The music department provides a varied education for musicians in order to enable students to reach their full potential as musicians. This includes - Students in years 7 and 8 are given the opportunity to experience playing as many instruments as possible in order to gain the basic skills for performing music. Projects are designed in year 8 to enable staff to identify students who have the necessary skills to study music further for GCSE. Staff members of the department have their own areas of expertise which together cover the full range of teaching needed for the full GCSE course. Students are inspired by staff who regularly perform in lessons and as part of school concerts. This includes the annual whole school musical productions where students sing, perform in the pit orchestra and get experience of music technology. Staff invest their own time to rehearse with students and support them out of lesson times when students can use the facilities to rehearse and use the specialist software. We retain our highly skilled peripatetic instrumental teachers that teach students on a 1 to 1 basis in order to support the development of students performance skills in preparation for GCSE performance coursework. Many students make fantastic achievements in their instrumental grades and these are celebrated by the department and shared with the wider community. The department provides a variety of extra curricular clubs for all students so that they are provided with performance opportunities throughout the year.
Head of Music
Mrs S Davis, firstname.lastname@example.org
Why study this subject?
If you enjoy performing music in your own time, can play an instrument (including singing), and enjoy composing your own music using iMacs then this is a good subject to choose. This course will broaden your knowledge of many types of music, and give you an appreciation of the diversity of musical styles that exist today.
Is it right for me?
The course is suitable for students who have taken Music in Year 9. Students must be having private instrumental lessons to enter this course.
Year 7 sequence of lessons
Half Term 1 - Rhythm / African drumming
Students begin to develop their musical listening skills and using the subject specific language for describing the elements of music (rhythm, dynamics, tempo, notation, pulse). Students also begin developing their understanding of musical notation and performance directions. The use of Djembe drums in this project allows teachers to spot any talented musicians as they start Glyn as well as ensuring the lessons can be accessed by all students, no matter what previous musical experience they have. Students are assessed on group performances of a set piece.
Half Term 2 - Ukulele and Christmas songs
Students are introduced to pitched notes and chords along with tonality. Students learn, with the use of Ukuleles, to develop their understanding of music notes and how they are used to make chords. 4 chords are learnt on Ukulele and used to create full song performances on Ukulele at the end of the term. Students are assessed on their group performances of set Christmas songs at the end of the half term.
Half Term 3 - Learning to play the Piano basics
This project allows students to develop basic piano skills and understand more detailed musical notation. Students complete paired work where they learn how to perform a melody and accompaniment together. This is the first time students attempt to play different parts together. More advanced piano players have access to more complex pieces that will allow them to further develop these essential skills. Students are assessed in paired performances of their chosen pieces.
Half Term 4 - Blues bass guitar notes with piano and guitar chords
This project introduces students to musical context, learning about The Blues genre of music and its place in history. Students also begin learning Bass Guitar notes, as well as Guitar, PIano and Ukulele chords. Students learn how to perform a 12 bar blues and more advanced students can attempt improvised solos as well. Students are assessed in paired performances of the 12 bar blues on their chosen instruments.
Half Term 5 - Famous artists and music
Students then continue their understanding of the social context in music and expand their music history knowledge. Each lesson, students are introduced to famous musicians and their music throughout the years as well as learning some of the pieces of music on the piano as well. This ensures students experience an eclectic mix of music and some may even discover a new favourite musician!
Half Term 6 - Xylo and Samba
We complete year 7 with world music. This includes music from Africa and Latin America. Students use Percussion and Samba instruments to learn the complex rhythms inherent in these styles. Students experience a wide variety of percussion instruments and discover where their strengths are. Class performances develop each lesson and form one part of the assessment for this project. Students are also assessed on their individual achievements with the complex syncopated rhythms they learn.
Year 8 sequence of lessons
Half Term 1 - Advanced instrumental skills
Year 8 develops students ability on a wide variety of instruments including piano, bass guitar, electric guitar, acoustic guitar, ukulele and drum kit. Students focus on one instrument per lesson and rotate in order to allow all students to have access to all of the instruments across the half term. Students are assessed on their ability to perform on two instruments learnt in this project.
Half Term 2 - Performing Christmas songs
tudents practice Christmas songs this half term in order to develop their ensemble skills. Students work in small groups to prepare for a group assessment of a chosen Christmas song. Students have opportunities to develop their instrumental skills on drum kit, piano, ukulele, electric guitar, acoustic guitar and bass guitar.
Half term 3 – Blues with bass guitar notes, piano, ukulele and guitar chords
Students continue to develop their own individual instrumental skills and ensemble skills with a particular focus on timing. This half term they will also gain experience of a new musical genre that is less known to the students in general. This genre also allows the more advanced students to add in improvisation and the theory behind scales and key signatures. This SOW is designed to give students the experience of a more GCSE style unit of work because it includes the context of the genre as well as some theory and notation.
Half term 4 – Famous music and musicians.
Students will extend their knowledge of social context within music and how in can influences many aspects of music. Students will also begin to get a picture of how music history flows and what influences the changes seen in music across the decades. This half term also ensure students have the opportunity to explore famous music and musicians outside of their own personal taste or family playlist!
Listening and appraising unfamiliar music is also a vital skill for any musician whether or not they choose to study music beyond year 8.
Half Term 5 - Loops
Students are given the opportunity to experience creating music using the music technology suite in this project. The department holds a class set of Apple Macs and year 8 students are given access to these during this term. Students bring together all of their musical knowledge from key stage 3 to compose pieces of music for the planets using apple loops. Each lesson, students consider the required emotional setting for each planet and how they will create this in their work. This allows students the opportunity to experience another element of the GCSE (composition) so that they can make an informed decision about their option choices.
Half Term 6 - Film composition
Students are once again given the opportunity to experience creating music using the music technology suite in this project. However, this time students compose music to fit a film scene. Students have to be precise in their work to ensure the action on screen fits with the timing of the music they create. Each lesson students analyse a new section of the film scene to ensure they can use their key stage 3 musical language to analyse music and use this understanding to help them compose.
Year 9 sequence of lessons
Half Term 1 - The elements of music
Students are introduced to the overview of the GCSE components to ensure they understand why such a variety of skills are required on this course. Teachers ensure that all students are taking peripatetic lessons and participating in regular music clubs as part of their homework. Students are then introduced to some basic musical elements and they begin using them in a simplified way to enable students to begin analysing music by ear using musical terms to describe the elements. This is one of the most difficult components of the course and one that students have the least experience in. It is therefore taught at the start of the GCSE course to ensure students gain the best possible understanding of these elements right from the start.
Half Term 2 - Music Theory
Students work towards their own appropriate grade in music theory (based on their current instrument grade). This is a highly differentiated topic as students have a wide variety of experience at this point. Students will work in small groups on ABRSM music theory grade papers and then encouraged to take the theory exam with their peripatetic teacher if suitable. This work is taught after students have begun working with the musical elements so that they can begin to analyse the musical elements in more detail, giving more accurate answers to music appraising questions.
Half term 3 – The Blues
Students work towards preparing group performances so that teachers can monitor if students are working at the right instrumental level for this stage in the course. Performances take place in the last week of this half term during class time. This is done in front of other students so that students begin getting used to performing in front of an audience. Teachers explain how students will be assessed during their group performances. Students try assessing performances using the criteria given which allows them to see how they will be assessed themselves. All lessons have a starter activity that relates to their musical elements work from the Autumn term in order to allow students to continue to access this information in their working memory. Students use this knowledge and understanding to learn how to play in the blues genre and experience another new style of music.
Half term 4 – The Blues
Students continue to extend their experience of the blues genre this half term. This includes all aspects such as walking bass patterns from existing songs and leads towards students experiencing improvisation, many for the first time. All lessons have a starter activity that continues to relate to their musical elements work from the Autumn term in order to allow students to continue to access this information in their working memory. Students also work towards preparing solo performances this half term so that teachers can monitor if students are working at the right instrumental level for this stage in the course. Performances take place in the last week of this half term during class time. This is done in front of other students so that students continue getting used to performing in front of an audience. The preparation for this is set as home work so that students can work towards this performance with their own private instrumental teacher.
Half Term 5 - Composition
Now that students have gained an understanding and some experience of how to analyse the use of musical elements, this term gives the students their first experience of using these same musical elements to create their own pieces of music. Each lesson has a main focus element in order to support students developing understanding as well as guiding students through how to create pieces of music from scratch. Composition is the last component taught in the year 9 curriculum as students must gain an insight into how musical elements are put together before they can start attempting composing music themselves.
Half Term 6 - Composition
Students continue to develop and finalise their compositions using analysis of existing music each lesson to inspire them and help them create new ideas to experiment with in their own compositions. This allows students the opportunity to experience the composign component of the GCSE. Students look at the GCSE composition assessment grids and self assess their work. This allows the teachers to understand how they view their own work and to see if students have understood how they will be assessed. By the end of year 9 all students will have experienced all components of the GCSE as well as using all of their developing musical knowledge in all tasks.
Year 10 sequence of lessons
Half Term 1 - Putting the musical elements into exam questions
Students recall their knowledge of the musical elements from year 9 and explore how these will be used in exam style questions. Students spend time getting used to the tiered language used in GCSE music. This allows them to firstly understand the questions they will be asked before attempting to answer them. Firstly, in groups, students attempt answering GCSE style questions. Students start with 1 mark questions and gradually build up to higher weighed questions. Students start with this topic in year 10 as they started with musical elements in year 9 so this becomes a starting point for all of their thinking.
Half Term 2 - Musical eras
Students now begin applying their knowledge and understanding of the musical elements to the eras of music within classical music. This area of study is one that they must understand in detail for their GCSE but the will use their year 9 skills to help them access this music. Students learn the key features, composers and compositions from each era and learn how to recognise them aurally. This enables students to see how all lessons are building towards the bigger picture of understanding and appreciating music of all genres.
Half Term 3 - Free composition coursework
Students begin their composition coursework during this term in order for them to be able to manage their workload and be able to dedicate the desired amount of time to completing their music coursework in balance with their other studies. We have found that from experience, the summer term is too busy for students to be able to dedicate enough time to their music studies for them to achieve their desired results. At this point in time students have a wide enough understanding of music to apply to their compositions.
Half Term 4 - Free composition coursework
Students are reminded of how they are assessed in their composition coursework at the start of the term and students peer assess their coursework. This helps students to gain a fresh look at their work before completing their final half term of work on their free composition. Students are given 1 to 1 support sessions during this term as this is the most effective way for students to develop their work. Students have to complete this coursework under controlled conditions and therefore must be allowed the time in the music department where they have access to the appropriate software. This term provides the correct time for this to happen.
Half Term 5 - Analysing and experiencing musical genres
At this point the students return to their appraising component and expand their listening to develop an eclectic selection of music genres. Students begin listening to jazz, latin, blues, rap, big band etc in order to expand their experience of musical genres. This will allow students to revisit previous knowledge and expand on how they can apply it to new genres. This will support students sitting their PPEs during this term in order to experience a full GCSE exam paper.
Half Term 6 - Analysing and experiencing musical genres
This half term sees students continuing to develop their appraising component skills and expand their listening to develop an eclectic selection of music genres. Students begin listening to samda, african, celtic, 21st century, minimalism, tone rows etc in order to expand their experience of musical genres. This will allow students to revisit previous knowledge and continue to expand on how they can apply it to new genres. This will support students sitting their PPEs during this term in order to experience a full GCSE exam paper.
Year 11 sequence of lessons
Half Term 1 - Set work analysis and set brief composition
Students study the set work by Beethoven whilst also developing their free compositions (which they started in year 10). Students develop their understanding of what makes a successful piece of music and apply this to their coursework. Completing this alongside their Beethoven set work gives students music to be inspired by as well as aspects of his sonata that they can apply to their worn composition. Students return to set work analysis at this point as they have not approached this type of work since the spring term in year 10. It is therefore vital that students access this type of work again at this point before all of their knowledge is forgotten.
Half Term 2 - Set work analysis and set brief composition
Students continue to study their set works (including star wars and samba this half term). Students also complete their last composition ensuring they have applied their knowledge gained from set work analysis where appropriate. Working on these 2 components alongside each other gives the students a balanced understanding of how all components of the GCSE come together to form the whole musical picture and apply it to their work.
Half Term 3 - Performance coursework recording
Students will record their solo performances in the recording studio at the end of this half term. Time is dedicated to ensuring students are performing suitable pieces, at a high enough standard under pressure during this term. Mock performances to the teacher take place regularly to enable this and ensure all students are prepared for their recording session. This is completed at this stage in the year to allow students the maximum amount of time to develop their instrumental skills as possible and therefore gain the highest marks possible.
Half Term 4 - Performance coursework recording
Students will record their group performances in the recording studio at the end of this half term. Time is dedicated to ensuring students are performing suitable pieces, at a high enough standard under pressure during this term. Mock performances to the teacher take place regularly to enable this and ensure all students are prepared for their recording session. This is completed at this stage in the year to allow students the maximum amount of time to develop their instrumental skills as possible and therefore gain the highest marks possible.
Half Term 5 - Examination preparation
Students now solely concentrate on the exam content. Students revise their 8 set work pieces looking at past papers, examiner reports, previous exam scores and teacher experience. Lessons are dedicated to ensuring students are able to recall the required information for each set work before moving into to the essay style comparison question. Once students are able to recall the facts of the set work they begin making comparisons between set works and then applying their knowledge to unfamiliar music. Students have this intense half term of exam preparation in order to focus their memory on the exam content instead of the other 2 components. Students sit exam papers in class in a variety of ways so that all students can access the work and develop their working memory in the build up to the exam paper.