- Subject Information
In Music we develop musicianship skills through performing, composing, listening and appraising with a clear focus on practical music making.
Students get the chance to learn on a variety of musical instruments and work as members of a group as well as an individual within the class. We develop important team working strategies and develop learning skills which can be applied to other subject areas.
Students need to study a broad range of musical styles from recent hits to their classical origins and styles from around the world. This helps to inspire creativity as it is when we understand how music is developed that we can develop our own unique sound.
Students enjoy attending extra musical sessions outside of their curriculum time by attending clubs (choir, Keyboard Club and Bands club at lunchtime for student Rock bands to rehearse).
There are also additional opportunities to learn instruments in smaller groups (e.g. flute, clarinet, trumpet, guitar, voice, violin, piano and drum kit) through the Peripatetic Instrumental Lesson scheme. Some students are also part of a Drum Works programme working with specialist drummers from the Barbican Centre. This involves them learning from the tutors and also passing on these skills to local primary school students through the mentoring scheme.
We expect our students to develop confidence on a range of different musical instruments, work well on their own, with a partner, with a small group and as a whole class ensemble. There are also opportunities for students to lead the learning and the musical performances. We have the highest expectations for our students supporting them in their musical journey through providing them with small scale performances in front of just their class and, when ready, performances in assemblies and showcases.
Students complete projects over a half term involving singing, performing on instruments and composing. Students work as soloists, in groups, and as a whole class. At the end of each project a recording is made of the student’s work and they are assessed based upon that recording.
- Performance skills focusing on Keyboard basics – chords, melody, good technique
- Performing as an ensemble – focusing on Keyboard, Bass, Guitar, Drum Kit & Voice
- Improvising melodies – focusing on pentatonic scale and Blues scale
- Composing music – focusing on pop songs, Music for film and advertising
- Musical Theatre – focusing on combining Drama and Music skills in excerpts from shows such as “Blood Brothers”, “Our House”, “The Greatest Showman”
- Rhythms from around the World – Samba, Bhangra
We have also developed a scheme which supports progression and rewards achievement on specific classroom instruments (keyboard, guitar, bass guitar, drum kit and voice). Students are provided with a clear list of specific skills on their chosen instrument to focus on throughout the Schemes of Learning. At a midway point students are awarded a “provisional license” indicating they have developed secure basic skills on the instrument. When they have developed the more challenging skills (standard expected for GCSE) they are awarded a badge and certificate representing a “full instrumental license”. Students may work on licenses on more than instrument.
KS4 Schemes of Learning and Assessment in Music
At KS4, students follow the OCR exam board and complete a GCSE Music (course code J536 new 9-1 specification). Students complete a practical portfolio which is worth 60% of the final grade. This work is internally assessed and then moderated by the Exam Board. This includes:
- 1 Solo Performance
- 1 Composition for their solo instrument/voice
- 1 Ensemble Performance
- 1 Composition from a given stimulus (e.g. set of words, chord sequence, note pattern, rhythm pattern)
Finally, there is a one hour listening exam worth 40% of the final grade. This is a formal exam at the end of Year 11 and is assessed by the exam board. This involves listening to extracts of music from the genres studied and answering questions based upon the music heard.
- Area of Study 2 – Concerto through Time – The Baroque Solo Concert, Baroque Concerto Grosso, Classical Solo Concerto, Romantic Solo Concerto
- Area of Study 3 – Rhythms of the World – Indian Classical music, Bhangra, Israeli & Palestinian Music, Greek folk music, African Drumming, Samba, Calypso
- Area of Study 4 – Film Music and Music used in Computer games
- Area of Study 5 – Conventions of Pop – Rock ‘n’ Roll of the 1950s & 1960s, Rock Anthems of the 1970s & 1980s, Pop Ballads of the 1970s, 1980s, 1990s, Solo Artists from 1990s to present day.
Studying this course can lead to a whole variety of A Level, College and future careers as the career built as a musician including vital skills such as communication, confidence, team-working, analysis and much more. Students are also enriched through studying an Arts Course which provides them with a broad and balance school experience.
GCSE Results 2021
Congratulations to the Year 11 students on achieving 69% grades 9-4.
GCSE Results 2022
Congratulations to the Year 11 students on another successful year.
Students are encouraged to attend musical clubs which are often preparing for the Showcases which are held three times a year. There are also many other opportunities for performances in assemblies, awards ceremonies and open evenings.
- Clubs include: Choir for KS3, Keyboard club for all years, Rock Band club for all years.
- Drum Works sessions run weekly on a Wednesday and currently 100 students across all years participate in this project.
The Music department has also been involved in a number of composition workshops with musicians from The Guildhall School of Music and Drama and The Barbican which has led to performances at The Broadway Theatre and The Barbican Freestage in central London. The choir has also been involved in performances at the O2, Stratford and Wembley Arena. Drum Works perform every year at the Walthamstow Garden Party.
The department also runs trips to see West End Musicals and Operas which are fantastic opportunities for students to see professionals performing on stage.
KS3 & KS4
Encourage your child to listen to as much music of any style as possible
Take them to musical concerts/events if possible.
Download useful apps to tablet devices such as – Real Piano, Note Perfect, Virtual Keyboard, and Speedshifter
Use the department’s resources provided on Google Classroom which support the KS3 Schemes of Learning, there are links to YouTube examples, sheet music and other helpful resources.