Music is something that is extremely easy to take for granted. It surrounds us and forms an integral part of human life and experience. The study and practice of music has been conclusively proven to aid children in every subject area (see attached link for more information if you are interested in reading further) and the Small School place great value on music and a thriving culture of music. We nurture children’s innate musical abilities and the ability of music to help children in their scholastic and personal journeys. We teach children to not make personal value judgements about other people’s musical choices (music is after all incredibly subjective) but we also show that we will not tolerate hate-filled music in any genre. In a climate where Music is being cut from many schools and funding is falling away, we are committed to filling the school with music.
We provide music Class Lessons across the school for every class, right up to GCSE level. There are also opportunities for 1:1 instrumental lessons as well as singing in the School Choir.
In the Early Years we are primarily focusing on the basics through the medium of singing. This is the best way to introduce younger children to basic principals of music such as rhythm, intonation (being in tune) ensemble performing and encouraging confidence with opportunities for solos within the songs we learn. Repetition is key for younger children so you may hear the same songs for a while at home, but this is just what they need to be doing to learn the structure of the tune and the words.
From Upper Primary we have begun to add more practical and research elements into the lessons. Children are expected to do gentle research into topics we are working around such as listening to a song at home and then presenting information about it to the class.
We are also working more physically with learning songs from Musicals and inventing our own choreography. Children (as well as their parents) can join the school choir if they wish from this class group. We start to learn how to read written music and learn how to play simple tunes on a keyboard.
Lower Secondary sees the academic work around Music expand as we start to learn the tools and technical terms to discuss music in a more focused way. We study the structure of different genres of music including some of the GCSE areas (such as Rock anthems of the 1970s and 80s).
As well as continuing our practical work of singing and composition. We compose our own anthems as well as political songs and pop songs. Music for animation is considered and then a group composing task for this is undertaken. Film and game music are also studied as they are a major source of new music and indeed of money, within our society. Music is also placed in a historical context.
2014 GCSE/year 10 Music group after recording their solo performances at Trafalgar School.
The GCSE Years
The most focussed and intense years of Musical study come to fruition here. We study the OCR GCSE Music syllabus. Students learn how to use Music Scoring software (Sibelius) and work intensely on their composition and performance folios.
The main Areas of Study here are;
- My Music – where the student studies their instrument and it’s repertoire. These can be any instrument, voice (including BeatBoxing) and sequencing/DJing.
- The Concerto Through Time. Studying the development of this major musical form from it’s development in c.1650 through to the end of the Romantic Movement c. 1910.
- Rhythms of The World. Engaging with a diverse heritage of World Music including Indian Classical music, Punjab Music, Eastern Mediterranean and the Middle East, Africa (types of Traditional drumming) and Central and South America (Calypso and Samba).
- Film Music. Studying how composers make music that supports, expresses, compliments and enhances what is happening on the screen and in computer games.
- Conventions of Pop. Looking at a range of popular music from the 1950s to the present day.
We showcase our talented musicians in the annual Christmas Concerts and various other concerts and showings throughout the year.
Music Curriculum Outline
Here is a general outline of the topic areas studied at our school. Please note that this is principally a guide and is subject to change. THE TABLE BELOW IS STILL UNDER CONSTRUCTION
|Year 3||Seasonal Songs, including writing our own. Learning how to sing together and in tune.||Singing in parts and canons; more complex rhythmns; Spring songs and a small concert for the families.||Very simple notation basics; homemade percussion; four part singing.|
|Year 4||Reggae research; learning reggae songs; learning Christmas songs; working as an Ensemble.||Singing and moving; developing our own choreography for songs from Oliver! Performing these songs.||Practical keyboard skills; learning a set, simple tune and each performing it to the class. Assessment and evaluation of performance.|
|Year 6||Minimalism Project. Researching the music, analysing how it works and making our own minimalist pieces. Focussed learning of Christmas songs and adding in various live instruments.||Study around a GCSE topic area; Rock Anthems of the 1970s & 80s. Presenting to the class on the chosen Anthem. Analysing how they work and are structured. Creating our own Anthems (in two practical Groups)|
|Year 7||Learning about The Blues. Studying Classic Blues, learning how to play a 12 bar Blues.||Music for Animation Project. Initial research and class discussions around how music works in Classic animation. Creating original music for a set animation in two practical groups. Performing the music live to each other and recording.||Continuing Animation for term 5. Term 6 analysing classic pop tunes and then writing pop songs in groups. Performance, recording, appraisal.|
|Year 9||Getting up to speed with GCSE level musical knowledge and starting the GCSE Syllabus.The main area being The Concerto Through History.||Practical composing alternating with academic lessons. Starting Rhythms of The World area of GCSE syllabus.||Continuing with World Music; Indian Classical Music; Punjab Music, Eastern Mediterranean and the Middle East, Africa (types of Traditional drumming) and Central and South America (Calypso and Samba).
|Year 10||More focussed and detailed work, particularly in Composition and Performing with as much recorded as possible.||Film Music. Studying how composers make music that supports, expresses, compliments and enhances what is happening on the screen and in computer games.||Listening test revision and Conventions of Pop; Looking at a range of popular music from the 1950s to the present day.|
|Year 11||Final Compositions recorded and edited. Solo piece and Group piece. Performances recorded and annotated ready for submission.||Recapping all the areas of study with regular Listening Test question practise.||Final preparations before folio submissions and exams.|