Key Stage 3
In Year 7, pupils learn the basics of music, such as notation reading, keyboard playing and rhythm work. They follow a scheme of work which develops their musical understanding of all different styles, including traditional classical music, world music (such as Brazilian Samba) and popular music. They work within a Perform, Compose, Listen structure, where pupils learn to perform on various instruments including singing, they learn to compose and appraise their own music in different styles. Year 7 focuses on developing the whole pupil and their skill base, so that they can develop these skills further in the future. Other topics include instruments of the orchestra, the elements of music and Jazz. Pupils also learn how to use Music Technology in our Apple Mac music suite and compose their own music using software packages such as Garageband and Cubase.
In Year 8, pupils progress to a more “topic-based” curriculum, where performing, composing and listening are taken to a higher level, using the skills learnt in Year 7. We focus on popular styles, and pupils learn how to perform the blues, improvise, learn about the rock band and perform with others in a small group setting as well as whole-class. They also learn about cover versions and produce and record their own cover version of a popular song. Year 8 pupils also become proficient in Music Technology, devising arrangements and developing compositions using Garageband and Cubase software and developing their knowledge and understanding of musical textures.
Key Stage 4
Courses offered GCSE Music (Edexcel) current Year 10 and 11 BTEC Music Level 2 (cohorts from September 2015)
Year 9 focuses on a springboard approach to developing skills as a performer, composer and critical listener of Music. Students undertake projects in performing, developing skills as an ensemble musician and improviser. Students also focus on the application of Music Technology by composing using Sibelius and Cubase. Students also focus on Musical Theory and key skills.
GCSE students study a large proportion of their set works during Year 10, which include the jazz music of Miles Davis, Classical and 20th Century orchestral music and the popular music of Jeff Buckley and Moby. GCSE students also learn more about composition and how to put together their own musical compositions. BTEC students study a Music Technology unit based on the study of live sound and recording, and they learn about microphone techniques, sound capture and editing. They also gain skills as a performer by rehearsing and performing both solo and ensemble pieces.
GCSE students continue to study their remaining set works in Year 11, including the Romantic piano music of Chopin, the Broadway Musical and music from around the world. During Year 11, students also complete their controlled assessment units of performance and composition, as well as preparing for their final written exam. BTEC students learn about the Music Industry and apply their knowledge of production, marketing and development of a music product in their final project. They also learn skills of composition and they learn how musicians in the media create soundtracks for adverts, and they compose a soundtrack of their own.
The Music Department has a wide variety of extra-curricular activities for all pupils to participate in. In addition, we have a team of 8 peripatetic music staff who teach over 130 pupils each week on guitar, bass, drums, singing, violin, brass, saxophone, flute, clarinet, keyboard and piano.
Currently, pupils can get involved in our Japanese Taiko drumming group, who perform regularly at local and national events. They recently performed at Westminster Hall in London as part of the PiXL learning conference after being chosen from over 100 school bands nationwide. Budding rock stars can participate in our Band Night, which features guitarists, bassists, drummers and vocalists, and these groups have had the rare opportunity to perform at the famous Cavern Club in Liverpool.
Singers can join one of our two Singing Groups who regularly perform in school and in the local community. We encourage our instrumentalists to attend groups in school and also out of school, for example with the Halton Concert Band. We aim to put on several concerts per year, including our Creative Arts Showcase in the July of each year and our annual school musical.
We also enjoy working with feeder primary schools, colleges, universities and industry in the local area. We recently welcomed the Northern Chamber Orchestra to perform for our pupils and local primaries in our School Hall. We work closely with our Music Hub and recently took part in an International Comenius Project with schools in Germany.
We work closely with our colleagues at the Accent Music Education Hub who provide the majority of our instrumental tuition. We also participate regularly in their events and activities. The Music Hub shop can offer information and discounts for those parents looking to purchase a musical instrument for their child. To find out more, go to www.accentmusiceducationhub.co.uk.
If you are interested in instrumental tuition for your child please contact Ms A Dale in the first instance.