Key Stage 3
In each year, students follow a variety of schemes that allow them to gain an insight into the wide world of musical styles. Each unit allows the fundamental skills of Performing, Composing, and Listening and Appraising to take place in individual, group and class situations. We also try to give opportunities for instrumentalists to utilise their own instruments during lessons.
During Year 7, students follow a variety of schemes of work that introduce them to music skills (performing, composing and listening and appraising) and resources through a range of styles and activities:
- Introduction to music including technology
- Keyboards and Instruments of the Orchestra
- Audiobook (ICT)
- Guitar and Ukulele skills
During Year 8, the introductions are developed allowing students to increase their understanding and musical abilities.
- Hip-Hop and Rap (including ICT)
- Ringtones (ICT)
- Calypso (including ICT)
During Year 9, students consolidate their knowledge in more independent styles of learning and are able to showcase their skills. We are currently revising the Year 9 schemes of work to allow parts of the BTEC Music course to be undertaken in preparation for Key Stage 4.
- Film Music (ICT)
- TV themes (ICT)
- Choice of Unit - either Performance or Radio Show
Key Stage 4
Students follow one of the two Edexcel courses, both of which continue the thread of Performing, Composing and Listening and Understanding, but in greater depth. Students are expected to be able to play an instrument or sing to a suitable standard in order to be considered for either course.
At present Students can follow either the BTEC First Certificate or GCSE.
BTEC - Units of work studied:
- Unit 1 - The Music Business
- Unit 2 - Professional Development
- Unit 3 - Planning and creating a Music Product
- Unit 4 - Solo Musical Performance
- Unit 5 - Exploring Musical Composition
- Unit 6 - Working as a Musical Ensemble
- Unit 9 - Producing a Musical Recording
In order to complete the BTEC course, students have to submit four units, two of which are compulsory - Units 1 & 2. We select the other two units depending on the nature of the group.
GCSE Information - The course is split into three components - performing (30%), composing (30%) and an exam (40%) based on set pieces of music studied during the lessons. It is beneficial if students are able to read traditional notation, but not essential providing they are willing to learn these skills during the course.
Key Stage 5
Students follow the Edexcel Syllabus which continues the thread of Performing, Composing and Listening and Understanding, but in greater depth than BTEC or GCSE, and also contains Music History. Students are expected to be able to play an instrument or sing to a grade 5 standard or above in order to be considered for the course.
Key Stage 3
Students use our Progression of Learning booklets to track their own progress, and self-evaluate each lesson. We also use a lot of peer assessment (both formal and informal) after any kind of performance, which also helps the staff to make their assessment on student understanding.
Key Stage 4
GCSE Assessments - There are class perfomances during the course as well as various concerts in which the students can showcase and practise their skills. Students are given the grading criteria to help with self and peer assessment of their performing coursework. A similar set of criteria is used for their composite work in the same manner.
There are several mock exams carried out during the two years to prepare for the exam, and also to check understanding of the pieces studied.
The BTEC course is well equipped to allow a variety of assessments. Students regularly assess their own work and each other's work using a grading criteria which is the same as the actual assessor uses. This allows them to know before they begin what is expected of them. There are more formal assessments with the tutor, but it is also during this time that students can offer/explain additional evidence which they (or their peers) believe is worth more. Students are continually made aware of their progress through regular tutorials and feedback sessions.
Music lessons are primarily practical and it is difficult to set practical homework as not everyone has access to something instrumental. Therefore when homework is set, it tends to be research based or something concerned with learning key words or facts about a particular topic area it may also be in the form of a blog or NUMU.
At Key Stage 4 the amount of homework set is weekly and students are expected to practise their instrument regularly without being reminded. The nature of the course lends itself to project based work and as students know how their work is going to be assessed, they can do as much additional homework as they feel is necessary to gain the grade they want.
Key Stage 5 is different as it is here where students need to put in a lot of extra hours if they are to achieve high grades. Homework is based around the set works being studied and theory tasks. They are also expected to practice for several hours a week.