What’s the Score?

Music and History workshops for Primary 5 – 7

The Workshop

For many people, especially those afforded the opportunity to take tuition in a musical instrument, learning to read and write music can be an enjoyable and useful skill that opens up a lifetime of positive engagement with music. For others however, written music can remain an obscure language that seems forever beyond reach – a perception that can undermine our confidence to participate.

“What’s the score?”  is a full day practical music workshop that  uses a mixture of activities, exercises, games and stories to demystify the process of music notation by telling the amazing story of how and why music came to be written down.

The workshop has been developed with the 4 capacities of the Curriculum for Excellence firmly in mind and exploits many avenues for cross-curricular learning, connecting music with History, RME, Numeracy, Literacy, Art and Design and Performance.

Employing a wide variety of games, exercises, songs and activities to make the ideas accessible and engaging, the class will be taken on a journey through time, looking at the role played by music from pre-historic times, through the Greek and Roman era to the Picts in Scotland and the medieval church in Europe.

The workshop raises various topics and ideas that connect with other parts of the curriculum, and which you may want to follow up with the class. The accompanying teacher’s notes explain how the topics are introduced and contain detailed suggestions for subsequent work.

Topics covered

  • What sort of music did our ancestors make ?
  • Finding out about ancient cultures from the evidence of musical artifacts
  • The invention of music notation by the Monks of the Dark Ages
  • Creating simple picture or  “graphic” scores
  • How simple maths allows us to write down rhythm more clearly
  • The invention of sound recording
  • Using a story as a ‘score’ to guide us through the performance of some devised music.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of the day, pupils should

  • Have some understanding of the role of music in human culture throughout the ages
  • Understand what a music score is, and why we need it
  • Be able to make, read and play from a simple graphic score
  • Understand the basic principals of rhythm and pitch notation in written music
  • Have an insight into how people lived in Medieval times
  • Have an experience of creating and performing their own music to an audience

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