Head of Music: Mrs K Sidwell
The music curriculum has been designed to provide students with a balance of musical knowledge and musical skills to support students to improve their understanding of different genres of music through performing, composing, listening and appraising.
It is my intention to 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. As pupils progress though school they should develop a critical engagement with music, allowing them to compose, and to listen with discrimination and perform focusing on the inter-related dimensions of music.
Key Stage 3
We teach the KS3 curriculum in Year 7, 8 and 9 with topics in a specific order to build on the knowledge and skills learnt and developed in the previous topic focusing on the elements of music, following the national curriculum.
In Year 7 students cover the following topics:
- What is Music: Learning about the elements of music and different instruments, looking at the elements of music using the Djembes and learning about the history of this instrument.
- Duration: Understanding rhythm and written notation and using the elements of music to perform Samba music and learning about the culture of Brazilian carnival.
- Pitch: Understanding treble clef and learning to play the keyboard.
- Famous Classical Composers: Learning about different classical composers and learning to play Fur Elise and other classic pieces on the keyboard.
- Chords and Ukuleles: Learn about chord structures using the ukulele.
- Composition: Using the elements of music to compose music and graphic scores to notate, inspired by Benjamin Britten’s ‘Peter Grimes’ Opera.
In Year 8 students cover the following topics:
- Blues and Jazz: Learning about the development of Blues and Jazz music and their influence on pop music. This will include learning about Ragtime, the history of blues and jazz and the 12-bar blues. Students will develop their skills on the keyboard, reading notation, improvising and listening to music
- History of Pop Music: Students will learn about the development of pop music throughout the 20th and 21st century, using a variety of instruments and listening to many different genres.
- Composition: ‘The Planets’ – students will develop their composition skills inspired by Gustav Holst’s Planet Suite.
- Folk Music: Learning about traditional British folk music and developing performing and listening skills.
- Computer Game Music: Learn about music in popular culture and develop performing skills.
- Film Music: Students will learn to understand film music by playing film music, listening and appraising film music and using music technology to compose their own film music.
In Year 9, students choose two Creative and Expressive Arts options from Drama, Fine Art, Music and Photography. Choosing two Creative and Expressive Arts subjects allows students to have more time to develop a broader range of skills, which will make the transition easier at GCSE. Students cover the following topics:
- Bank Project and Great Musicians: Students will learn about great musicians and will take inspiration from these to develop their own performance skills in a band project.
- Chrome Song Maker Composition: Students will use Chrome Song Maker to develop their music technology and composing skills.
- Solo Performance: Students will spend time developing their individual practice and performance skills.
- Music Theory and Sibelius: Students will use focus on sound to develop their music theory knowledge and then learn to use the notation program Sibelius for composition.
- DAW Composition: Students will use the software Mixcraft to created their own music composition.
- The History of Music: Students will learn about the history of western classical music through a range of performing, composing and listening activities.
Key Stage 4
At Key Stage 4 students can choose to study Pearson Edexcel GCSE Music.
The course covers performing, composing and listening in a wide variety of musical styles – popular music, world music, and classical music. There are opportunities to use music technology such as sequencing and recording. The three course components are:
- Performance NEA (30% of final grade): 2 performances, a minimum of 1 solo (minimum 1 minute) and a minimum of 1 Ensemble piece (minimum 1 minute). Performances must be a total minimum of 4 minutes across the solo and ensemble pieces.
- Composing NEA (30% of final grade): 2 compositions, 1 to a set brief (minimum 1 minute) and 1 free composition (minimum 1 minute). Compositions must be a total minimum of 3 minutes.
- Appraising Exam (40% of final grade): Exam 1hr 45mins. Comprises of 4 areas of study with 2 set works each:
- Instrumental Music 1700–1820
- Vocal Music
- Music for Stage and Screen
What can I do with a GCSE Music qualification?
GCSE Music is a good preparation for further musical study. Students may also wish to take a GCSE in Music simply because they enjoy music and want to further develop their skills and knowledge. Students may wish to go into a job where it is useful to have had experience of music or where they will need to use some of the skills developed during this course. These might include careers in the music industry, publishing, entertainment and teaching, or any job, which involves communication and expressive skills.