End of Year Playing and Theory Tests

I feel that throughout this school year I have progressed greatly in not only my playing skills and composition but also my theory. Over the course of the year we have also learned about many different genres of music, and playing and composing different genres of music. I feel that I have made the most progress in my music theory throughout this year and this was because of a combination of what we learned in class and also starting to focus more on music theory in my private saxophone lessons outside of school. One element of music I would definitely like to improve on composing music and creating more interesting melodies that follow all the necessary guidelines.

For our exam in music we had to do a scales exam where we played 5 harmonic/melodic minor scales and one chromatic scale, a jazz solo playing test which was a solo that was written by Mr. Taitoko and we also had a music theory test. I was very happy with my performance in my music theory test but I feel that I could have done a bit better for my playing and scales tests. My note accuracy was good throughout my entire scales test, and I only messed up one scale about half way up but after starting again I was able to play all the notes correctly for this scale. I think that I need to work on my rhythm accuracy because in a few of my scales I was a bit off the beat. I could easily fix this by taking more time to listen to the metronome before starting the scale so that I was locked into the rhythm. In my playing test my note and rhythm accuracy was quite good and I only messed up one or two notes in the song, and I was also on the beat during the performance. Also, my precision of articulation during my jazz solo was quite good but this was not too difficult because there was no written articulation such as slurs, and the only articulation we needed to use was

In my playing test my note and rhythm accuracy was quite good and I only messed up one or two notes in the song, and I was also on the beat during the performance. Also, my precision of articulation during my jazz solo was quite good but this was not too difficult because there was no written articulation such as slurs, and the only articulation we needed to use was swing to give the piece a jazzy feel. There was also no dynamics written for the piece so I played the piece at a mezzo forte throughout, and didn’t change the dynamics throughout the piece because I feel that they weren’t a very important part of playing this particular jazz solo well. My tone quality during the jazz solo and scales tests I thought was also very good and appropriate to the song I was playing and to playing scales. The intonation that I played was also accurate during the piece. For our scales and solo playing test the tempo was 100 bpm in a 4/4 time, and I was able to stay on beat in the majority of my scales and also during my solo playing test. However, I felt that 100 bpm was quite a slow tempo for the playing test and I had to practice last-minute playing at this speed because I usually practiced the song at about 120 bpm in 4/4 time.

I was very happy with the score I was able to achieve for my final music theory test which was a 7 out of a possible 8. The reason I was very happy with this score is because I was not only able to improve on my score from the December theory test which was a 6 out of 8 and I because I now feel I really understand the content that we have learnt in music theory throughout the year. Some of the aspects of music theory we were tested on are key signatures in different clefs (alto, tenor, treble and bass clef), intervals, 7th chords and transposition. There was also two questions about composition. I feel that I can still improve on the theory aspect of composition and understanding this fully. By this I mean I need to get more comfortable with using passing and neighbour tones and labelling chords, to name a few aspects of music theory related to composition. Below is my final theory test.

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I feel that throughout this year I have become a more complete music student because of the many things that we have learned such as the history of jazz and composing different genres of music. What we have learned this year especially about jazz has made me more open-minded toward listening to different styles of music and different styles of jazz because I have never previously been interested in listening to jazz music in my own time. Learning about different styles of jazz and certain jazz artists of the time and the componenets and elements of music that go into jazz compositions has made me reaslise how complex composing this music is, and has also now influenced me to listen to jazz in my own time.

 

Music December Tests Reflection

I think that I did quite well in my mid year playing test. I think that for my scales I did well with my note accuracy, but I did mess up a bit on the chromatic scale. Also with the chromatic scale because I messed up a note it changed the speed that I played the scale at, which was another mistake. In the piece I think that I was successful in my articulation, this came into play mainly in the first part of the piece as there was a large variation in articulation including accents, staccatos and normal tongued notes. There were no tempo change in the piece and also no change of the dynamics so these musical elements do not factor in to how well I played the piece. I was accurate with playing the correct notes in the first half of the piece, but on the second ending I did mess up a tiny bit so that would probably bring my mark down a fair bit. Overall I think that I was able to play my scales and also the piece of music well and I think i will get quite a good mark for this performance. After receiving my mark for this test I was very much surprised at how well I did. I was able to achieve a level of 8/8 which was surprising because I thought I messed up many parts of the test. Overall I was surprised at how well I did for this assessment.

We also had to learn many different types of musical theory such as learning to create triads, and transposing music between instruments. Music theory is very important to learn because it is how all music is created. The key signatures of pieces and scales help the music sound good and sound like it flows. And other types of music theory such as transposition and creating chords helps with composing music. On our test we had to answer questions on the key signatures of the alto and tenor clefs, we had to draw the correct major and minor scales, we had to determine intervals between notes, transpose, create triads and 7th chords, and also complete figured bass questions. I think that I probably got a score in the 5-6 range out of 8. This is because I felt comfortable with most of the questions on the test, but I feel like I probably made some mistakes, which is why I think I will get a 5 or a 6 on the test.

Now after receiving my music I did as well as I thought I would, I got a 6/8 as my final mark which I thought was very good for this theory test as it covered many different topics. I think I was able to do this well because I have done my ABRSM grade 5 theory outside of school and passed, this really prepared me for this test very well as many of the topics covered in the ABRSM test were in this test that we did. Some of the topics covered in both tests are intervals, triads, transposition, alto and tenor clef key signatures and also writing scales. There were some aspects of the school theory test that were not covered in the ABRSM test, this mainly was figured bass. Although I had not learned this before I did really well on it in the test. Overall I am very happy with my score on this theory test and also I am happy with my score on the playing test.

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