WHAT WILL YOU LEARN IN YEARS 8-10?
Every pupil will study Music for an hour each week in school during Years 8-10. The curriculum is made up of the following modules to ensure as much variety and coverage as possible:
INTRODUCTION TO MUSIC
Music as Sound:- a look at how sounds are created, and how Music is a method of organising these sounds. We listen to sounds from the everyday world around us, before responding to what we hear when studying Bedrich Smetana's piece, 'The Moldau'.
HOW MUSIC IS WRITTEN
A few lessons to introduce Music theory, dealing with such common aspects as the stave, clefs, notes and their values, and how we can put all these together on paper.
THE INSTRUMENTS OF THE ORCHESTRA
We study the layout and structure of the full orchestra and the individual instruments within it. To achieve this, we use two well-known pieces of music which were composed specifically for students of this age-group to help them gain an understanding of how a full orchestra works:
The Carnival of Animals is Saint-Saëns' famous work about his own favourite creatures - plus a few unusual creatures thrown in for good measure! We are introduced to sound pictures of kangaroos, lions, fish and elephants, and have the chance to guess which is which, using the clues in the music. We follow a Powerpoint on each of the sections and study these over 5 lessons.
Sergei Prokofiev's Peter And The Wolf was written to give young people an understanding of the sounds of different instruments. In the well-known tale, we have individual characters being taken by an instrument each - a bird played by the flute, a duck by the oboe, a cat by a clarinet, the wolf by three French horns and Peter himself played by the strings. Each character also has its own theme tune, all of which are superbly woven into the score.
WHAT WILL YOU LEARN AT GCSE LEVEL?
During its two year course, the aim of GCSE Music is to develop candidates’ overall musical skills and awareness through working at the following three complementary activities:-
(1) COMPOSING AND APPRAISING (30%)
Composing is assessed by the class teacher as a Coursework activity, before being moderated by an external examiner. Candidates must submit, by April in Year 12, two musical pieces which have been written by themselves, lasting collectively for between 3-6 minutes. Compositions may be submitted in the form of written scores and/or recorded CDs. Any style of music is considered appropriate, arranged for any combination of instruments.
At least one of the submitted compositions must be in a style relating to one of the Areas of Study from theListening And Appraising Section.
Candidates are required to keep a “Composition Log”, detailing their work and progress in a diary form, and outlining the processes of putting the compositions together.
(2) PERFORMING AND APPRAISING (35%)
Performing is assessed by an external examiner who will visit the school and hear the candidate on a one-to-one basis.
Any musical medium is acceptable for Performance, from a recognised orchestral instrument to the voice, piano, recorder, guitar, accordion, or drums. A full range of styles is acceptable, including classical, pop, jazz and traditional folk. Candidates are required to perform one piece individually, and one as part of a group. Ideally students should have reached a minimum of Grade 2 standard by the end of Year 10; in order to be able to achieve full marks during the practical test, candidates should perform pieces of Grade 4 standard or higher.
At least one of the Performance pieces should be in a style relating to one of the Areas of Study from theListening And Appraising Section, though this need not be the same focus to which one of the compositions similarly relates.
5 of the marks available in this section are awarded for the candidate’s ability to discuss with the examiner the structure and historical background of their performance pieces.
(3) LISTENING AND APPRAISING (35%)
From 2011, the Listening And Appraising section covers four Areas of Study, of which the first is compulsory, while the remaining two are chosen at the teacher’s discretion:-
Repeated Patterns in Music (compulsory)
Candidates will study four pieces of music from each of these subject areas. This enhances the candidate’s all-round musical knowledge, and is examined by two written papers of 45 minutes each.