Key Stage 3

Students explore a variety of musical concepts and performance skills through the process of listening to music from various cultures and traditions, composition tasks and individual and ensemble performance. They use a variety of classroom instruments, voice and personal instruments of choice and where appropriate explore the use of different forms of notation, including software and sequencing packages.

Skills, performance and understanding are developed through self-evaluation, contributions in class and teacher assessment. All of the work contains clear links to GCSE work where performance lessons become more demanding for all pupils and the level of composition and appraising quickly builds on basic skills and concepts continually developed at Key Stage 3.

The curriculum is split into half termly units. All projects focus on aspects of performance, composition and appraising. All projects place music in historical and social context and explore elements of citizenship. For example, Unit 1: use of sound, industry and creativity; Unit 9: music of different cultures; or Unit 14: song writing and the homeless.


Key Stage 4

Students develop the skills and concepts learned in Key Stage 3. The course includes solo performance, with musical accompaniment. In addition, students will perform one piece consisting of two or more people performing independent parts.

Students are also required to compose two compositions of at least three minutes’ combined duration. Briefs relate to the four areas of study: Instrumental Music 1700-1800, Vocal Music, Music for Stage and Screen, Fusions. There is also a requirement of one free composition set by the student of at least one minute duration.

Students will appraise music through the study of eight set works that are drawn from the four areas of study detailed above. Exercises include dictation, written response to unfamiliar pieces, and comparison.


Key Stage 5

There are 3 units of work.

1. Performing: an unedited recording, minimum duration of 8 minutes, of the pupil playing or singing solo, in an ensemble, improvising with or without accompaniment or a combination of these.
2. Composing: 2 compositions, one to a brief set by Pearson and one either free composition or also to a brief.
3. Appraising: Written examination based on 6 areas of study, each with three set works and the application of knowledge to unfamiliar works.

Pupils devise a programme for their performance, consult exemplar performances and mark each other’s performances in lessons, complete technical composition exercises with the use of technology if required and listen to a wide range of music to support the context of everything they do.

Please see the 6th form prospectus for a more detailed outline.

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