Music Curriculum

Click on the links below to jump to a particular Year Group:

 

 

Year 9

Autumn Term
Students will follow a varied programme of study within the GCSE categories of Performing, Composing and Listening /Understanding. They will look at melodic writing and the generation of ideas through improvisation. Through listening to their own ideas they will learn Music vocabulary used to describe their ideas. They will revise and be assessed in keyboard and notation skills, and be introduced to the rudiments of guitar and drum kit playing. They will perform within class and group ensembles. Assessments will take place just prior to the half term holiday.

Later in the term they will focus on African drumming skills. They will also learn the basics of the history of Western Music, the stylistic traits of distinctive periods and be able to distinguish aurally between them.

Spring Term
They will revise material learned last term and be assessed through a written listening test during the first two weeks. In the next practical project students will take responsibility for their own learning in a ‘Musical Futures’ project in which they pick their own group, song, choose their instrument, learn their part and eventually perform it in front of the class.

In the latter half of the term, they will learn to use computer programmes to manipulate music, generating their own ideas.

Summer Term
In the final half-term of year 9, they will write their own composition, employing skills learned earlier in the year.

They will then develop these ideas within a group, rehearsing for a recording and/or performance at the end of the half term.

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Year 10 (exam board: Edexcel)

Autumn Term
Students are introduced to their first set piece by Handel. They study the background and stylistic characteristics of this period and compose a short piece in pairs using these traits. Assessment on the period occurs after 6 weeks. During the first half-term they practise a short solo piece for performance in class. They start the second piece by Mozart around week 7, and study the classical period, its background and style. They compose a second short composition in a minor key as a response. An assessment on Mozart follows. The third piece Rag Desh is started towards the end of November. Indian instruments are investigated as are notes of ragas and their construction and they improvise some music.

Spring Term
Students start with revision and then a test on Rag Desh. They then begin a section on blues and jazz creating music in response to the set piece by Miles Davis. An assessment on this follows. They also choose and start to rehearse an ensemble piece (which may feature in a concert at the end of the summer term). The 5th set piece by Chopin and the romantic period is now studied. Chromatic chords and pedal notes are investigated and a piano composition is started. An assessment on this piece finishes the term along with performances of the ensemble pieces chosen.

Summer Term
Students start the term with an introduction to African music and through improvisation they invent a piece similar to the 6th set piece by Koko. After an assessment a series of revision lessons on each set piece of the year takes place. Solo performances are heard again. Mid way through the second half term a mock listening exam takes place, giving students a taste of the final standard necessary for the real exam. The last few weeks of the year are devoted to finishing the first draft of their first proper composition for GCSE and a concert to friends and family in the Winter Gardens.

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Year 11 (exam board: Edexcel)

Autumn Term
Students study set piece no. 7 by Steve Reich. There is an analysis of minimalism and its associated techniques and a student composition in the style is written. There is an assessment on this. The real solo piece for the exam is chosen and practised. Set piece no. 8 by Bernstein is studied along with traits of Musicals. This is assessed shortly after half term. Piece no. 9 by Moby is studied alongside club dance music followed by assessment. At the end of November students perform and record their final solo for GCSE. Jeff Buckley’s piece is the last of the term which also sees a first draft of a second composition handed in.

Spring Term
Students start by confirming their choice of ensemble piece along with estimating a rough idea of when students will be ready for performance. A fusion folk/rock piece by Capercaillie is studied next and then assessed. The final piece by Schoenberg completes the study of the set pieces. This is assessed just before half-term. After half term there is a full mock listening exam.

Students must have recorded their ensemble performances by the end of term. The end of term is the deadline also for handing in both completed compositions.

Summer Term
Finally, students revise all twelve set pieces, concentrating on exam techniques.

The listening exam is around the final week before half-term.

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Year 12 (exam board: Edexcel)

Autumn Term
Students start to develop three strands of the subject simultaneously: Performance, Composition and the study of Set Pieces.

Students select a 5-6 minute programme of performance pieces for their AS recital. These are monitored during the term.

For composition, melody writing is put under the spotlight, alongside writing for SATB choir, harmony and orchestral techniques. The briefs for composition are looked at and the students choose their question. They then research possible models for their own composition. By the end of the term they should have a rough draft of their piece.

A broadening of understanding of umbrella terms and specific details are built up so that students can compare works from different periods in terms of Genre, Melody, Harmony and Tonality, Texture, Orchestration, Structure and Rhythm. Students write essays on individual pieces immediately on completion, and later on will compare pieces in longer essays.

Spring Term
Solo performances will be recorded towards the end of this term, with marks and feedback given.

For composition they should aim to have finished their composition by the end of half term. The rest of the term will be spent preparing for their sleeve note which accompanies their composition. This is in effect an analysis of their own work and how other composer’s works have influenced them.

Instrumental set works are completed and students build a collection of comparison essays. Short answer tests are given along with a Mock essay under exam conditions. Students begin to prepare the group of vocal set works in the same manner.

Summer Term
Final performances are recorded by the end of April and an opportunity to perform to a live audience is offered.

Students finalise their sleeve notes for their compositions and hand in all coursework.

Exam practice papers are explored and essays are repeated in exam conditions. Students continue to develop important skills for AS such as recognising melodic dissonance and identifying chords from an unseen score. These will also form the building blocks for the more complex A2 analysis skills.

In the final part of the summer term students return and investigate avant-garde electronic music creating their own musique-concrete. They also learn the rudiments of figured bass and attempt to copy Baroque counterpoint.

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Year 13 (exam board: Edexcel)

Autumn Term
Students select and start to prepare pieces for A2 recital (12-15 minutes of performance).

Students will build on their ability to write convincing 4 part harmony, learning how Bach wrote his chorales and copying his techniques. They will also look at the A2 composition briefs. At half term they start to work in earnest on the first of their compositions. If they opt to take the counterpoint route for the exam they will continue to learn more about the style and practice writing examples.

Film music is studied - first two set works from the applied list - to understand how music is composed for specific applied purposes. Then we move onto the instrumental set works and prepare detailed responses under umbrella headings so that students can compare works from different periods in terms of Genre, Melody, Harmony and Tonality, Texture, Orchestration, Structure and Rhythm. Students also begin to work on unseen analysis, and basic rhythmic and melodic dictation.

Spring Term
The solo performances will be practised and recorded towards the end of this term, with marks and feedback given.

Students will continue to study Bach Chorales and Baroque Counterpoint and/or continue their ideas for compositions. The compositions should be completed in draft by the end of half term, and finished absolutely by the end of the term.

Instrumental set works are completed and students build a collection of comparison essays. Unseen analysis continues with practice exam papers and work of comparable standard. We return to the Applied set works and look at the more complex pieces and complete analysis of these with revision materials given.

Summer Term
Final solo performances are recorded by the end of April and an opportunity to perform to a live audience is offered.

Students that have opted for the composition exercises will be preparing in earnest, completing as many practice questions as possible, learning from real examples and working under timed conditions. The 3 hour exams for each discipline take place at the end of April.

Exam practice papers are explored and essays are repeated in exam conditions. Unseen analysis continues, with a focus on identifying modulations and chords by ear.

The final written exam is shortly after half-term.

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