Music is a compulsory subject up to Key Stage 3. From Year 3, pupils receive two music lessons per week as part of the curriculum. Please note that private instrumental music lessons, which are 1:1 lessons to study an instrument, do not comprise a part of the academic curriculum for music and are optional (further details below).
Early Years Foundation Stage and Key Stage 1 - (Reception to Year 2)
Pupils in this age range will receive one specialist music lesson per week and explore how sounds are made with different types of instruments. They will also improve their sense of intonation and pitch through singing, as well as a sense of pulse and rhythm. Year 2 will be introduced to basic musical notation principles.
Key Stage 2 - (Year 3 to Year 6)
Pupils receive two lessons per week and curriculum music lessons are spent learning on instruments. These lessons are referred to as the Prep Instrumental Programme, the aim of which is to develop proficiency in performing music on an instrument. Time is also dedicated in these lessons to develop and improve pupils’ understanding of music theory and aural awareness.
Year 3 pupils spend half a term on each the flute, violin and cello in music lessons with specialist musicians to teach them in small groups. Before the end of the year they choose an instrument to continue with into Year 4.
Years 4, 5 and 6 build on the basic instrumental skills they have already acquired in Year 3. Opportunities to perform in public are available, and many pupils in these Year groups choose to rent an instrument from the school or buy their own to practice with. Pupils and parents are encouraged to take the chance to acquire professional recognition of development by taking ABRSM Music exams (at a small extra cost) in April of each academic year. These are internationally recognised qualifications that we highly recommend pupils taking.
Key Stage 3
Years 7, 8 and 9 have a very practical scheme of work in their two lessons per week. They can expect to play a variety of instruments from group percussion to rock instruments, to classical instruments and the keyboard. The focus in this key stage is to develop aural and notation skills, along with historical and cultural awareness in preparation for the requirements of the rigorous Key Stage 4 GCSE course. Pupils are also encouraged to improve their social and creative skills through group composition and performance. Regardless of whether or not they take instrumental lessons, all pupils will perform in front of an audience outside the classroom during the academic year.
Key Stage 4
Edexcel GCSE Music is the syllabus we run for Years 10 and 11. The course is split into three categories:
- Performance (30%) - pupils must give a solo performance and ensemble performance lasting a combined total of no less than 4 minutes.
- Composition (30%) - pupils must compose two pieces, one from their own ideas and one from a stimulus provided by the exam board. These should last a combined total of no less than 3 minutes.
- Listening and Appreciation (40%) - this is assessed in the form of a 1hr and 45 min exam in May of Year 11. It comprises 9 questions, of which 1 is an essay, 1 is a dictation question, 1 is analysis of a previously unheard piece and 6 questions about any of the following set works:
- Bach - Brandenburg Concerto No. 5 in D, Mvt III
- Beethoven - Pathetique Sonata in C minor, Mvt I
- Purcell - Music for a While
- Queen - Killer Queen
- Schwartz - Defying Gravity (from the musical Wicked!)
- Williams - Main Title Theme from Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope
- Afro Celt Sound System - Release
- Esperanza Spalding - Samba Em Preludio
Key Stage 5
Edexcel A Level Music is the syllabus we run for Years 12 and 13. The course is split into three categories:
- Performance (30%) - pupils must give a recital of no fewer than 8 minutes (pauses and breaks between pieces do not count towards the overall time) in front of an audience of at least 2 people. This can be any repertoire that of their choosing of Grade 7 ABRSM standard or above. Recordings are made in March of Year 13.
- Composition (30%) - this is assessed through coursework created in the year of examination. Pupils must submit one Free Composition (40 marks) lasting at least 4 minutes, and one Brief Technique (20 marks) in the form of a Bach Chorale lasting at least 1 minute. Both compositions combined must be at least 6 minutes.
- Listening and Appreciation (40%) - this is assessed in the form of a 2 hour exam in Term 3 of Year 13. It comprises 6 questions, of which the first three are listening questions based on any of the set works studied from the course, one dictation question, one essay question on an unseen extract of music and one essay question based on a set work:
- Vocal Music
- J. S. Bach, Cantata, Ein feste Burg, BWV 80: Movements 1, 2, 8
- Mozart, The Magic Flute: Excerpts from Act I no. 4 (Queen of the Night), 5 (Quintet)
- Vaughan Williams, On Wenlock Edge: Nos. 1, 3 and 5 (On Wenlock Edge, Is my team ploughing? and Bredon Hill)
- Instrumental Music
- Vivaldi, Concerto in D minor, Op. 3 No. 11
- MClara Wieck-Schumann, Piano Trio in G minor, Op. 17: movement 1
- Berlioz, Symphonie Fantastique: Movement I
- Music for Film
- Danny Elfman, Batman Returns: Main theme (Birth of a Penguin Part II), Birth of a Penguin Part I, Rise and fall from grace, and Batman vs the Circus
- Rachel Portman, The Duchess: The Duchess and End titles, Mistake of your life, Six years later, and Never see your children again
- Bernard Herrmann, Psycho: Prelude, The City, Marion, The Murder (Shower Scene), The Toys, The Cellar, Discovery, Finale
- Popular Music and Jazz
- Courtney Pine, Back in the Day: Inner state (of mind), Lady Day and (John Coltrane), and Love and affection
- Kate Bush, Hounds of Love: Cloudbusting, And dream of sheep, and Under ice
- Beatles, Revolver: Eleanor Rigby, Here, there and everywhere, I want to tell you, and Tomorrow never knows
- Debussy, Estampes: Nos. 1 and 2 (Pagodes and La soirée dans Grenade)
- Familia Valera Miranda, Caña Quema: Alla vá candela and Se quema la chumbambà
- Anoushka Shankar, Breathing Under Water: Burn, Breathing Under Water and Easy
- New Directions
- Cage, Three Dances for two prepared pianos: No. 1
- Kaija Saariaho, Petals for Violoncello and Live Electronics
- Stravinsky, The Rite of Spring: Introduction, The Augurs of Spring, and Ritual of Abduction