Self-directed Study Sheet 16

Context: Derek is blind, has severe learning difficulties and is on the autism spectrum. Nonetheless, he has exceptional musical abilities. Derek’s ability to grasp abstract concepts and to engage in metacognition (to reflect upon his own thoughts and feelings) is very limited. Hence, to establish his knowledge of styles and genres and to ascertain his preferences means having him engage in active music making.

  1. Observation: Think about what you see and hear in the video.
  2. Interpretation: What can you reasonably infer about the person's musical engagement?
  3. Assessment: Suggest a Sounds of Intent Level and Domain.

Derek is asked to name some of his favourite jazz pianists. He comes up with Art Tatum (an appropriate answer), and then Dizzy Gillespie (whose name he struggles to pronounce) and Miles Davis – who were both trumpeters. Adam prompts him to remember a famous jazz pianist who went to Linden Lodge School (where Derek himself was a pupil), and he responds with ‘George Shearing’ (the correct – and, for Derek, over-rehearsed – answer). Upon request, he is able to play a harmony in the style of Shearing (using a ‘block chord’), and further able to transfer that texture to an improvisation on Twinkle, Twinkle. This shows that Derek has a sophisticated understanding of at least one jazz style – shown not in words, but in his capacity to reproduce it. This represents engagement at Level 6, Reactive (R.6): ‘has a mature, shared understanding and appreciation of the music of a particular culture, in a given style or styles’.