Preparing for the DP Music exam (November 2013)

Greetings DP Music candidates!
This post is for you – regardless of whether you live in the northern hemisphere or the southern hemisphere – and is designed to help you with your exam review (yes – you should be reviewing!).
I will briefly share my thoughts about what DP Music is about (in one sentence) and then share some advice regarding the Listening Paper.
If you have any questions or comments, please post them to this site!

If you are a year one DP Music candidate, you are most likely still learning about the specifics of the class. For those who are in year two, I hope you realise that the class is all about the analysis, synthesis, & contextualization of music. The listening paper is designed to test your critical thinking in music through listening.

Today I will be sharing some strategies for success based on feedback provided by the IB Music Examining team (DP Music teachers – I am referencing the May 2013 Subject Report).

Tip One – please make sure that you read and answer every required question in Section A.
Only respond to what is requested/ask for in the question (no extra/extraneous information is needed).

Tip One background:
Section A deals with the two prescribed works. For those students testing in November 2013, the prescribed works are the Yellow River Piano Concerto (Xian) and The Classical Symphony (Prokofiev).

The examining team stated that when students (in May 2013) responded to questions in section A, many students wrote down memorized facts that did not relate at all to the question. For example – question one asked students to provide three examples of how the Classical Symphony was a ‘classical’ work and three examples of how it was a ‘modern’ work.
Many students (I personally witnessed this as an examiner) did not respond to the question, and shared memorized background knowledge about Prokofiev. Student responses that included this information were interesting, but the answers did not relate to the question and received low marks (because no musical understanding was demonstrated).

Also, please note that there is no ‘extra credit’ for responses that exceed the request posed in the exam question.
If the exam asks for three examples, you only need to provide three examples (not four).

Tip Two – practice writing individual responses in 20 minutes durations.
Regardless of your level (HL or SL), you have about 20 minutes per question during the actual exam. It is highly important that you practice writing ‘listening paper’-type responses in that amount of time
.

Tip Two background:
I have graded many listen paper responses that were excellent. However, there were occasions where a paper would contain ONLY 2 excellent responses (out of 5 or 8 total questions) – the remainder of the paper was blank as the candidate spent all of their time on two questions.
It is much better to answer all of the questions than to perfect and refine one or two responses!

I hope these tips have been helpful.
Stay tuned (ha, ha) for future tips.

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