Tag Archives: rock and pop music grades

Gigajam in Action Witton Park Academy Blackburn

Ethan Whittaker is the subject leader for music at Witton Park Academy an average sized secondary school in Blackburn with just under 1,000 students. He is also the Secondary representative for the Blackburn with Darwen Music Hub.

Ethan Whittaker

Blackburn with Darwen Music Hub has a partnership agreement with Gigajam,  which provides the opportunity for every child in Blackburn with Darwen to have access FREE either through school, through a community organisation or independently. The current licence runs until April 2018 and Witton Park Academy is the lead school.

Ethan kindly shared his experience, thoughts and use of Gigajam by making this short video.

We have been using Gigajam at Witton Park Academy since September 2015. Since then we have seen greater participation in music in extra curriculum activities and in the classroom.

 

We mainly use Gigajam in Key Stage 3 in years 7, 8 and 9 and use it for the performance side. Gigajam has enabled our kids to see where they are at in real time. They have been able to make progress and reflect on what they have done to be able to improve.

 

Pupils work on the keyboard towards their debut grade exam. They upload their work and reflect and improve it after analysing. This gives them something to work towards that includes an achievable target for the end of year.

We have also found that pupils who use Gigajam become more musically aware, being able to adapt to different scenarios and situations.

 

Gigajam is also used for intervention, especially for pupils who find concentrating difficult or who may suffer from behavioural issues. Gigajam gives them a clear focus and something to work towards.These pupils often channel their energy into improving and to become better musicians and individuals which helps them progress and integrate more into the school.

 

In our video we have a year 7 class using Gigajam and I see my role, while the pupils are using Gigajam is to make sure they are using correct instrumental technique and make sure they are doing everything to the best of their ability, by helping them analyse what they have done and how they can improve.

 

We have found that pupils are working better together using Gigajam – communicating and being really supportive of each other. They are helping each other analyse their work, and helping each other in counting the beats and when to play the notes, as well as reminding to use the correct instrumental technique which is really rewarding to see when I am walking round the classroom.

 

Pupils work really hard to get the best possible mark, with the grading system encouraging students to get above 65% is really useful. Pupils do see this as an internal competition trying to beat the pupils immediately around them and others in the class.

 

 

Not having paper, is so much more efficient, all the information from all the exercises are all in one place. The pupils can upload all their exercises up to Gigajam – it is all there, so it makes it simple for everybody.

 

This is the first year of using Gigajam at Witton Park Academy and it is going really, really well, with the pupils responding to it very positively and I couldn’t ask for much more.

 

If you would like more information about our use of Gigajam at Witton Park then please do not hesitate to email me: ewhittaker@wittonpark.org.uk

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Gigajam in Action – The Island Free School

The Island Free School is an exciting new secondary school for the Isle of Wight, which was set up by highly experienced teachers, parents and members of the local business community. It is a smaller, more intimate school than the others on the Island, with an excellent staff to pupil ratio.

Island Free School

Indra Riches, Head of Music introduced Gigajam to The Island Free School in 2014.

Indra Riches - The Island Free School

 

David Smith, Music Teacher has been leading on Gigajam this last year and he kindly agreed to share his experience, use of Gigajam, thoughts and observations.

David Smith - The Island Free School

What is the context in which your school operates and why did you feel the need for something like Gigajam?

As a music specialist school we have lots of music lessons on our timetable and our headmaster realises the connection between learning an instrument and the impact on academic improvement in other subjects. Our school is keen for all students to study a musical instrument and Gigajam is used to further engage those who are not so keen on classical based instruments.

Why did you choose to use Gigajam?

Gigajam is the only product on the market of its kind that offers the self-study opportunities for students via an online portal. The exercises and pieces in Gigajam can be learnt on the four different instruments which creates opportunities for students to form ensemble groups with ready made material.

The Island Free School Gigajam Studio 2

How long have you been using Gigajam?

We have been using Gigajam since the Island Free School opened in September 2014.

Can you describe your approach to using Gigajam

We use Gigajam during timetabled lessons and each class receives a half hour Gigajam lesson per week. We also offer Gigajam as an enrichment activity. Our students love the leader board scoring system and they are keen to be on top of the weekly and monthly charts (we’re slowly moving up the all time leader board which is great!).

Which groups of students did you select?

All students receive a half an hour timetabled lesson each week in our Gigajam studio. If students wish to do extra Gigajam they can use one hour a week from their enrichment timetable to do so.

Is Gigajam used from home?

Yes, so Gigajam is used widely in school lessons, during our enrichment hour and students can also access their account from home if they have a computer. Some students upload from home and others practise the exercises/pieces at home and then record their upload when they are back in school.

Island Free School

What technical resources do you have and how available are they to you and your students?

We have 25 students in each class and our music class is kitted out with enough keyboards for one between two. Our Gigajam studio has 11 Keyboards, 9 guitars and 5 drum kits. Students can access this equipment before the school day and during their free time.

 

The Island Free School Gigajam Studio

What observations and thoughts of learners and teachers around the department/schools could you share?

The general consensus is that Gigajam is developing at a fast rate in our school, we have a number of students who have achieved one instrumental grade whilst others have achieved more than one grade in a range of different instruments since using the software. Staff are also encouraged to take part and use Gigajam when they are able to.

What are your plans for the future?

Our plan is to continue to use Gigajam with KS3 and as we start teaching KS4 in the next year we would like to use Gigajam to support those students who may need to boost their keyboard (or guitar, bass & drums) skills through the variety of exercises and pieces that Gigajam has to offer. We are waiting to move into our brand new purpose built school which will feature a purpose built Gigajam studio complete with practice rooms.

 

Music Grades for Schools

This morning we received our largest bag full of certificates from our partnership with the University of West London/London College of Music.

Students from: Witton Park Academy, Blackburn, The Island Free School, Isle of Wight, Arc School, Nuneaton and West Byfleet Junior School Surrey will soon receive these certificates proving their success in learning a musical instrument.

UWLLCM CertificatesCongratulations to all those successful candidates and their teachers who have made learning an instrument possible.

You can read and watch video from case studies from Witton Park Academy and The Island Free School.

 

 

Always wanted to go to music school? Now you can!

Welcome to a Music School where you learn to play guitar, bass, keyboard and drums all online.

 

Gigajam online is packed with: TV Shows, Videos, Lessons and Play along exercises.
You can learn online, in your own place, in your own time. So, if you’ve always wanted to go to music school – now you can. Choose your instruments and try your free lessons.

 

Sign up for free at Gigajam

 

Music Grade Success!

It is great when the postman arrives and delivers these.

Music Grades

So today we have a desk of joy for our students taking their drum lessons in High Wycombe with me and, there are also a few for students of the Online Music School who have been studying on their own and a some who have earned these awards through their school using our education site.

All of these music grades have been awarded by The University of West London London College of Music.

Congratulations to them all on their hard work and success!

Rock and Pop Music Grades through Gigajam

Through our partnership with the London College of Music we are now in the full swing of things with students from far and wide being awarded grades for their progress with their Gigajam courses. Harry is from Princes Risborough School and is studying for his Music GCSE and is developing his performance element with Gigajam. He has received distinctions in his first series of grades, debut, grade1, grade 2 and grade 3 for drums.

Harry is now studying for his grade 4.

Harry Dyer - Distinction.jpg

All of the points acquired can contribute to his school performance. See the table below:

Gigajam Grade NQF Level QCF Credits Cost Ofqual Register
Debut Entry Level 4 £10 601/0304/8
Grade 1 Level 1 9 £11 601/0300/0
Grade 2 Level 1 12 £12 601/0302/4
Grade 3 Level 1 12 £13 601/0303/6
Grade 4 Level 2 15 £14 601/0359/0
Grade 5 Level 2 18 £15 601/0309/7

 

Gigajam’s awards are extremely flexible, affordable and easy to use. The students store all of their work in their protfolios and the system will tell them when they have completed the requirements for the grade. This includes a series of technical exercises, performance pieces and questions. The portfolio is simple to compete and integrated into our Online Music School and can receive MIDI files which are automatically marked and videos, using our seamless YouTube recorder which can be marked by the teacher. The teacher verifies pupils work and submitted for an award. There is no visiting a centre, booking exams or costly and time consuming travel; simply enter when complete. Because all of the work is done online the cost of exams have been reduced dramatically, as you can see from the table, making them genuinely affordable for all.

Learn more about grades with this short video:

For more information on qualifications awarded through The University of West London/London College of Music through Gigajam then you can visit our qualifications page.

Contact us now to join Gigajam e: brian.greene@gigajam.com Education site | Online Music School Music Education Hubs