Music

CL Mhairi Sheail
Isobel Ramsay
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The Music Department at Forrester is very much a thriving place where active learning is a key focus of the Department’s work. There are 2 members of Teaching Staff and 7 visiting Instrumental Instructors who come in at various times throughout the week to offer specialist individual and group learning on a range of instruments.
From S1 students get a chance to learn a variety of classroom instruments in their weekly Music lessons and get access to a wide range of state of the art technology throughout the Department. There is a fully equipped classroom with 20 Apple Mac computers which run programmes such as Garageband, Cubase and Sibelius and students use this technology to design and create their own compositions at various levels. We have a new Recording Studio, again with state of the art technology, where students get to record each other play and add a range of effects to enhance their performances.

 

There is a big emphasis on Group Performance in the Department where students get the experience of what it is like to perform as a ‘band’ and they can take copies of their performances home with them on CD or a memory stick so that they can share their work with others if they choose to.
SCO
Following a very successful workshop with the SCO, the National 5, Higher and Advanced Higher Music pupils went with Mrs Ramsay and Mrs Smith to their concert at the Queens Hall.  We were delighted to hear some of the questions we had written to the composer being asked at the concert and getting a shout out for Forrester High School!  The pupils behaved impeccably, and we are very proud of them.
Below are some thoughts from pupils attending.
The Scottish Chamber Orchestra’s informative performance of ‘Arktis! Arktis!’ composed by Karin Rehnqvist was a learning experience unlike any other. Not only was it my first taste of what it was like to see a piece of classical music performed to a live audience; I was also able to learn a lot through Paul Rissman’s educational narrative that I feel greatly improved my musical knowledge.  Throughout the concert we were taken step by step -through the use of a PowerPoint presentation and words from Rehnqvist herself- through 3 of the 4 movements present in ‘Arktis! Arktis!’. Rissman explained different techniques used in the music and these were backed up by live examples from different musicians in the orchestra.
Rehnqvist also told us about her exciting experience of being on an icebreaker ship in the Arctic and how this soon led her to write the exciting piece we heard that day. She explained how it took her nearly 2 years to write the composition and gave us all some interesting ideas about how to create exciting pieces of music using really simple ideas.
If I had to tie a negative to any part of the concert it would be the limited use of the PowerPoint. I believe it could have been used to a much greater advantage and provided us with more information on more techniques rather than just a select few. Furthermore, I believe the day would have been better as a whole if, at the end of the concert, musicians were positioned around the Queen’s Hall so we could get their own unique take on the piece.
However, as a whole I believed it to be a great experience that invigorated not only my interest with classical music, but with composing pieces of my own. It told me that by taking just a few simple ideas, such as the use of discords, glissandi and flutter tonguing you can make your own pieces much more exciting to the ear. 
 (Darren McQueen, S6)
When I attended the Scottish Chamber Orchestra Concert, I expected it to sound exactly like the CD but I was mistaken. I found it more vibrant, and very loud. All the instruments sounded crisp and clear.
The composer explained what instruments were playing and I was able to listen out for those specific ones. I thought the piece ‘Arktis Arktis!’ was interesting and the explanation of it made it much clearer when I listened to the whole thing.
My favourite part of the piece was the violins doing a glissando at the beginning. I thought it sounded very unique and cool. Overall, I would definitely go back to listen to the Scottish Chamber Orchestra again. 
 (Declan Spinks, S4)

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