#1
OK so next year I'm considering taking higher music (I'm in my sixth year, taking it so I can have some form of music qualification).

Anyway, I've never done music before at school (except a few weeks of SG, hated at the time but I regret dropping it now). Thinking of going in with Acoustic guitar as my first instrument, and then either vocals, bass, or sound production as my second.

I have some questions I'd like to ask though:

*How exactly is the composition assessed? Is there criteria you must meet (ie certain keys, harmonic structures etc must be used) or is it just a matter of if the examiner/teacher likes it?

*What kind of difficulty are higher pieces? I should be fine for guitar, I've been playing for years, but the difficulty level would affect my second instrument. The SQA website claims there's an approved repetoire but I can't find it.

*What kind of level of expected knowledge is there? I have a fairly good grasp of keys, time signatures, harmonies etc, and I can UNDERSTAND sheet music, but not read/write it very well. Like I can read a key signature and eventually decipher the melody, but I'm not great. Want to improve though.

So yes, can anyone help? And just generally say how you benefitted from the course, whether it's worthwhile etc.

Thanks.
#3
Quote by Heavens_To_Hell

*How exactly is the composition assessed? Is there criteria you must meet (ie certain keys, harmonic structures etc must be used) or is it just a matter of if the examiner/teacher likes it?


yes, there is criteria, i assume the teacher will just give you a grade, then for the final piece it will be assessed by someone from an education board.


..thats all the advice i got, lol, anyway, tits.
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#4
Quote by ChucklesMginty
Yeah, advanced maths comes into use in everyday life.
Wait..

I guess it does show intelligence and looks good on a CV though.


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#5
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...a wut?what job do you have?
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#6
I've got higher maths, and tbh I found it to be balls. Got what I needed to study law in my highers, so I'm looking to use sixth year as a more "life skills/f*cking around" year.
#8
I got an A at Higher Music. Really really easy. Grade 4 is the level for your instruments, which is really easy. You have to know almost no theory, which dissappointed me. I also got a B at Adv. Higher.

I'm now studying music at uni and for that I had to get upto to Grade 4 theory, which isn't really that hard. Also had to play at Grade 7 standard or above.Going into my second year in September, can't wait.

EDIT: Congratulations on getting your needed grades, have fun in 6th year. It should be your best year at school.
Last edited by mh.666 at Aug 16, 2009,
#9
^^Tbh, that means nothing to me, I have no idea what grade I am. My guitar teacher was more focused on teaching me things I wanted to learn than actual examination pieces.

I was thinking of maybe doing Coil by Opeth as my exam piece, if the SQA allow it. Would that be higher material? Similarly Frank Turner's "Hold Your Tongue" has some moderately impressive fingerpicking that I can pull off.

EDIT: I want to learn more about music, in fact I want to make a career in it. I'm really hoping that this'll help expand my knowledge of music in general. Anything to help improve my songwriting and musicianship.
Last edited by Heavens_To_Hell at Aug 16, 2009,
#10
Composition is just pass/fail, up to your teacher. However, the SQA might assess it too, so you have to be on form. It's difficult to explain. Complex-ish chord patterns, throw in some stylistic things like grace notes, triplets, etc. Maybe do it in an interesting key or time signature.

I think it's like, Grade 4 or 5 or something for performance. It's fairly easy. You won't get a list of pieces though - there are always new ones. The ones I played were all made up by a music teacher at my school. Eh, FBI by the Shadows and Albatross (From the M&S adverts) are examples.

Knowledge isn't really needed right away. Learn the concept names and definitions, then just learn to apply it. Listening is the hardest part, usually, but it's all down to practice.

Overall, it's a good course because unless you're very new to it, you're not put under a lot of pressure. You have Performance, which is enjoyable; inventing, also can be a lot of fun; and Listening, which is a pain but you have a year to perfect it.
#11
Quote by ChucklesMginty
Yeah, advanced maths comes into use in everyday life.
Wait..

I guess it does show intelligence and looks good on a CV though.

I just dropped Admin (An easy A) for Advanced Maths. Should be a laugh.

edit: Scuse the doublepost!
#12
At my school the composition was basically a pass or fail, in the sense that so long as it lasted more than a minute and a half and actually sounded like it could be musical (eg; no horrible clashing notes etc) it would pass.

Guitar pieces are easy enough depending on how well you can play. I did Grade 5 for my exam and they were easy enough, nothing too technical. Having said that I screwed up alot because of nerves. As for second instrument I did Grade 4 bass and it was quite easy. The only thing I had a problem with was the slapping, which I hadn't done before, but it's easy enough to pick up.

As for knowledge, you have to know quite alot of concepts such as structures and ornaments and which time periods they belong to. Knowing about keys, time sigs and stuff like that isn't covered too much but it is helpful if you know it because there are one or two questions about them in the exam.

Personally, I found the course pretty useful when it came to learning more theory and reinforcing stuff I already knew.
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#13
Quote by Heavens_To_Hell

I was thinking of maybe doing Coil by Opeth as my exam piece, if the SQA allow it. Would that be higher material? Similarly Frank Turner's "Hold Your Tongue" has some moderately impressive fingerpicking that I can pull off.


I'm thinking of doing Benighted by Opeth as a Higher piece.

I had the criteria for Higher music that my teacher gave me, but I can't find it. But some thing's on it were that, Inventions must be longer than 1 minute and must contain Higher concepts, Performance must be higher than Grade 4 on both instruments and other stuff about Listening.
I'm hoping I can do sound production instead of keyboard as my second instrument.
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#14
Quote by greenelephants
I just dropped Admin (An easy A) for Advanced Maths. Should be a laugh.

edit: Scuse the doublepost!


BAHAHAHAHA admin.

The composition piece of the higher is really just an exercise in how many of the listed concepts you can jackhammer into one piece. For this reason serial music is a very good bet (if you don't know what it is don't worry it's covered in the course). You need two pieces that add up to a total of 2 minutes.

The performance pieces are anything grade 4 upwards. Anything that is ofiacally graded grade 4 by the SQA will be allowed. If the pieces you wish to do aren't graded you can send them to the SQA to be graded.

The theory is the hardest bit. There are a lot of melodic, harmonic and rhythmic concepts to memorise and spot by ear in the exam. Also get your standard notation reading up, it guarantees an easy 4/5 marks.

I just finished the course last term (got an A, booyah) whilst the course is not hugely helpful as far as practical applications go it does lay the foundation for any further education of music (especially it's history). The section on 20th century music is very good. The course should be a laugh. Just don't do what my whole class did and leave everything in the last week of deadline. Things get a bit frantic then.

Hope it's helpful.
#15
Quote by shredfest

Guitar pieces are easy enough depending on how well you can play. I did Grade 5 for my exam and they were easy enough, nothing too technical. Having said that I screwed up alot because of nerves. As for second instrument I did Grade 4 bass and it was quite easy. The only thing I had a problem with was the slapping, which I hadn't done before, but it's easy enough to pick up.



What!?

I didn't realise the bass would need to be played fingerstyle...hmm that may change things.

Thanks for the help everyone.
#16
I got a B at higher, I fucked up in the last few weeks, was on course for an easy A. The practical is balls easy, don't even bother trying to play a fancy piece to show off, you'll easily get full marks playing an easy Grade 5 piece flawlessly rather than struggling through a really technical Joe Satriani song. Don't hassle yourself.
When it comes down to the theory, it's just luck. Maybe your qestions will come up, maybe they won't. Simple.

Edit: Bass doesn't have to be fingerstyle.
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