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A day in the life.

Graeme Wilson, originally from New Zealand and now living in Gosforth, is the director of music at Westfield School for Girls in Newcastle 0745: I arrive at school ready for my busy day ahead. My first task is organising the instrumental and singing lessons for the week. We have over 100 individual lessons per week so there is a lot of organisation required.

0830: The girls enter the school for registration and before lessons I rehearse our Chamber Ensemble. We are rehearsing this ensemble for our Jubilee Speech Day celebrations and I'm focusing on periodic phrasing and dynamics.

0855: Today's first lesson is a double period of GCSE music. We use primary and dominant sevenths chords to compose melodic phrases to enhance creativity and foster musical ideas. I love teaching composition, sharing and creating interesting melodies and discovering how sounds are organised with the girls. 1005: My Lower 4 pupils are studying Vivaldi's Lute Concerto in D Major. Using a range of instruments, I introduce ground bass, a popular Baroque musical technique, and demonstrate its use within the concerto.

We look at the main contrasting sections and in groups the girls are given time to improvise their own melodic ideas using xylophones, keyboards, flutes, clarinets and violins.

1040: It's break time - I help to supervise the girls playing outside.

1055: During double period A-level music we record the final submissions for our Senior Music CD. I set up the recording equipment and check input levels while the girls warm up. It's really important for their progression to be able to hear themselves perform on recordings. 1205: I direct the Westfield Senior Choir which involves nearly 100 girls. There's no audition to join the choir; the only thing I ask is for enthusiasm and an enjoyment of singing! Today I begin teaching the three-part harmonies for Hallelujah by Leonard Cohen. The girls always thrive on multiple-part harmonies and today we are singing a cappella to improve their pitch and breathing control. 1315: The first lesson of the afternoon is music with Upper 3. We warm up with rhythmic body percussion and movement. I am teaching the Sol-Fa method of singing using traditional hand symbols and rhymes.

1430: The final double period of the day begins and I begin administration.

Today I confirm outings to JLS, Britain's Got Talent, The Sage, Northern Opera and the Theatre Royal. I also ring West End theatre venues in London to explore options for a possible musical theatre weekend adventure in 2011.

1540: The bell rings for the end of lessons and the girls either go home, to our homework club or to a variety of other clubs, for example, sports club, philosophy, archery, environmental club, etc.

1600: I move to the sports hall to set up for hip hop dance. The senior crew 'Reaction' involves 12 girls ages 12-15. I set up the sound equipment and have a quick discussion with the girls about their routine and progress. the hip hop teacher arrives to teach them new moves.


MUSIC LOVER Graeme Wilson
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)
Date:Jul 22, 2010
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