Music

Introduction

Music is a unique form of communication that can change the way students feel, think and act. Music forms part of our identity so a good experience of it will raise young people’s self-esteem and develop their social confidence.  These values are at the heart of the curriculum and everything we do beyond it.

The music department operates from a purpose built area within the school.  It has a main teaching room with associated control-room and around this five further smaller practice rooms. These give the department great flexibility in allowing small or larger groups of students to work unhindered. In each year group pupils are taught through a combination of listening, composing and performing activities covering many genres of music and its history. They explore music making before being given time and space to create, rehearse and refine their work. Performing forms a major part and a place for the enjoyment of the subject.  A key focus throughout is the exploration of melody, harmony and rhythm which stimulates their musical interests at any level.

In Key Stage 3, our first aim is to get students involved: to raise their confidence in singing and in instrument playing.  We also want students to have a lot of fun, both individually and in small groups, as they devise, create and then perform their pieces.  All work is recorded, either as an mp3 or video recording for both formative assessment and evidence of work completed.

Year 7

What makes my music? Pupils are introduced to the department and immediately begin to explore their sound environment through a series of activities exploring the elements of music.  They undertake several instant composition and performance tasks before completing a baseline test to gauge all prior knowledge.

Areas of Study:  Listening and appraising, composing then performing.

Graphic Scores We explore how musicians can write their music in a number of ways over KS3.  Here we look at how composition can be realised through shapes and symbols.

Assessment:      

Areas of Study:  Composing    

  • Peer assessment of work as it progresses
  • Quality of notation/written composition work
  • Exploration and experimentation of instruments and techniques
  • Individual contribution and team work skill
  • Staff level for work
  • Self-assessment tasks

World Music 1 – Japan

We look at the traditional music of Japan exploring texture and timbre.  A combination of listening and performing tasks lead to the composition of a typical piece for Japanese flute.

Areas of Study:  Listening, performing then composing

Assessment:          

  • Peer assessment of work as it progresses
  • Quality of notation/written composition work
  • Exploration and experimentation with authenticity of sound
  • Individual contribution and team work skills
  • Staff level for work
  • Self-assessment tasks

Keyboards in Action  Much of music making is done on keyboards.  This unit of work focuses on how we can use them creatively, getting to grips with some of the many functions available.  Simple melodies and chords are used to allow pupils to explore the instruments and develop basic playing skills.  Teacher assessment takes place throughout the unit, with ever increasing levels of difficulty encountered by the students.

Areas of Study:  Performing

Assessment:      

  • Peer assessment of work as it progresses
  • Quality of notation/written composition work
  • Exploration and experimentation with authenticity of sound
  • Individual contribution and team work skills
  • Staff level for work
  • Self-assessment tasks

 

Year 8

Medieval Music  In year 8 we begin by going back in time and exploring ancient modes, listening to music from a long lost era before trying our hand and creating our own compositions in a medieval style.  Pupils compare their work both with original material and later each other.

Areas of Study:  Listening, composing then performing.

Assessment:          

  • Peer assessment of work as it progresses
  • Quality of notation/written composition work
  • Exploration and experimentation of instruments and techniques
  • Individual contribution and team work skill
  • Staff level for work
  • Self-assessment tasks

Songwriting – Covers

Areas of Study:  Listening and performing

We explore a Coldplay song and in small groups recreate our own cover versions.  We use technology to help find the key elements of part.  After researching the melody chords and bass lines we then develop these into individual group pieces.

  • Peer assessment of work as it progresses
  • Quality of notation/written composition work
  • Exploration and experimentation of instruments and techniques
  • Individual contribution and team work skill
  • Staff level for work
  • Self-assessment tasks

Structure & Form  - Theme and Variations

Areas of Study: Composing, listening & appraising the composition

Part two of looking into structure is taking a tune and playing about with it to change it as much as possible.  Following an extensive listening exercise, pupils are encouraged to explore presenting as unique a piece of work as they can.  They discover new musical devices to include in their work.  Initial ideas are shared in class before composition properly begins with a partner.

Assessment:          

  • Peer assessment of work as it progresses
  • Quality of notation/written composition work
  • Exploration and experimentation of instruments and techniques
  • Individual contribution and team work skill
  • Staff level for work
  • Self-assessment tasks

 

Western Classical Tradition

Our journey through the musical timeline continues as we explore western classical music.  The focus moves towards recognising key instruments and how they can be played as well as listening to some of the great works of the classical and romantic period.

Areas of Study:  Listening and appraising

Assessment:          

  • Peer assessment of work as it progresses
  • Quality of notation/written composition work
  • Exploration and experimentation of instruments and techniques
  • Individual contribution and team work skill
  • Staff level for work
  • Self-assessment tasks

 

 

 

 

 

 

GCSE Music

The Music Department aims to develop a deep understanding and appreciation of different kinds of music and to fire up enthusiasm to look a little further. We explore the diverse and dynamic heritage of music and the essential role it has played, and continues to play, in the spiritual, moral, ethical, social and cultural lives of people from around the world, both in the past and right now.

What is the course content?

Students will be encouraged to explore a wide variety of musical styles and periods from 1600 to the present day.  They will do this through listening & appraising exercises, composing to a variety of briefs and performing in both solo and ensemble situations.  It is a requirement of the course that as musicians students will engage in learning an instrument of their own choice.  Those who take lessons outside of the classroom are encouraged to work on pieces with their teachers to prepare for this.  Others will be guided to keyboard and or vocal work in lesson time and targets set accordingly.

Students will also be encouraged to critically examine the works of other artists across several genre. The research and study of artists and artwork will include the production of written elements to support practical work. A great deal of emphasis will be placed on students’ personal and creative responses.  They will be encouraged to use a diary in which to record their ideas and plans along the way

Homework will be set regularly to support and strengthen class work.  A rolling program of more in depth one to one time is available to those who attend after school sessions.

Assessment: Students follow the WJEC/EDUQAS course.  This is assessed in year 11 through 3 components: Component 1 – Performing music 30%  Component 2 – Composing music 30% Component 3 – Appraising music 40%

 

The Key Stage 4 course follows the WJEC/EDUQAS Music GCSE Examination

Year 9 & 10

We begin preparation for GCSE music by exploring the basics of Western notation.  We look at early ensembles from the Baroque and Classical periods.  As being a performer forms a large part of the course we begin looking at performing as a soloist on their chosen instruments.  Composition tasks, short and targeted reinforce both theory and practical sessions.  We begin using SIBELIUS notational software.

Assessment:

  • Peer assessment and discussion of work in progress
  • Individual targets according to needs within performance and composition tasks
  • Staff levelling of work
  • Self-assessment tasks

We move onto working with lyrics. Explore key signatures and associated notations through the Area of Study 4 – Popular Music.  We research pop styles and begin developing ensemble performance pieces.  We look at Christmas pieces and attempt writing Christmas songs or carols.

Assessment:

  • Peer assessment and discussion of work in progress
  • Individual targets according to needs within performance and composition tasks
  • Staff levelling of work
  • Self-assessment tasks

In the spring term we prepare solo pieces for performance.  We continue composing short task pieces exploring new ideas in harmony and rhythm.  We revise previous work and research another time period in music.  We look at cadences, chords beyond block harmony and using Roman numerals for notation.  We explore composing using 4 chord tricks and revisit SIBELIUS software to help notate.

  • Peer assessment and discussion of work in progress
  • Individual targets according to needs within performance and composition tasks
  • Staff levelling of work
  • Self-assessment tasks

Summer term is spent revisiting all areas covered so far.  We explore composing again focussing on how to develop chords and adding bass lines.  We go into extended melody writing and look at simple musical structures to plan around.  We continue preparing for both solo and ensemble opportunities. .  We look at later ensembles from the Romantic and Neo-Classical periods.   We end the year composing to a set brief in a similar style to that set by the examining board.

  • Peer assessment and discussion of work in progress
  • Individual targets according to needs within performance and composition tasks
  • Staff levelling of work
  • Self-assessment tasks

 

Year 11

Autumn Term

Students begin the year by revisiting almost every aspect of their music making since the start of the course.  We begin work on the set brief provided by the board and compose an extended piece showing as many of the skills now learnt as we can.  We continue to work on our playing/singing technique in preparation for an examination day in the February. Where appropriate, students will be marked according to formal GCSE grades and effort levels.

Spring Term

We listen to, critique and analyse a huge amount of music covering different forms and structures, types of ensemble, film music and popular music including Bhangra and Fusion. We complete all composing for both the externally set work and a free choice composition.  We ensure it is both recorded/performed and notated to the best of our ability.

Summer Term

We revise much of the theory covered in years 10&11 supported by listening examples and revision exercises.  We use, where available, past paper questions or questions created in house in the style of those found in the final listening examination.


Tel: 01736 788501