The Music Department comprises of one full time member of staff and several visiting instrumental teachers.
Music is compulsory at KS3 and is taught for 2 hours each fortnight to all classes from Year 7 to Year 9. The study of Music at GCSE in Years 10 and 11 is optional, with many of those students often continuing their study in Further Education. The GCSE results have been consistently 100% A* – C in the last 16 years.
The department aims to provide students with a wide range of optional instrumental and vocal tuition. Currently we offer tuition in singing, strings (violin / viola/ cello), brass (trumpet / cornet / horn / trombone…), woodwind (flute, clarinet, oboe, saxophone…), guitar, keyboard and drums. These lessons take place during school time and times rotate on a weekly basis to minimise disruption to learning. There is a small charge for these lessons, though most of them are supplemented by school.
Key Stage 3
In Key Stage 3, pupils are taught for 2 hours each fortnight. Music is divided into 3 key areas: Listening and Appraising, Performing and Composing.
They study a range of styles, genres and traditions in order to widen their knowledge and gain different musical experiences. Topics include: Performing as an Ensemble, Musical Contrasts, Creating a Mood, Ways of Improvising, Conventions of African Music, Music for Special Events, Samba Music and Popular Music.
In Year 7, pupils are set a variety of baseline tests which include aural awareness/recognition, listening skills (current knowledge), application of knowledge, composition/improvisation task, and performance experience. These baseline test results are then used to set targets throughout Year 7,8 and 9.
The department is equipped with 19 keyboards which are used at Key Stage 3, with a variety of percussion instruments, including a set of African Djembe drums.
Key Stage 4
In Year 10 and 11, the department follows the AQA specification for GCSE music.
The course is divided into 3 units:
Component 1: Understanding Music
This unit is worth 40% of the overall GCSE marks, and takes place at the end of the 2-year course as an exam lasting 1 hour and 30 minutes.
There are 2 sections to this unit:
Section A is an exam paper with listening exercises and written questions using excerpts of music.
Section B is completed at the end of the listening section and involves the knowledge of 4 study pieces: Haydn’s Clock Symphony (2nd movement); With a Little Help from my Friends (The Beatles); Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds (The Beatles); Within You, Without You (The Beatles). Understanding music
Component 2: Performing Music
This unit is worth 30% of the overall GCSE marks, and takes place in the February of Year 11.
There is a requirement to perform 2 pieces of music totalling a minimum of 4 minutes.
One performance is a solo performance and the other one has to be an ensemble performance (with at least one other live performer). This ensemble performance has to last at least one minute.
Performances can take place on any instrument or by singing.
Component 3: Composing Music
This unit is worth 30% of the overall GCSE marks, and takes place throughout the 2-year course, with both composition being completed during Year 11.
There are 2 compositions to complete:
Composition 1: This is set by the exam board at the start of Year 11 and contains a choice of 4 different starting points.
Composition 2: Can be started throughout Year 10 and can be the candidate’s free choice of style.
Both compositions need to last a minimum of 3 minutes together.
The department also offers extra-curricular opportunities, such as a weekly choir which saw numbers of up to 50 in 2012 – 2013.
The choir has participated in a variety of festivals and concerts, including a joint concert with one of the feeder primary schools in July 2013. The choir was recently invited to take part in a concert for the Mayor on 12th November 2013, where they received a standing ovation!
For more information on Extra Curricular Activities please see Mrs Janes.
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