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Student playing the violin

Music

Music is both a focus for study and a means of communal expression. Students develop musical understanding and skill (in perception, as composers and as performers) in classes, in option groups, individually and in school ensembles. The many expressions and celebrations of school life, such as assemblies, awards events and Founders’ Day, are enhanced by musical performance.

In Key Stage 3 students develop and reinforce their understanding and practical skills using their voices, instruments and music technology. Through listening, composing and performing activities (from Rhythm and Notation at the beginning of Year 7 to creating their own musicals in Year 8) they strengthen their creative ability, self-confidence and self-expression.

At Key Stage 4 the GCSE Music course focuses on all three areas of listening, composing and performing.

For sixth form students, Music is offered both at A level and IB and Music Technology is offered at A Level.

Participation, performance and personalised progression extend beyond the classroom. Vocal and instrumental tuition are available to students in all years, and a wide range of extra-curricular musical activities (choirs and instrumental groups) take place each week both within the school day for our own students and after school for the wider community. Numerous opportunities for performance in concerts, services and events, in school, in the local community and abroad, fill the calendar each year.

Course Offerings

Course Title Qualifications Obtainable Awarding Body
Key Stage 4 Courses
Music GCSE Edexcel
Key Stage 5 Courses
Music IB IBO
Music A Level Edexcel
Music Technology A Level Edexcel

Year 7
Curriculum Content: In years 7 you will have two one-hour lessons every fortnight where you will listen, compose, and perform in an amazing variety of styles. In Year 8 this moves to three lessons a fortnight.

There are 3 ways you are assessed in Music

  1. Composing – you will be graded on the following:
  • Responding to the brief
  • Use of the elements of music
  • Originality and creativity
  1. Performing – you will be graded on the following:
  • Accuracy
  • Interpretation
  • Ensemble skills (working in a team)
  1. Listening

Term 1 Stomp

This term, it’s all about rhythm and notation. You will learn how to read and write rhythms using music notation, and will then use these skills to compose your own piece. After gaining inspiration from watching Stomp! You will develop performing skills and use a variety of props and actions to put together your own Stomp! piece.

Term 2 – Variations

This term, it’s all about melody. You will continue to use the excellent rhythmic skills developed last term, and add these to new theory skills you’ll learn this term, including semitones, tones, and scales. You will learn how to read and write melody using music notation, and will then use these skills to compose your own piece. After gaining inspiration from listening to some fantastic examples by Mozart and other composers, you will develop your own composing skills.

Term 3 – Blues and Jazz

This term, it’s all about harmony. You will learn how harmony is created by layering notes and the formulae the composers and performers use to create a song. After gaining inspiration from listening to great Blues and Jazz pieces you will develop composing and performing skills to create your own Blues song.

Term 4 – Perspectives of London Rich Task

This term, it’s all about timbre and texture. You will learn how the musical elements you have studied so far (rhythm, melody, harmony) work together with timbre and texture to tell a musical story. Many composers have used stories, art, and landscapes to inspire their music – this is called Programme Music – and we will investigate famous examples such as Grieg’s “In the hall of the Mountain King” and John Williams’ “Jaws”.

Term 5 – Fantasia

This term, it’s all about timbre and texture. You will learn how the musical elements you have studied so far (rhythm, melody, harmony) work together with timbre and texture to tell a musical story – specifically, Disney’s Fantasia! You will also build upon your knowledge from Term 4 (Programme Music / Perspectives of London) and explore the instruments of the Orchestra in depth.

Term 6 – Dance Ejay

This term, it’s all about structure. You will learn how the musical elements you have studied so far (rhythm, melody, harmony, timbre and texture) are underpinned by the overall structure. The structure is the overall plan to a piece of music and helps it to be understood by an audience.

Year 8
Curriculum Content: Term 1, Musicals

This term, it’s all about combining all of the elements of music that you studied in Year 7, to the genre of the musical. You will study a variety of styles used in musicals (traditional, rock, opera, jazz, and modern), and will then use this knowledge and the skills you have developed to compose your own song for a musical. You will then perform your song, paying careful attention to all of the aspects of a successful musical:

  • Plot – moving & memorable
  • Script & lyrics – witty
  • Songs – used to set the scene, to move the narrative forward, to express emotion, or purely for entertainment
  • Choreography
  • Sets
  • Props

Term 2, African Drumming and singing

We start term 2 with a look at the layers of cyclic rhythms of African drumming, using the skills from year 7. We look at the cultural and historical influences and try some proper drumming techniques! The final performance is a group performance of an African song or a piece of African Drumming.

 

Term 2, Create a Country Rich Task

The Create a Country project will link with other subjects, where students will invent their own country. In music they will create a fanfare for special occasions and compose a national anthem. This tasks combines multiple skills built up in previous units and allows for the students to put their own stamp on their compositions

Term 3, Music for the Moving Image

This term, we aim to explore the variety of ways in which music is used alongside the moving image. After gaining inspiration from music for advertisements, TV, and film, you will develop composing and performing skills to create your own 3 minute work.

Term 4, RGS Unearthed

In RGS Unearthed we aim to explore the variety of ways in which music can be made your own. After gaining inspiration from singer-songwriters, composers for instruments, and composer for Dance Music, you will specialise in one of these areas, to create your own music. What will this year’s “RGS Unearthed” unearth?

Term 5, “My Music” Rich Task

This term, we aim to explore the variety of ways in which music can be made your own – building upon the skills from last term’s RGS Unearthed. You will have various options: solo performance, group cover song, group original song, extending your Ejay skills, composing for your own instrument.

 

Term 6, Opera

This term, it’s all about combining all of the elements of music that you studied in Year 7, to the genre of Opera. You will study a variety of song types used in Opera (overture, aria, recitative, and chorus), and will then use this knowledge and the skills you have developed to compose your own mini-opera. You will then perform your mini-opera, paying careful attention to all of the aspects of a successful musical:

  • Plot
  • Script (libretto)
  • Songs – aria, recitative, ensemble / chorus
  • Choreography
  • Sets
  • Props
Year 9
Curriculum Content: At Key Stage 4 Music is an optional subject.

GCSE

The GCSE Music course allows students to develop further their skills of listening, performing and composing. The Edexcel specification is followed.

Course Outline PAPER 1 – Performing – 30%

You have to perform 2 pieces in total. By the end of Year 11, you should aim to be performing at approximately grade 4 standard.

  1. Solo Performance – must be from the same area of study as 1 of your compositions.
    1. Must have accompaniment for piano or backing track
    2. The most suitable repertoire is a piece from a graded examination (eg. ABRSM) or Trinity College Rock School
    3. Any length, but not longer than 5mins
  2. Ensemble Performance

PAPER 2 – Composing – 30%

You need to compose 2 pieces, one from one area of study, and the second from a different area of study. They should be 1 ½ – 2 minutes long each (approximately).

So, as a suggestion, you could do:

  • Composition 1 – Theme & Variations
  • Composition 2 – Dance music (Drum ‘n’ bass)

PAPER 3 – Written / Listening Paper – 40%

1 1/2-hour exam based around 8 set works and some unfamiliar listening. We study 4 areas; Instrumental Music, Vocal Music, Music for Stage and Screen and Fusions. The set works include pieces such as Defying Gravity from ‘Wicked’ and ‘Star Wars’ as well as a variety of others.

Year 10
Curriculum Content: During Year 10 you will study the majority of the 8 set works and aim to complete your two compositions.
Year 11
Curriculum Content: During Year 11 you will polish off your two compositions, finish studying the set works, and record your two performances (one solo and one ensemble – usually on a certain date in January). From February mid-term onwards the concentration can then be on revising for the Listening Paper.
Years 12 & 13
Curriculum Content: International Baccalaureate

The IB course runs for through year 12 and 13 at higher and standard levels. Musical Perception and Analysis in western and non-western styles counts for 50% of the total with Performance and/or Composition counting for the remaining 50%.

Musical Perception and Analysis consists of the detailed study of a set work and further study of a wide range of musical examples from different parts of the world, different genres, and different styles. These are examined by means of a Listening Paper. In addition, candidates must present an investigation of 1200-1500 words which compares two musical genres.

Performance and Composition components can be wide-ranging with regard to style and content. This work is internally assessed and externally moderated. At higher level a 20-minute solo recital is required and three contrasting compositions must be presented. At standard level candidates choose one option from: 15-minute recital; two group performances; two contrasting compositions.

A Level

 

The A Level Music Course consists of three components.

 

Component 1 – An 8-12 minute solo recital recorded in year 13 – 30% of the course

Component 2 – A 4 – 6 minute composition either from a set brief or own choice plus a technical exam on writing harmony in the style of bach

Component 3 – A 2 hour exam looking at the 6 areas of study which includes the set works and some unfamiliar listening. The areas of study are Vocal Music, Instrumental Music, Music for Film, Popular Music and Jazz, Fusions and New Directions.

 

Music Technology A Level

 

The content is split into three sections:

 

  • Recording and production techniques for both corrective and creative purposes – this includes both practical application and demonstration of knowledge and understanding
  • Principles of sound and audio technology – this includes the new content on theory of sound
  • Development of recording and production technology – this covers the understanding of how technology has developed over time and had an impact on music production and styles

This is then assessed in 4 ways

Component 1 Recording 20% – Candidates record every layer from a list of 10 songs set by the exam board

Component 2 Technology‐based composition 20% – a composition using a variety of technology to a set brief

Component 3 Listening and analysing – written examination – 25%

Component 4 Producing and analysing – written and practical examination – 35%