Music

Departmental approach to the curriculum

‘A high-quality music education should engage and inspire pupils to develop a love of music and their talent as musicians, and so increase their self-confidence, creativity and sense of achievement.’ Department of Education, National Curriculum.

The ethos of the music department at Rickmansworth School is to promote learning through creativity and practical music making, which will enable each child to reach their full potential in music. At KS3 students are taught about the key elements of music such as rhythm, pitch, harmony and how to read music, whilst developing the three core skills: performing, composing and listening. We believe that music is a verb and that students learn through doing, and as such lessons are designed to get students actively involved in music making as quick as possible. This is to ensure that practice time in each lesson is maximised allowing for considered, reflective and conscientious musical decisions to be made. We believe that a hands-on practical approach to the subject encourages students to enjoy singing, composing and performing, whilst providing students with the opportunity and skills to perform in front of an audience both within and outside of the School.

Currently we have two full time teachers delivering curriculum music at Rickmansworth School to all KS3 classes for two hours per fortnight; five hours for each year group at KS4; and seven hours for each year group at KS5. Both teachers are specialists with BA Honours degrees in music and post graduate degrees in classroom music. We have a purpose-built block with an ICT suit, recording studio, class keyboard room, student instrument storage and seven practise rooms. We also have a large selection of instrumentation students can use.

Students have many opportunities through curricular and extra-curricular music to perform and expand their intellectual curiosity outside of the classroom. We have termly concerts, an annual carol service, a School musical/drama production, a cross-curricular evening of performance with the dance department and other small performance events across the calendar year. Students can also enrol in the instrumental tuition programme and receive one-to-one lessons with a specialist in School. For Pupil Premium students instrumental lessons are paid for from allocated funding for one instrument with free instrument hire where applicable. At GCSE and A Level, a contribution to the cost of instrumental lessons, private or in-school, is made to support the cost of ongoing tuition. It is not compulsory for students to have weekly lessons to choose GCSE or A Level Music, however we recognise that many students are already receiving tuition and as such funding is in place to support this. For further information on instrumental lessons please see the Parental FAQs section.

We offer both GCSE and A Level music as a progression from KS3 with students successfully continuing music at university at institutions such as the Royal Academy of Music, Trinity College London and King’s College London. Rickmansworth School Alumni students have also successfully acquired professional status in the music industry in a variety of job roles.


 

Long Term Curriculum Overviews

Year 7

As a partially selective school we accept 20% of our year 7 on their Musical Aptitude and potential in Music. As such, we see a varied background in the core skills we cover across the curriculum. It is therefore our priority to provide a wide and accessible curriculum that challenges the full range of abilities we see, giving all students a chance to excel and achieve. Through the many opportunities provided by the Music Department, we ensure that student potential can be reached fully, with suitable challenges that develop their overall musicianship skills. 

We provide leadership opportunities through our Music Ambassador Programme for the students who gain their place on Musical Aptitude and Ability throughout KS3, and other aspiring young musicians you go on to GCSE and A Level. The programme includes a variety of activities students must engage in across each year with the responsibilities becoming more expansive as they continue through to A Level. These range from termly performances as a soloist, regular attendance to extra-curricular music clubs and promotion/helping out behind the scenes during music events, but can lead as far as running ensembles for the department when in KS5.

Schemes for Learning change every half term across KS3 so each year group will complete six topics in their respective year group. The schemes cover a variety of subject areas exploring the core skills of music (Performing, Composing and Listening) in new settings. As such students develop the ability to perform using their voice and a range of musical instruments as individuals and in group settings, as well as expanding their creativity through composition work, producing work in pairs or groups at particular points in the year.

Students will learn about a wide range of musical styles from various parts of the world and apply the skills and knowledge learnt through practical activities in an authentic way, i.e. appropriate instrumentation for the scheme to create meaningful learning experiences with transferable skills. We are also moving towards a paperless KS3 incorporating Google Classroom with Bring Your Own Device in schemes and lessons to ensure students are becoming skilled in how ICT can be used in Music.

We allow students the opportunity to work independently in small groups under a remote supervision risk assessment. This means that for short periods of time within a lesson students are able to work in smaller groups in the many practise rooms we have available without total teacher supervision. We take considerable care and consideration in our approach to this as to ensure all students are working appropriately and safely. As such, the quality of learning experiences and the environment in which lessons take place offers a more valuable and personal approach to tasks/activities.

Year 8

 

As per year 7 Schemes for Learning change every half term across KS3 so each year group will complete six topics. The schemes continue to cover a variety of subject areas exploring the core skills of music, but with added challenge and expectation in outcome. As such students develop the ability to perform using their voice and a range of musical instruments as individuals and in group settings to a more sophisticated level, appropriately preparing them for their final year of Key stage 3 Music.

Throughout year 8 we continue to provide leadership opportunities through our Music Ambassador Programme for the students who gain their place on Musical Aptitude and Ability in year 7. The programme includes a variety of activities students must engage in across each year with the responsibilities becoming more expansive as they continue through Key stage 3. These range from termly performances as a soloist, regular attendance to extra-curricular music clubs and promotion/helping out behind the scenes during music events, but can lead as far as running ensembles for the department when in KS5. All students have the opportunity to engage in these activities and are not at a disadvantage if their place at the school was not obtained through the music selection process.

Year 9

Throughout year 9 we begin to extend the leadership opportunities through our Music Ambassador Programme through tailored group settings and extension tasks that challenge the skills of those students, but also those who are showing promise or interest at studying Music at GCSE. The freedom in creative choices across the year becomes more expansive as they continue through the Schemes for Learning that broaden their awareness of the core skills in music. 

The aim at the end of KS3 is to have successfully prepared students for what the next steps in Music can be should they wish to continue to GCSE. As the school expands its provision of Bring Your Own Device to all year groups in September 2019, there will be more opportunities to incorporate Music Technology, Musicology and the Musical Elements.

Year 10 and 11

At KS4 we follow the Edexcel Specification for Music. Please see below for further information including  why we follow this specification, key features, a break down of components and support:

Why we follow Edexcel:

Clear and coherent structure – the qualification has a straightforward structure with

three engaging components, assessed through practical performances, compositions

and one externally examined paper.

 

Provides a real music focus – the key content of musical elements, musical contexts

and musical language are taught through the areas of study and set works to show

real examples of how these are used within different types of music.

 

Holistic understanding of music – students investigate, analyse and evaluate music

and its features. Building on this, and by using practical methods, students are

encouraged to take a more holistic view of their knowledge, performance and

compositional skills.

 

Breadth and depth – the set works enable students to conduct in-depth studies into

different musical styles and genres, and put them in a wider context.

 

Diverse musical heritage – students will learn to perform, compose and appreciate

different types of music, developing critical and creative thinking, cultural, aesthetic

and emotional awareness, and the ability to make music individually and as part of a

group.

 

Continuous progression – the content builds on the understanding developed at Key

Stage 3, avoiding unnecessary repetition while also ensuring that students new to the

subject are appropriately supported.

 

Progression to AS and A Level – the content allows students to develop their

knowledge and skills of music, enabling them to progress into the AS and A Level

qualifications in Music.

 

Key Features:

 

Inspiring the next generation of musicians

  • The qualifications will support students in forming personal and meaningful relationships with music through the development of musical knowledge, understanding and skills.

 

Engaging range of set works to nurture in-depth musical understanding

  • Designed to allow the teacher to teach engaging content through the context of the areas of study and set works.

 

Wider listening to build transferable appraising skills

  • Includes wider listening that relates to the areas of study, helping to prepare students for appraising unfamiliar music in the exam, and understanding the wider context of pieces.

 

Clear performance and composition grids to help you understand the standard

  • Straightforward assessment grids enable the teacher to understand what students need to achieve in their performances and compositions, ensuring they can be applied accurately, which will help to track student progress throughout the course.

 

Component break down:

 

Component 1: Performing (*Paper code: 1MU0/01)

Non-examined assessment: internally marked and externally moderated

30% of the qualification

60 marks

Content overview

  • Solo performing

  • Ensemble performing

  • Approaches to performing

Assessment overview

  • Students perform for at least 4 minutes’ combined duration

  • Solo performance: this must be of at least 1 minute in duration, and may comprise one or more pieces

  • Ensemble performance: this must be of at least 1 minute in duration, and may comprise one or more pieces

  • Each performance will be out of 30 marks

  • Internally marked and externally moderated

 

Component 2: Composing (*Paper code: 1MU0/02)

Non-examined assessment: internally marked and externally moderated

30% of the qualification

60 marks

Content overview            

  • Developing musical ideas

  • Compositional techniques and strategies

  • Ensuring technical control and coherence

  • Methods of notating composition scores

Assessment overview

  • Students compose two compositions, of at least 3 minutes’ combined duration

  • One composition to a brief set by Pearson, of at least 1 minute in duration

  • One free composition set by the student, of at least 1 minute in duration.

  • Each composition will be out of 30 marks

  • Internally marked and externally moderated

 

Component 3: Appraising (*Paper code: 1MU0/03)

Written examination: 1 hour and 45 minutes

40% of the qualification

80 marks

Content overview

  • Musical elements, musical contexts and musical language

  • Areas of study:

– Instrumental Music 1700–1820

– Vocal Music

– Music for Stage and Screen

– Fusions

 

Support:

 

Each student will have access to a wide range of resources that fully prepares them for the course. Additional resources may be purchased if you feel further consolidation or support is needed, however this is not compulsory:

 

  • Rhinegold Listening Questions, ISBN 978-1785581670

  • Rhinegold Study Guide, ISBN 978-1785581663

  • Rhinegold Revision Guide, ISBN 978-1785581687

 

The Edexcel website also offers a range of resources that can be accessed without a registered account. Theses include sample assessments and practise papers as well as study guides for each set work:

https://qualifications.pearson.com/en/qualifications/edexcel-gcses/music-2016.html

The department is made available to students to work on coursework or general consolidation/revision of work covered in class from Monday through Thursday each week. For year 11, weekly booster sessions are in place which follow a specific plan dependant on student needs. The department also run a Spring Revision Workshop in the lead up to the summer exam.

Headphones are essential to the course as they are used so frequently, not only for coursework but also for listening questions and resources. Headphones would have to be 3.5m male jack to jack stereo as the computers are not bluetooth compatible.

Regular revision is key to long term success. We encourage students to complete six minutes a day of practise questions. This is something that can be done with parent/carer supervision or inclusion. Developing a series of flash cards for each Area of Study is also an effective method of recall, but also to include you as parent/carers in your child’s revision.

Year 12 and 13

At KS5 we follow the Edexcel Specification for Music. Please see below for further information including  why we follow this specification, key features, a break down of components and support:

 

Why we follow Edexcel:

Clear and coherent structure – the qualification has a straightforward structure with

three engaging components, assessed through practical performances, compositions

and one externally examined paper.

Provides a real music focus – the key content of musical elements, musical contexts

and musical language are taught through the areas of study and set works to show

real examples of how these are used within different types of music.

 

Holistic understanding of music – students investigate, analyse and evaluate music

and its features. Building on this, and by using practical methods, students are

encouraged to take a more holistic view of their knowledge, performance and

compositional skills.

 

Breadth and depth – the set works enable students to conduct in-depth studies into

different musical styles and genres, and put them in a wider context.

 

Diverse musical heritage – students will learn to perform, compose and appreciate

different types of music, developing critical and creative thinking, cultural, aesthetic

and emotional awareness, and the ability to make music individually and as part of a

group.

 

Continuous progression – the content builds on the understanding developed at Key

Stage 4, avoiding unnecessary repetition while also ensuring that students new to the

subject are appropriately supported.

 

Progression to Higher Education – the content allows students to develop their

knowledge and skills of music, enabling them to progress into undergraduate music or music related degree courses.

 

Key Features:

 

Inspiring the next generation of musicians

  • The qualifications will support students in forming personal and meaningful relationships with music through the development of musical knowledge, understanding and skills.

 

Engaging range of set works to nurture in-depth musical understanding

  • Designed to allow the teacher to teach engaging content through the context of the areas of study and set works.

 

Wider listening to build transferable appraising skills

  • Includes wider listening that relates to the areas of study, helping to prepare students for appraising unfamiliar music in the exam, and understanding the wider context of pieces.

 

Clear performance and composition grids to help you understand the standard

  • Straightforward assessment grids enable the teacher to understand what students need to achieve in their performances and compositions, ensuring they can be applied accurately, which will help to track student progress throughout the course.

 

Component break down:

 

Component 1: Performing (*Component code: 9MU0/01)

Non-examined assessment: internally marked and externally moderated

30% of the qualification

60 marks

Content overview

  • Approaches to performing

Assessment overview

  • A public performance of one or more pieces, performed as a recital

  • Performance can be playing or singing solo, in an ensemble, improvising, or realising music using music technology

  • The total performance time across all pieces must be a minimum of 8 minutes

  • Performances must be recorded after 1 March in the year of certification and all materials for assessment submitted to arrive by 15 May in the year of certification


 

Component 2: Composing (*Component code: 9MU0/02)

Non-examined assessment: internally marked and externally moderated

30% of the qualification

60 marks

Content overview            

  • Approaches to Composing

Assessment overview

  • A total of two compositions, one to a brief set by Pearson and one either free composition or also to a brief

  • One composition must be from either a list of briefs related to the areas of study, or a free composition, carrying 40 marks for this component. This composition must be at least 4 minutes in duration

  • One composition must be from a list of briefs assessing compositional technique, carrying 20 marks for this component. This composition must be at least 1 minute in duration, unless the brief specifies a longer minimum duration

  • The total time across both submissions must be a minimum of 6 minutes

 

Component 3: Appraising (*Component code: 9MU0/03)

Written examination: 90 minutes

40% of the qualification

100 marks

Content overview

  • Knowledge and understanding of musical elements, contexts and language

  • Application of knowledge through the context of six areas of study, each with three set works

– Vocal Music,

– Instrumental Music,

– Music for Film,

– Popular Music and Jazz,

– Fusions,

– New Directions.

  • Application of knowledge to unfamiliar works

 

Support:

 

Each student will have access to a wide range of resources that fully prepares them for the course. Additional resources may be purchased if you feel further consolidation or support is needed, however this is not compulsory:

 

  • Rhinegold Listening Questions, ISBN 978-1785581708

  • Rhinegold Study Guide, ISBN 978-1785581694

  • Rhinegold Revision Guide, ISBN 978-1785581724

 

The Edexcel website also offers a range of resources that can be accessed without a registered account. Theses include sample assessments and practise papers as well as study guides for each set work:

https://qualifications.pearson.com/en/qualifications/edexcel-a-levels/music-2016.html

 

The department is made available to students to work on coursework or general consolidation/revision of work covered in class from Monday through Thursday each week. For year 13, weekly booster sessions are in place which follow a specific plan dependant on student needs. The department also run a Spring Revision Workshop in the lead up to the summer exam.

 

Headphones are essential to the course as they are used so frequently, not only for coursework but also for listening questions and resources. Headphones would have to be 3.5m male jack to jack stereo as the computers are not bluetooth compatible.

 

Regular revision is key to long term success. We encourage students to complete six minutes a day of practise questions. This is something that can be done with parent/carer supervision or inclusion. Developing a series of flash cards for each Area of Study is also an effective method of recall, but also to include you as parent/carers in your child’s revision.

Wider Listening is a crucial part of the exam component for A Level Music. It is essential that the students keep a well organised log of works and pieces that related directly to significant musical points highlighted in the Set Works or Areas of Study covered across the course. In addition to a playlist of set works, students should start to develop a playlist of wider listening.

How can you help your child succeed in music?

Music theory apps for iOS and Android are very useful for developing/extending your knowledge of music theory. Most are free, but costs may be incurred for some applications so please make sure you are fully aware of the details of purchase costs before downloading.

One of the biggest challenges in Music can be the terms and elements used. The resources for this are vast and extensive, but searching ‘Musical Elements KS3’ will help get you started on the basics of musical literacy.

YouTube is an excellent resource. Almost anything in music can be found in the form of a lesson or tutorial; from learning a piece on an instrument to how to compose in four part harmony. If you are stuck in lessons or want to research and develop your interests further, use YouTube to guide your progress. 

Helpful websites and further information

 

As resources are updated and changed the sources often change too. The department provide a variety of resources either embedded ion schemes for learning or shared via Google Classroom.

KS4

https://qualifications.pearson.com/en/qualifications/edexcel-gcses/music-2016.html

KS5

https://qualifications.pearson.com/en/qualifications/edexcel-a-levels/music-2016.html