Who we are:

  • Mrs A Wellman – Curriculum Leader 
  • Mrs C Richards

Berkshire Maestros Peripatetic Teachers – specialists in a range of instruments and voice visit the department on a weekly basis to deliver high quality tuition during the school day and after 4 p.m. on Mondays and Tuesdays.

Key Stage 3 (years 7 and 8)

During KS3, students will complete a variety of music projects to enable them to develop their musical knowledge and understanding through a range of different styles, traditions and genres.  They will be given opportunities to develop their performing, composing, listening and appraising skills through individual, pair and small-group collaboration.

Year 7

Autumn Term:

  • Transition to Morning

Students will explore the elements of music through a range of performing, composing and listening activities, and focus on the skills required to make excellent progress in the subject.

  • Night and Day

To continue to develop understanding of how the elements of music are used in music through practical music making, focusing on pieces written for the orchestra, and reading and writing graphic scores.

  • Seasonal Celebration

To develop performance skills through the playing of some Christmas pieces/songs by singing and playing the keyboard.They will also be encouraged to select self-chosen pieces on a range of instruments, and perform these to the wider community.

Spring Term:

  • Rhythm Machine

Students will learn to be make a clear distinction between pulse and rhythm, developing an understanding of the difference between regular and irregular pulse.Students perform and compose rhythm patterns of differing complexity including rests and sounds of varied length.

  • Chinese Music

Students are introduced to the sounds of Chinese music through listening, performing and composing.They will learn about traditional Chinese instruments and perform/compose pieces based on the pentatonic scale, using both graphic and staff notations.

Summer Term:

  • Medieval Music

Students will explore the sounds of the Medieval period, through singing, playing a variety of instruments and learning about typical devices of the time.

  • Voiceworks and Performing

Students will explore the voice in a range of ways, and develop their performance skills further by choosing and independently rehearsing pieces for voice/instruments of their own choice.

Year 8

Autumn Term:

  • African Drumming

Students explore the main rhythmic musical features and devices used in African music, particularly the African drumming tradition of West Africa.They will create music in drumming circles using djembes, learning how to perform the different drum strokes whilst performing, composing and improvising rhythms to create African-inspired pieces.

  • Mystery and the Superhero

Students learn how music can be used to represent characters and specific mood and mystery.They will explore how different scales, timbres, dynamics, pitches and harmonies can create different moods and effects, with particular focus on theme tunes and film music.

Spring Term:

  • Remix

Students learn how to work as a band and how to create remixes/covers/arrangements of pop songs, using a range of technology to enhance sound quality.

  • Reggae Music

Students explore reggae music and the culture it comes from, including other Caribbean musical styles.They learn about the typical stylistic characteristics of reggae and prepare a group performance of a reggae song, building on the prior learning of ‘how to work in a band’.

Summer Term:

  • Stomp!

Students develop their musical skills and understanding through exploring how non-conventional sound sources can be used to create music and theatrical performance.A fusion of music, dance, movement, theatre …. creativity without bounds!

  • Performance

Students further explore a range of musical styles which lead to self-chosen individual, pair and small-group performances of pieces.Many pieces also include original composition and/or improvisation.

Key Stage 4 (years 9 – 11)  Examination Board - AQA

Component 1: Understanding Music - Worth 40% of GCSE marks (96 marks)

  • Listening
  • Contextual understanding

Exam paper – listening exercises and written questions using excerpts of music (1 hour 30 minutes)

  • Section A: Listening to unfamiliar music (68 marks)
  • Section B: Study pieces (28 marks)

Component 2: Performing Music - Worth 30% of GCSE marks (72 marks)

  • One solo performance (36 marks)
  • One ensemble performance (36 marks)

A minimum of four minutes of performance in total is required, of which a minimum of one minute must be the ensemble performance.

Component 3: Composing Music  - Worth 30% of GCSE marks (72 marks)

  • Composition 1: to a brief set by the exam board (36 marks)
  • Composition 2: free choice (36 marks)

A minimum of three minutes of music in total is required.

More Detail – Understanding Music

Four areas of study:

  1. Western classical tradition 1650-1910
  2. Popular Music
  3. Traditional Music
  4. Western classical tradition since 1910

Study Pieces

  1. Haydn – Symphony No. 101 in D major ‘The Clock’, 2nd mvt. (from AOS1)
  2. The Beatles: Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band – three tracks. (from AOS2)
  • With a Little Help from my Friends
  • Within You, Without You
  • Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds

Unfamiliar Music from the four Areas of Study

Must be able to listen to unfamiliar music from all four areas of study to identify and accurately describe musical elements, musical contexts and use musical language (including staff notation).

Area of study 1: Western classical tradition 1650-1910

  • The Coronation Anthems and Oratorios of Handel
  • The orchestra music of Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven
  • The piano music of Chopin and Schumann
  • The Requiem of the late Romantic period

Area of study 2: Popular Music

  • Music of Broadway 1950s to 1990s
  • Rock music of 1960s and 1970s
  • Film and computer gaming music 1990s to present
  • Pop music 1990s to present

Area of study 3: Traditional Music

  • Blues music from 1920-1950
  • Fusion music incorporating African and/or Caribbean music
  • Contemporary Latin music
  • Contemporary folk music of the British Isles

Area of study 4: Western classical tradition since 1910

  • The orchestral music of Copland
  • British music of Arnold, Britten, Maxwell-Davies and Tavener
  • The orchestral music of Zoltan Kodaly and Bela Bartok
  • Minimalist music of John Adams, Steve Reich and Terry Riley

Four Assessment Objectives

  1. Perform with technical control, expression and interpretation (30%)
  2. Compose and develop musical ideas with technical control and coherence (30%)
  3. Demonstrate and apply musical knowledge (20%)
  4. Use appraising skills to make evaluative and critical judgements (20%)