In Year 7 pupils work on three main topics in Music. These are: ‘Recycled Rhythms’; where pupils have the chance to explore different rhythms and make a whole composition with a focus on creative use of timbre (sound) from junk items in the style of the band STOMP, The Planets ; where lessons will encourage creative thinking to link pieces of art with musical ideas and performances and ‘Jammin’Jazz’; where pupils will learn about Jazz and Blues music. Within each of these topics pupils will have the opportunity to discover improvisation techniques, instrument skills and use music technology such as GarageBand and various iPad apps.
In Year 8 pupils work on three main topics in Music. These topics lead from and develop skills encountered in Year 7, the three topics are Film Music, Music of Africa and Rock ‘n’ Roll. In the Film Music topic the pupils become familiar with conventions of film scores and using Garageband to create their own film score. The African Music module emphasis is on group work and syncopated rhythms with pupils performing and composing their own drumming piece. In Rock ‘n’ Roll the pupils will be taught simple guitar chords and notation methods for pop music and they have the opportunity to put together their own songs using the musical and creative skills they have gained so far.
In KS4 the Music department leads pupils either through a heavily practical Performing Arts GCSE course where dance, drama or music is each pupil’s focus or through GCSE Music.
In GCSE Performing Arts the pupils are given the opportunity to try out different Performing Arts areas before deciding which area each individual wishes to focus on. The three areas pupils may choose from are Drama, Music or Dance (in some cases a combination of areas is allowed if the pupil is strong in all three disciplines). The GCSE is 60% coursework and in this pupils complete an audit on their strength and weaknesses, write a detailed development plan for themselves, research a career in the industry and write a plan of a show they would like to produce. The final 40 % is an assessed performance. In this assessed performance the pupils will be placed in groups of five (approximately) and they will be given a title/theme which they must create a performance around, each pupil must be on stage for 4-5 minutes and their performance will be assessed by an external examiner.
In GCSE Music the pupils choose which instrument they wish to study and they attend weekly lessons on this with our team of peripatetic staff. Over the course they complete two performances; one solo and one ensemble (worth 30% of the GCSE mark). The rest of the GCSE is made up of two compositions (worth 30% of the marks) and the final 40% is a listening exam which includes a wide range of music from Baroque to pop. The lessons are mostly practical In nature, teaching compositional skills and ensemble performance skills as well as knowledge of what to listen for in different genres of music with the aim of developing musicians who have their own musical opinions and can articulate those opinions and ideas clearly.