The objectives of our music curriculum are as follows:
Pupils starting points in Year 7 are very varied. For this reason, Year 7 start their music lessons with a baseline assessment to enable us to assess their musical knowledge and aptitude. They are all offered music tuition with peripatetic tutors and join extra-curricular clubs.
By the time a pupil finishes their music education, they should have experienced a wide range of music from a variety of cultures and periods of history and have developed a range of knowledge and skills in performing, listening and composing, including music technology. They should be guided in music career pathways so that they are aware of the opportunities available to them if they decide to follow music as an option. They should have opportunities both in the curriculum and enrichment activities that they may not experience in their home background, such as attending concerts and musical events, visiting museums or exhibitions and having the opportunity to be a member of an audience or perform in front of others.
Those who choose to continue with their music education at Level 2 and 3 should leave with a wide range of musical skills and the potential to further their musical education with confidence.
The Year 7 journey begins with learning about the building blocks of music such as Pitch, Tempo, Dynamics, Texture and Timbre. These key terms are learnt through a variety of activities, such as singing and learning how to play a keyboard. We then move on to Rhythm and Pitch staff notation, composition and performance using a variety of instruments. We end the year with Instruments of the Orchestra and how to identify them when listening to music, followed by the concept of chords, using keyboards and ukuleles.
The Year 8 journey begins with recalling knowledge of chords and learning, rehearsing and performing a medley of songs on a variety of instruments including voice. We then move on to Songwriting skills such as word setting, melody and chord composition. This is followed by Classical Music, focussing on the Great composers, particularly Beethoven. We end the year with World music – Reggae and Samba, learning about its origins and traditions and listening to/playing/singing a selection of music. This is followed by Musical Theatre and its characteristics, learning, rehearsing and performing a song from a musical.
The Year 9 journey begins with the origins and history of the Blues, and how it has influenced music since. There is a focus on the 12 bar blues chord sequence and improvisation. We then move on to A trip through the decades of pop music starting with the 1950’s through to the present day, focusing on key characteristics, whilst learning a variety of repertoire. We end the year with Film music, how music is used in film to enhance the plot, using music from a variety of film genres. Students will play and then compose music suitable for a particular film genre. The year will end with an opportunity to learn a piece of music of the students’ choice, in preparation for the BTEC course, should they have chosen music as an option.
The Year 10 journey begins with students developing their understanding of different types of music products and the techniques used to create them. We then move on to practically exploring the key features of different styles of music and music theory and apply this knowledge and understanding in developing their own creative work. We end the year participating in workshops and classes to develop technical, practical, personal and professional skills, specialising in specific areas of the music industry.
The Year 11 journey begins with student completion of composition coursework and preparation for the External unit, which involves choosing, learning, rehearsing and performing repertoire to a brief set by RSL. We then move on to completing the External unit under controlled conditions to a deadline. We end the year with completion of any final coursework and submission to the exam board.
The Year 12 journey begins with students collaboratively choosing the optional units they will complete throughout the course. They will then complete the unit 385 Improving Instrumental Performance. We then move on to Compulsory unit 349 – Planning for a career in music. We end the year with an optional unit of their choice.
All students are offered individual tuition on an instrument/voice and this is heavily subsidised by the school. Those in Year 10-13 who are studying music receive a free music lesson every week, as do other students from all year groups who are eligible for free school meals/pupil premium. Those who are not eligible for free lessons are still charged a subsidised fee of just £25 per term. There is no limit to the number of instruments that they can learn, if parents are happy to pay for lessons. Our peripatetic staff are all excellent musicians and are inspirational to the students because of their talent, personality and ability to connect with the pupils through appropriate choice of repertoire and approach to teaching. Teachers identify potentially talented and more able pupils and encourage them to have tuition and/or attend extra-curricular activities.
Resources and music practice facilities are available for those pupils who want to improve their musical skills, and as an intervention strategy for those who do not have access to an instrument at home.
We also have a programme of regular extra-curricular activities, to encourage pupils to work in an ensemble and develop their musical skills, working towards performances in regular concerts for the public. We have a choir and school band and will be expanding other opportunities. We also have a full musical each year accompanied a professional band. Students have the opportunity to audition for roles, attend twice weekly rehearsals in preparation for the performances.
We try to arrange trips to cultural events such as concerts and theatre trips, as well as music industry venues and museums. Past examples include The Beatles Story and BME museums in Liverpool, concerts at the Bridgewater and Philharmonic Halls. We have also welcomed visitors from the music industry such as a professional songwriter/performer to work with Year 10-13 music students.
We facilitate a range of educational visits and experiences including:
Further education, apprenticeships, higher education, employment in the music sector. Some examples of music sector roles are: