Firstly, let me say how enjoyable it has been for me as Head of Music to spend time with the pupils during my first year. There is a real spirit in the children at Compass which comes across particularly when they are singing, and they are ready to embrace new things.
In addition to the Juilliard curriculum and the stimulating visits and workshops by Jessica Meyer, there have also been assemblies throughout the year linking to the IPC topics. From The ‘Dry Bones’ song to the ‘Ring of Fire’ and mini productions by the classes; creatively adapting the words to suit their theme. There has certainly been variety.
Notably, there has been considerable investment in technology in the music department. Through purchasing an entire suite of iPads to compliment the keyboards, pupils can truly work to their own ability level, with the software providing a fun way to gain notation skills. This really is a ‘game changer’ in the way pupils learn music. Initially pupils thought it was just that –a computer ‘game’ – however they are unwittingly learning what can sometimes be the most tedious part, and yet is undoubtedly the most essential tool for learning music – the skill of reading notation. Once pupils have this they can progress at their own pace, and some are surprisingly gifted, and if they are keen to increase their ranking they concentrate on getting onto the next level – for which they have to get a certain percentage of correct notes. The app uses all the ‘tricks’ to get pupils competing to get better.
Next year there is the intention to provide paid group lessons on keyboard and guitar for those who want to dedicate more time towards practising at home….details to follow.
The Choir began the year gaining 3rd place in the Qatar National Music competition, which is excellent considering that so many other schools from all over Qatar entered. The choir has performed in the Musical Extravaganza beautifully at the end of the first term soaring above the school with a descant, and also accompanied by the guitar group. We continue to grow in numbers, and members of the choir have performed solos in the informal music ensemble concerts that have been introduced. Every term instrumentalists gather to perform to each other and their parents – providing a sense of occasion that is more a celebration of everyone’s progress on their voice and instrument. Pictures of our emerging musical stars are shown here.