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Music Report

28.0 MUSIC (511)

The year 2010 KCSE Music Examination comprised of three papers 1, 2 and 3 as follows:Paper 1 (51 1/1):Practical Performance - 50 marks

Paper 2 (51 1/2):Aural Skills - 50 marks
Paper 3 (51 l/3):Basic Skills - 100 marks
Total - 200 marks

The three papers covered a wide range of skills across the syllabus. All the main topics of the syllabus were covered.


The table below shows the candidates general performance in KCSE Music (511) examination for four years from 2007 to 2010. Practical performance and Aural Skills have been combined as paper 1 (Practical Paper) while Paper 2 consists of Basic Skills, History, Analysis and General Music knowledge.

Table: Candidates Overall Performance in KCSE Music from 2007 to 2010

Year Paper Candidature Maximum
Mean Score Standard
2007 1
1301 100
2008 1
2009 1
2010 1

From the table above, the following observations can be made.

28.1.1 The candidature registered a lower figure compared to the previous year 2009.
28.1.2 Both papers 1 and 2, and in general the whole paper recorded a decline in perfonriance. The 2010 performance was the lowest in the last four years. The Music examination may have been more challenging compared to the previous three years.


The practical performance paper comprised of presentations in each of the following four areas:
African piece, own choice (song, dance, instrument) - 15 marks
Western set piece (Voice or Instrument) - 15 marks
Technical Exercise (As prescribed in syllabus) - 10 marks
Sigh singing/Sight reading - 10 marks

Candidates were required to have prepared and practiced items in each of the four areas above except for sight singing/sight reading which was presented to the candidate in the examination room.

Candidates performed quite well iii this paper except for sight singing. Sight singing was poorly performed by most candidates. Most of them scored between 0 and 3 out of 10 marks. In fact some of them could not even start the first note.

It was evident that most candidates had not been exposed to sight singing.
The few candidates, who did well, were not able to maintain the tempo and fluency.
Fault startand wrong pitches were common errors.

Advice to the teachers

Sight singing is a skill that is developed from the early stages of learning music. Students should start sight singing lessons by just clapping rhythms, singing pitches through reading and dictation. Simple melodies should be used in forms one and two as required by the syllabus.


This was a practical examination which tested candidates listening and hearing skills. It also tested the candidates ability to write nmsic which he/she had listened to. This area covers the most important skills of a musician.
Instructions in this paper were administered through a pre-recorded cassette player.
There were 5 items covering the following areas:
Test one Rhythm - 20 marks
Test two : Melody - 20 marks
Test three : Intervals - 3 marks
Test four : Cadences - 4 marks
Test five : Modulation - 3 marks

Performance in this paper was average however, test two "Melody Writing" seemed difficult to most candidates.

In test two, the candidates were required to listen to two four bar melodies and then write them in staff notation.
The two melodies one in major and one in minor were played in phrases to enable the candidate internalize them

Expected Response

The candidates were expected to write the notes currently in the staff The notes were expected to be correct in both pitch and rhythm.


It was evident that most candidates had not developed listening skills in this area. Some of them failed to write the melody correctly because they tried to write it as it was being played.

Advice to the teacher

Candidates, through ear training lessons should learn how to listen before writing. It is important that they listen and internalize the melody before proceeding to write.
This area requires regular and consistent practice.

28.5 PAPER 3 (511/3)

This paper covered Basic Skills History, Analysis and General Music knowledge in three sections A, B and C.

Questions in this paper covered all the topics of the syllabus as required.

Although, performance in this paper was average, it recorded a decline compared to that of 2009. The 2010 KCSE Music Paper 2 was the lowest in the last four years.
Generally, candidates had difficulties in tackling questions 1(b), 6(a), 6(b), 6(d), 7(b) and 7(d).

Question 1(b)
Using staff notation, write a melody and set it to the text below and
phrase marks (12 marks)


Very few candidates attempted this question and the few performed poorly. Most of those who attempted this were average and the poor candidates.
Candidates had very little idea of answering this question, for example, some did not write the words under the music. Such candidates lost all the marks. Some of them were not able to identify the accentuated syllable and also the word divisions.
Candidates who wrote their music on monotone lost all the marks in the question since the requirement was to write a melody.

Advice to teachers

Teachers should cover both aspects of melody writing i.e. completing melodies and composing melodies to given words so that candidates have a choice.
Candidates should be enconraged to practice reading and reciting poems in English and Kiswahili and also identifying accents and phrases from the same.

Question 6

This question was based on a famous American folk song arrangement, �Shenando' by James Erb. Candidates were required to have studied the prescribed work in both forms audio and the score. The candidates were required to use the score for reference in the examination.


Almost all students found this topic difficult except for a few bright ones. It was evident that most of the candidates had problems with score reading. They lacked the basics of score reading and therefore could not use the score to answer questions instead they answered from memory. There were errors in naming bars where the answers came from. Most candidates had not mastered the vocabulary used in music analysis and therefore did not understand the questions.

It was also evident that most of the students had not analyzed any musical work except the prescribed work for the year 2010. Such candidate had a lot of limitations in this area.

Advice to teachers

Students should be exposed to the skills of analysis in their early stages of secondary school. All the music performed by students should be analyzed in the class.

Skills in analysis should be developed gradually using simple music like melodies, hymns to more complex music like symphonies.

Candidates should be taught to listen and read the score at the same time.
More discussions relating to the prescribed works should be encouraged in the class

Question 7
This question covered all areas of the syllabus including Western and African music. Candidates required the knowledge and skills acquired in the course to answer questions in this area.
Two questions 7C(i) and 7a seemed difficult to the candidates.

7C(i) State any three melodic capabilities of Orutu as compared to Obokano.
Expected Responses include:
Orutu is melodic while Obokan is ostinato
Orutu is high pitched while Obokano is low pitched
Orutu has a bright resonant tone while Obokano has a low tone.


Most candidates lost marks for writing half answer, they did not give the comparison of the two instruments.
Advice to teachers
Candidates should be encouraged to read through questions and understand before answering.
7(d) Candidates were required to study the music of the Kenya National
Anthem and then answer very simple questions about it e.g.
(i) Identify the title of the piece
(ii) Name the term which describes the third ending of the piece.


The candidates were not able to answer the simple question just because they did not identify the tune, they did not try to sing even the first bar.

Advice to teachers

Teachers should reinforce the sight reading skills among learners. Learners should be encouraged to study any music given for examination.


28.6.1 It was observed that candidates answered questions before understanding them clearly and that is why tasks that required comparison were poorly performed.
28.6.2 It is therefore recommended that they practice reading and answering various types of questions using past papers.

28.6.3 There is need for the candidates to be exposed to a lot of Aural practices and sight reading exercises.
28.6.4 Candidates should be advised to read and understand questions before answering.


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