Awarded "Best School Music Department" and "Best School Music Leader" (Mr Norman) - Peterborough Music Awards
Music is commonly described as “The universal language” and this is because it is central to almost all cultures and religions throughout the world. Music is all around us, not just on the radio, in the concert halls and at festivals but also in all television and films, adverts and even as background music within shops and restaurants. It is literally everywhere!
However, Music in education is about so much more than Rock, Pop, Classical RAP etc. Music is about sounds and how they are put together.
Music at KSCS is one of the most vibrant departments in the school. It is very rare not to hear music being rehearsed and performed before and after school as well at break and lunch throughout the Music department area. In classroom lessons, it is about exploring all the music around the world and learning to appreciate how it is created and performed as well as experimenting with sound in general through practical exercises both on instruments or using Music Technology. In line with the National Curriculum all our units of work fall into one or more of the following categories:-
- Performing: The ability to perform with the voice or on an instrument as a soloist or in groups.
- Composing: The ability to create new music and soundscapes.
- Listening and Appraising: The ability to listen to existing music and describe musical features as well as understanding the context of the music.
Music is a unique subject in that it is scientifically proven to assist in so many areas including improved Language Abilities, Emotional Resilience and Empathy. It is seen by all universities as an important ‘Facilitating Subject’ that is highly respected as well as being the only subject that uses both sides of the brain at once. It involves working both independently and collaboratively in groups and this helps develop important life-skills that are transferred into all future careers and pathways. These develop a growth mind-set as well as social skills and self-esteem.
Alongside the work in the classroom the Music department offer an extensive extra-curricular program including groups for all types of instrumentalists as well as music theory lessons. Our School Choir and Acapella groups are award-winning and recognised not within just Werrington but throughout Peterborough and further afield with performances throughout the city and the UK.
We also regularly have visiting musicians who perform for students as well as organise excursions to see live music at places such as the Royal Albert Hall.
Assessment and Progression in Music
Assessment in Music is ongoing utilising a detailed list of criteria shared with the students at all times. This is based on the three assessment areas of Performing, Composing and Appraising but with an added fourth of Music Technology and how effectively the students can operate music software. This leads to not just teacher assessment but also peer and self-analysis to help them achieve their best.
Music in Key Stage 3 (Years 7-9)
All students in years 7-9 will have one lesson per fortnight of Music as they will all the other two Performing Arts subjects (Dance and Drama) and the generic Performing Arts lesson where all three are brought together. This is part of the enriched curriculum offering here at KSCS. During these lessons, the students will look at a wide variety of music styles from Bach to Musical Theatre to RAP as well as giving them the chance to use instruments and work with professional-level music technology packages.
Music in Key Stage 4 (Years 10-11)
Following a broad Key Stage 3 Music curriculum students can decide at the end of year 9 if they want to study Music at GCSE level. There are two possible pathways that can be offered:
EDUQAS GCSE Music: The Eduqas course runs for two years and involves Performing, Composing and Appraising Music. Students will be assessed on their performance skills either on voice, an instrument or on a computer as well as their ability to compose music. Finally there is a written exam at the end of the two years where questions are asked relating to musical samples that are played.
RSL Level 2 Music Practitioners: This is a vocational course lasting two years focussing on either Performance or Music Technology. Students will be required to learn new skills and document evidence of ongoing learning through videos and written ‘blogs’. This is a very practical ‘hands on’ course.
Music in Key Stage 5 (Post-16)
For those that really enjoy their Music or are considering it as a career KSCS offers two options in our Post-16 centre. Just like at Key Stage 4 we offer two possible pathways.
EDUQAS AS and A-Level Music: These Eduqas courses runs for either one (AS) or two (A-Level) years and, just like the GCSE course, involve Performing, Composing and Appraising Music. Students will be assessed on their performance skills either on voice, an instrument or on a computer as well as their ability to compose music. Finally there is a written exam at the end of the course where questions are asked relating to musical samples that are played.
RSL Level 3 Music Practitioners: This is a vocational course lasting either one or two years focussing on either Performance or Music Technology. Again, just like in Key Stage 4, students will be required to learn new skills and document evidence of ongoing learning through videos and written ‘blogs’. This is a very practical ‘hands on’ course.
In the UK, the creative industries are the fastest growing sector when it comes to employment and revenue. At the moment 1 in 11 people employed within the UK (or approximately 2.9 million individuals) are employed in the creative industries. Musicians can work in many areas both in the Music Industry (Music Therapist, Musician, Music Teacher, Sound Technician etc) or in a wider arts sector (Arts Administration, Community Arts Worker, Radio, TV etc). However, many musicians use the valuable skills learnt in Music lessons to go on to become Doctors, Nurses, Lawyers or Entrepreneurs; the sky really is the limit!!
A strong Music education is valued by many universities with a Key Stage 5 qualification seen as a valuable ‘Facilitating Subject’.
Throughout this page the key areas of Performing(P), Composing(C) and Appraising(A) are indicated for each module below
P, C, A - Individual, Small Group and Whole Class Work
To help all students it is important to gauge the starting point and experience of all new students when they start in year 7. This focuses on three separate assessments covering the three main areas of Performing, Composing and Music Appraisal.
Associated Homework Project: ‘What Is Music?’. Music is defined by a number of different areas called the ‘Musical Elements’. Research what these are and prepare yourself a leaflet/factfile on these, what they are, and what they mean. This will assist with all Musical Studies going forward.
P, A – Working as a Whole Class
In recent years group singing has reached a highpoint in British culture thanks to ‘celebrities’ such as Gareth Malone. However, the benefits of singing are widespread and it will also assist with all areas of Music going forward. We will follow the method used by ‘Voces 8’ a professional vocal group to learn important skills as well as beatboxing. Alongside this the whole class will regular undertake regular singing with a whole year group performance happening in December.
Associated Homework Project: ‘What Is Music?’. Continue with this major project as well as practise your song lyrics so that they are learnt from memory.
P, A – Working as a Whole Class and Individually
The world of Musical Theatre is one of the most popular art forms around the world, especially in cities such as London (the West End) and New York (Broadway). However, through the years, it has changed the musical landscape in so many ways and highlights many social aspects. In this unit of work, we will listen to a number of Musical Theatre Examples to discover ‘What Makes A Musical’ before focussing on one of the most iconic musicals of all time, ‘West Side Story’ by Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim. We will look at this in more detail and the historical context before working as a class to recreate the ‘Mambo’ from the show, an exciting and exhilarating percussion piece influenced by the rhythms of South America.
Associated Homework Project: Listen to at least two songs from Musical Theatre every week keeping a diary and be prepared to talk about this in lessons.
P, C – Working as a Whole Class and in Small Groups
The Pentatonic Scale uses only 5 different notes and yet has appeared in numerous different cultures around the world across many centuries. We will explore why this could be before working as a class to perform a piece together. Then the students will use the ideas learnt together to compose a piece in small groups.
Associated Homework Project: Various online videos to be watched on Pentatonica and where it is used around the world.
P – Working as a Whole Class
Summer is here and Year 7 at KSCS moves to the streets of Brazil with one of the most loved and energetic music forms there are. Working as a class all students will learn the rhythms used in the Rio Carnival and throughout Brazil before taking it outside and creating a real carnival atmosphere.
Associated Homework Project: Prepare a presentation/leaflet on Samba Music, the instruments used and where its origins are.