2019 Winter Concert

Adapting Classroom Music in the Pandemic


Blog | Art and Music | Lernen in Corona-Zeiten

November 4, 2020

From instrumental to iPad-based music creation:

Adapting classroom music during the pandemic

All successful music curricula are divided into three key areas:

1. Music Theory and History
2. Practical Performance
3. Composition

At the International Secondary School we have always done well at ensuring all three components are covered in detail, which has been reflected in our solid Cambridge and IB Diploma results. That said, with the COVID-19 pandemic in full swing and the subsequent restrictions severely limiting the opportunities for performing music at school, the teaching method – though not the content – of music at ISS has changed considerably.

Generally speaking, classroom music has become very theory and composition-oriented, which, although certainly not as fun as playing music, has been fairly well received by the students. No longer is the curriculum dominated by school bands and choirs; in fact, the onus is now (more than ever) on students to practice their instruments regularly away from school. Junior musicians should aim to play for 15 minutes a day whilst senior IGCSE / IB candidates should aim for at least 30 mins.

Class time is now spent reading and analysing music, exploring musical genres and periods, and using the music theory concepts introduced to compose simple melodic and harmonic structures. Our instrument or vehicle of composition? The iPad. The App: Garageband allows all students to learn the basics of electronic keyboard: scales and chords. Students are able to construct, perform and record melodies, chords and basslines all on the iPad keyboard, and to overlay drum beats and vocals (recorded in isolation / elsewhere).

The end result? An eclectic mix of student-derived music, ranging from jingles to jazz, classical to rap. Various selections of repertoire will be uploaded to our school Spotify account over the coming weeks and months. Tune in here.

Rob Keane, International Secondary School

Interested in our music program? Find out more!