International Baccalaureate

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International Baccalaureate

International Baccalaureate or IB is a program that has been adopted by educational institutions in many countries over the past years because of its holistic approach to learning.

Music appears in the arts: one of the six IB Diploma Program subject areas.

In the music course, year 1 and year 2 students focus on an intensive and rigorous program that cultivates skills in performance, composition, creative writing, formal music analysis, and critical thinking. Also included are aural perception and guided listening through work on a 20-25’ live solo or group presentation of carefully selected age/ability-appropriate repertoire, 3 contrasting compositions, a teacher-guided musical links investigation, and formal analysis of musical scores both seen and unseen. upon the chosen instrument

For the solo performance, pieces may be chosen from a wide range of musical styles -  baroque, classical, romantic, and contemporary to name but a few, giving the student ample opportunity to showcase a deeper understanding of music. His/her ability to demonstrate creative and artistic expression, performance skills and effect upon an audience will be assessed. For the group performance, the repertoire may be selected from more contemporary genres including jazz, pop, and/or rock styles. The performance is recorded live, formally assessed by an IB examiner who then grades the student’s performance. Assessment criteria upon which the performance grade is based are used.

 For the musical links investigation, in-depth research is conducted between two geographically- and chronologically-opposed musical genres through comparison of two pieces representing each culture respectively. Similarities and differences yield possible common links between the pieces which can be further explored to show musical threads of connection throughout the ages. Creative writing skills are often honed as a final presentation of the musical links investigation, which will be in a 2000-word narrative format. Upon completion, this too, is formally assessed and graded by an IB examiner.

For the three contrasting compositions, a student may choose from many different styles. One could create in a similar style to baroque writing or modern writing, one could write for vocals and a band or for a single vocal line. One could write for a choir or a jazz ensemble. One could compose a piece for orchestra or for a rock band. Students are also given the opportunity to improvise upon a given melody or to present their own arrangement of an already existing composition. Through this compositional work, their mastery in handling musical elements effectively enough to ‘tell a musical story’ that compels another to listen, and that has audience appeal which becomes evident will be the criteria on which they are assessed and graded.

For development of ‘listening’ and aural perception, students are exposed to as much music as possible, ranging from medieval music to well-known selections of the Western-Classical Art form; from folk music to popular present-day trends; and from students’ musical preferences to world music at large. Guided listening to musical selections as well as formal analysis of scores seen and unseen all support the student’s development into an individual who evidences strengths not only in becoming a well-rounded musician, but also in becoming an educated ‘listener’ and appreciative audience.

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