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Music and Music Technology

A GCSE-ready Music student will have skills to listen to, compose and perform music in a range of styles; to identify, evaluate and be responsive to western art music, and popular and traditional music from around the world. Students will develop confidence in performing techniques, listening skills and compositional knowledge while working cooperatively and reciprocally with others.

Skills, knowledge and understanding are built over three years at KS3.  Students work to a focussed mastery curriculum, structured and differentiated to meet the needs of wide-ranging student experience and musical skill.  They experience challenge, make progress and enjoy their lessons working through curriculum content on topics exploring a wide range of musical genres. This bridges learning gaps and differentiates to ensure all can access a GCSE curriculum at KS4.  The taught curriculum is enriched and enhanced further with opportunities and music provision in the form of music concerts, musical productions and musical theatre orchestras both in school and the wider community.  Music students can meet the challenge of music performance opportunities through daily rehearsal and extra-curricular classes including choirs, swing band, concert band, soul band, brass group, percussion ensemble and woodwind group. In addition to this, students can also build further performance skills by taking peripatetic music lessons. 

Key Stage 3

Year 7

The course

Year 7 students study five modules over the course of the year. These include:
• Rhythm – Understanding rhythm and the conventions of standard rhythmic notation
• Melody and harmony – understanding ostinati, Drones, Sequences and the conventions of standard pitch notation
• Popular music – Investigating the history, concepts and conventions of early popular music
• Music Technology – Investigating the use of Music Technology in our society
• World Music – Investigating Drones and Pentatonics in World Music

Year 8

Students in Year 8 also study five modules in Music. These are:
• Rhythm – ‘Music for dance’ – Understanding the conventions of dance music
• Melody and Harmony – The Concepts and Conventions Of melodic and harmonic composition established during the classical period
• Popular music – Investigating The Concepts and Conventions Of The popular song since 1960
• Music Technology – Investigating the use of digital and analogue recording devices
• World Music – Investigating Music for Dance in World Cultures

Year 9

The modules in Year 9 comprise:
• Rhythm – ‘Complex rhythmic phrases’
• Melody and Harmony – ‘The influence of art music forms on the modern film score’
• Popular music – Music in mixed media applications
• Music Technology – Investigating the use of multi-track recording and sampling in our society
• World Music – Polyrhythms and the use of unusual time signatures in world music

Key Stage 4

We offer Music as an option for students in Key Stage 4, as part of the Route 1 Foundation Learning, and the Route 2 and Route 3 English Baccalaureate.

The course

The GCSE Music course is very practical and is based on the three elements of listening, composing and performing. As 40% of the examination is for performing music, students should be able to sing or play any musical instrument before considering taking this subject.
Our pupils study a wide variety of classical and popular music from 1400 to the present day, as well as music from a variety of different times and places. Students also learn music theory, music technology and performance techniques.
We expect our students to produce two compositions, which need to be completed by April 30th of Year 11. They form 40% of the overall total mark. Students record their compositions onto CD and create some form of notation to show what they have composed.
Students are also expected to demonstrate their performing skills by singing or playing a solo as well and an ensemble piece. This must be completed by the end of April of Year 11.

What homework is set?

Homework will include preparation of compositions, the practice of two performance pieces and preparation for the listening examination.

How are students assessed?

The assessment will cover all three elements:
• Assigned Composition task – 20%
• Composition Coursework – 20%
• Performance of a Solo and Ensemble piece – 40% (20% each)
• Listening Exam – 20%

What can students go on to do after this course?

A-Level music may be studied in the Sixth Form as part of a joint course within The Consortium. This consists of advanced composition, the study of harmony and counterpoint, the study of a number of set works, in depth history of music and a recital or project.
We also offer A-Level music technology in the Sixth Form. This covers arranging and recording, and the production of sequenced versions of a number of pieces.