Music

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Key Stage 3

The ethos of the Music Department is to promote learning through creativity and practical music making. At KS3 students are taught about the key principles of music such as Rhythm, Pitch, Harmony and how to read music, whilst developing the three key skills of Performing, Composing and Listening.

Students develop the ability to perform using their voice and a range of musical instruments, as an individual and in a range of groups. They will develop their creativity through composition work, producing a range of pieces from expressive group compositions to precisely presented written scores.

Students also engage with and learn about music from a wide range of countries, cultures and time periods. Some of the styles covered are:

  • Classical Music
  • Popular Music
  • Jazz and Blues
  • Music from Latin America

The Music department also benefits from a fully equipped Apple Mac Music Suite, allowing students access to the latest music software and the world of computer-generated music.

 

Key Stage 4

At KS4 Music students follow the OCR syllabus. This syllabus is chosen as it provides the students with an excellent balance of theoretical understanding, creativity and the ability to focus on a musical style of their choice.

The course is divided into three main areas:

  1. Coursework - 60%: Performing, Composing and Musical Analysis 
  2. Creative Task -15%: An exam conditioned composition
  3. Listening Exam - 25%: A series of listening tests, based on music studied during the course

The students study a wide range of music from across a range of time and cultures, grouped into four Areas of Study:

  1. My Music: Music of their own choice
  2. Shared Music: Focused on how different ensembles work together
  3. Dance Music: A range of dance music from Waltz to Disco
  4. Descriptive Music: The expressive potential of music

Students have extensive access the school’s Apple Mac Music Suite as an aid for composition and research. The school will also provide instrumental performance lessons up to 30 minutes per week (33 weeks per year), to aid with the preparation of performance coursework.

 

Key Stage 5 - AS Course

At KS5 Music students continue follow the OCR syllabus, providing excellent continuity and development from the GCSE Syllabus. The AS and A2 courses both follow a very similar format, being divided into three units.

  1. Performing - 40%
  2. Composing - 30%
  3. Historical Study - 30%


Performing 1 – Students present two recitals to a visiting examiner. The first is a solo recital on their primary instrument, with a maximum length of eight minutes. A standard of approximately grade 5/6 is required for full marks.

The second recital is a maximum of four minutes, with the same standard expectation and is a choice from the following options:

  • A second, different instrument
  • An ensemble
  • Improvisation based on a stimulus
  • Performing your own composition

The school will also provide instrumental performance lessons up to one hour per week (33 weeks per year), to aid with the preparation of their recitals.

Composing 1 – This unit is also divided into two sections. In section A students learn about the fundamental principles of Western Tonal Harmony, and complete a portfolio of composition tasks throughout the year. In section B students have much more freedom and must produce a three minute composition, for four to eight instruments, in any style they choose.

Students have extensive access to the school’s Apple Mac Music Suite as an aid for composition and research, and will become particularly familiar with the notation software “Sibelius”. 

Introduction to Historical Study – Students develop analytical and listening skills in preparation for a listening and written exam, based on two sets of prescribed works.

  • The 18th/early 19th century Orchestra
  • Jazz 1920-60
 

Key Stage 5 - A2 Course

At KS5 Music students continue follow the OCR syllabus, providing excellent continuity and development from the GCSE Syllabus. The AS and A2 courses both follow a very similar format, being divided into three units.

  1. Performing - 40%
  2. Composing - 30%
  3. Historical Study - 30%


Performing 2 –
Students present one longer solo recital to a visiting examiner. The recital is on their primary instrument, with a maximum length of fifteen minutes. A standard of approximately grade 6/7 is required for full marks. The recital must be link by a single focus, and the recital is expected to demonstrate an understanding of the conventions of this focus.

The school will also provide instrumental performance lessons up to one hour per week (33 weeks per year), to aid with the preparation of their recitals.

Composing 2 – This unit is also divided into two sections. In section A students develop their understanding of Western Tonal Harmony through a specific stylistic study, and again complete a portfolio of composition tasks throughout the year. In section B students must produce a four minute composition in response to a stimulus of their own choice.

Students have extensive access the school’s Apple Mac Music Suite as an aid for composition and research, and will become particularly familiar with the notation software “Sibelius”. 

Historical and Analytical Studies in Music– Students develop their analytical and listening skills further in preparation for a listening and written exam, based on two areas of study.

  • The Setting of Text – the relationship of words and music
  • Popular Music 
 

Extra-curricular Music

Instrumental lessons can be taken on all orchestral and popular instruments, including piano and voice. These are run throughout the school day by a team of experienced teachers.

There is a charge for these lessons, although students taking GCSE and A Level Music receive free tuition.

The Music department run a wide range of instrumental groups, to cater for all abilities and interests of musicians, as well as providing the resources for students to run their own groups and rehearsals. These include:

  • Junior and Gospel Choirs
  • Orchestra
  • Big Band 
  • Soul Band
  • JazzCo – Junior Jazz group
  • Junior Strings
  • Samba Club
  • Guitar Ensemble

There is a full schedule of concerts throughout the school year, providing every student with an appropriate stage to perform. This includes:

  • School Concerts
  • School Musical
  • Song and Dance Show
  • Christmas Carol Service
  • Battle of the Bands
  • GCSE and A Level Recitals