

The Musicolour CD programme is an easy way for the teacher to differentiate their curriculum as students can work independently. Musicolour succeeds brilliantly in making music theory and composition both exciting and understandable. Musicolour will be the long prayed for breakthrough, particularly to those who perhaps feared that they would remain musically illiterate. Musicolour is suitable for anyone over the age of 7 and there is absolutely no age barrier. It is fun to use and attractive to the eye at the same time, though the program goes into considerable depth in each topic covered. It can be used for study at home and also provides the ideal system for school use. It makes, what has been for years regarded by many as a crushingly boring subject, an ideal classroom activity! Far from being viewed as dull and uninspired, music can now be seen as creative and stimulating. There are fifteen lessons in the music program and each one introduces a new topic and encourages students to write their own music. Their compositions soon evolve into well-designed, harmonically sound and highly pleasing pieces.

What kind of Tobin Teacher-Training is available?

The secondary teacher has much to gain from taking the Tobin Accredited Training at Associate Level as much of the primary syllabus is relevant to the secondary pupils who may not be experienced musicians. The training will also enable you to advise and train your feeder schools in developing better music teaching. After the Associate Level the secondary teacher can go onto licentiate where they can study two topics from, secondary school music, composition, piano, recorder and guitar.

How does the Tobin Music system help me deliver KS3 and KS4 music?

Much of the Key Stage 3 Curriculum becomes easier if pupils understand rhythm, notation and harmony. The pupils are at an advantage when it comes to playing and writing their own music. This leads pupils onto studying GCSE music with a solid theoretical basis.

Features of the system that can help you:

By using the notation ruler pupils can workout

  • Tones and semitones
  • Tetrachords
  • All major and minor scales
  • Major, minor, diminished and augmented chords
The magic circle helps pupils to:

  • Work out scales
  • Find primary chords
  • Work out related keys
  • Learn about cadences
  • Fit harmony to melodies and vice versa
  • Compose
The composition sampler sheet means that pupils can:

  • Compose using the primary triads in ternary form
  • Learn to write and identify cadences
  • Learn how to modulate
  • Use relative minor chords
  • Use passing notes and auxiliary notes
  • Easily complete terminal tasks in the GCSE syllabus
  • Understand the conventions of western classical music
The 'Wizards way Recorder' and 'Colour Piping' recorder and guitar books:

  • Help pupils to develop music literacy
  • Develop the fine motor skills needed to play an instrument
  • Are a good fore runner to learning other woodwind instruments
  • Reinforce rhythm, pitch, the stave, chords, time signatures
  • Make it inexpensive and possible to teach the recorder or guitar to whole classes
  • Promote independent learning and music for all
  • Make differentiation easier for the teacher
  • Help pupils to get involved in extra curricular music
National Curriculum Requirements The Tobin Music System
Performing skills

Pupils should be taught how to:

b) perform with increasing control of instrument specific techniques;

c) practise, rehearse and perform with awareness of different parts.
The Wizards Way and Colour Piping recorder method and Guitar method makes it possible for whole classes to learn these instruments. The use of colour promotes independent learning. Pupils can learn about chords and keys which enables pupils of all abilities to join in with group performances, thus understanding how individual parts fit together.
Composing skills

Pupils should be taught how to:

a) improvise, exploring and developing musical ideas when performing;

b) produce, develop and extend musical ideas within given structures and given genres, styles and traditions.
The system illustrates melodic and harmonic conventions which make improvising accessible at all levels. Major, minor, chromatic and pentatonic tonalities are explained and pupils learn how to manipulate chords which allow improvisation and composition possible in many styles.
Appraising skills

Pupils should be taught how to:

b) communicate ideas and feelings about music using expressive language and musical vocabulary to justify their own opinions

c) adapt their own musical ideas and refine and improve their own and others work.
Careful listening and practise promotes the desire to improve work. The system is so very well organised that pupils soon develop a keen ear to discriminate the quality of their work. The pupils will learn the correct terminology throughout the system which helps them to express their thoughts on their work in a knowledgeable way
Listening and applying knowledge an understanding

Pupils should be taught how to:

a) Internalise and recall sounds;

b) Identify the expressive use of musical elements, devices, tonalities and structures;

c) identify the resources, conventions, processes and procedures, including that if ICT, staff notation and other relevant notations, used in selected musical genres, styles and traditions.
Pupils are able to internalise sounds because the Tobin Music system employs a variety of learning styles; visual, aural and kinaesthetic. The use of rhythmic shorthand, shapes, colour, aural training games and movement help all types of learners to internalise important concepts. The system clearly and thoroughly explains the great stave, G clef and F clef. The rhythmic shorthand is progressive and extremely useful all the way up to 'A' level studies. The pupils will be taught the fundamental concepts of western tonality as well as exploring the pentatonic scale.
Breadth of Study

During the key stage pupils should be taught the knowledge, skills and understanding through:

a) a range of musical activities that integrate performing, composing and appraising;

b) responding to a range of musical and non musical starting points;

c) working on their own, in groups and as a class;

d) using ICT to create, manipulate and refine sounds;

e) a range of live and recorded music from different times and cultures, including music from the British Isles, the 'western classical' tradition, folk, jazz and pop genres and by well-known composers and performers.
Performing, composing and appraising work is integral throughout the system.

Pupils are given musical starting points and participate in group activities as well as individual composition and performing.

The Musicolour program not only teaches the concepts required for composing it also allows pupils to create and explore interactively.

The system gives pupils are deeper understanding of 'western' traditions than most educationalists believe is possible. This means that it is easy to go on and teach jazz and pop styles.

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