Music

Music

The national curriculum for music aims to ensure that all students:

  • Perform, listen to, review and evaluate music across a range of historical periods, genres, styles and traditions, including the works of the great composers and musicians
  • Learn to sing and to use their voices, to create and compose music on their own and with others, have the opportunity to learn a musical instrument, use technology appropriately and have the opportunity to progress to the next level of musical excellence
  • Understand and explore how music is created, produced and communicated, including through the inter-related dimensions: pitch, duration, dynamics, tempo, timbre, texture, structure and appropriate musical notations.

Cockburn John Charles Academy’s Music Department follows a highly practical approach to lessons, being inspired by Musical Futures pedagogy. Students are involved in listening, singing and performing from day one. Theoretical knowledge is used to support the practical learning. Students learn how to play keyboard, guitar, bass, ukulele and drums and use these skills to play together in ensemble settings. They learn how to use their voices correctly and body percussion.

In addition to classroom lessons, students have the opportunity to further study an instrument of their choice with our peripatetic teachers. Currently we offer lessons in singing, piano, drums and guitar (including bass).

Students have lots of in-house performance opportunities such as lunchtime concerts, assemblies and the annual MADDFest (a celebration of all the Arts subjects in school). There are also opportunities to perform outside of school, festivals and competitions.

Key Stage 3

Year 7

What will my child learn about in Music this year?

Students will learn about the elements of music and how they can be applied to performances. They will develop their performance skills on a range of instruments as a soloist and as part of an ensemble. Singing is an important part of music as it helps to internalise sounds, rhythms and lyrics. In turn, this supports students’ understanding of the music and how different parts work together, to produce a successful performance.

  • Connect It– Students will perform a piece of body percussion called ‘Connect It’ which was commissioned for the BBC 10 Pieces Programme. Students will discover the elements of music and how to apply them into a body percussion performance. They will develop their team work skills by working as part of an ensemble and then further enhance their performance by composing their own sections.
  • Band skills Project – Students will learn what chords and chord sequences are by learning the chord sequence from a popular song. Through workshops, they will learn how to play the sequence on a range of instruments such as: keyboard, ukulele, steel pans, guitar and bass guitar. They will also have the opportunity to learn to play the drum kit. Once they have chosen their preferred instrument, they will work together, firstly as a class ensemble and then in smaller bands to produce a full performance of the piece including vocalists. They will explore different genres of music through this such as pop and reggae.
  • Find Your Voice – Musical Futures – Students will explore their voices and how to use them correctly. They will learn how to warm up their voices correctly and improve their posture. They will then explore how to sing in parts both as an accompaniment and as a lead vocalist. This will then culminate into a 4 chord mashup of popular songs.
  • ‘Mambo’ –- This piece was commissioned by the BBC as part of its 10 pieces programme. We will explore the riffs used in this piece on instruments and create our own compositions using them.
  • Keyboard Skills – Students will explore more advanced techniques on keyboard involving a range of technical exercises, hand independence and group performance. This will help the students to adapt their performance more widely into other units.
  • Reggae Band Project – Students will explore the traditions and key stylistic features of Reggae through performance on a range of instruments drawing on their previous experience in band skills. The students will learn more advanced techniques to prepare themselves for future years.

All students have the opportunity to perform in our lunchtime concert series, in assembly or in one of our evening concerts held throughout the year.

What type of homework will be set?

Students will not be set formal music homework however they will be encouraged to practise outside of lessons and join in the wide range of extra-curricular activities.

How will my child be assessed in Music?

Students will mainly be assessed on their performance skills. They will have to show accuracy, timing and fluency. Where appropriate, they will be assessed of their composition skills. They will have to communicate an understanding of the style/genre of music and demonstrate imagination and creativity.

How can I support my child’s learning at home?

Encourage students to watch video clips on YouTube of performances of the piece or style/genre they are learning. Help them to memorise lyrics to the song. If you have a keyboard or piano at home or are able to download a keyboard app onto a smartphone or tablet, encourage them to practice their part at home. If you have any of the other instruments they are learning practice can be done on these too. Short bursts of 10-20 minutes a day supports and sustains rapid progress.

Key Stage 3

Year 8

What will my child learn about in Music this year?

Students will further develop their performance skills on a range of instruments as a soloist and as part of an ensemble. The demand of the pieces and parts will increase using a wider range of notes, more complex chords and sequences and more difficult rhythms such as the use of syncopation.

  • Global Traditions – Students will discover the traditions and musical characteristics of a range of different cultures across the globe. They will learn about instrumentation and polyphonic texture. They will listen to a range of African & Samba drumming, Indian Raga, as well as English Folk music and draw upon their experiences to compose and perform their own piece.
  • Blues – Students will understand the origins of blues music and why it is so important in today’s music. They will compose their own blues songs and perform and rehearse using a 12 bar blues structure. They will explore the key features of blues such as a walking bassline, 12 bar blues structure and key rhythmic features.
  • Band skills 1 – Students will develop their understanding of chords and chord sequences by learning the chord sequence from a popular song. This chord sequence could include more chords, complex chords, complex rhythmic pattern or quicker chord changes. Through practice, they will develop skills on their chosen instrument: keyboard, ukulele, steel pans, guitar, bass guitar or drum kit. Once they have mastered their part they will work together, firstly as a class ensemble and then in smaller bands to produce a full performance of the piece including vocalists.
  • Chords – Students will develop their knowledge of Music Theory by undertaking a unit which uses keyboards to enhance their understanding of how music is created. This benefits all manner of ensemble skills and builds on the independence that the students have developed thus far.
  • Serialism and Minimalism – Students will learn the characteristics of contemporary western art music from composers such as Schoenberg and Reich. They will also compose their own 12 tone row and explore different ways to adapt this composition.
  • Band Skills 2 – self-development. Students will follow the model from the previous module with a piece of their own choice. They will need to work together as a band to choose an appropriate song and to source all the resources they will need such as chord sequence, chord charts, rhythm patterns, lyrics. They will have full responsibility for this project supported by the classroom teacher. They will perform their piece during lunchtime concerts or assembly.

All students have the opportunity to perform in our lunchtime concert series, in assembly or in one of our evening concerts held throughout the year.

What type of homework will be set?

Students will not be set formal music homework however they will be encouraged to practise outside of lessons and join in the wide range of extra-curricular activities.

How will my child be assessed in Music?

Students will mainly be assessed on their performance skills. They will have to show accuracy, timing and fluency. Where appropriate, they will be assessed of their composition skills. They will have to communicate an understanding of the style/genre of music and demonstrate imagination and creativity.

How can I support my child’s learning at home?

Encourage students to watch video clips on YouTube of performances of the piece or style/genre they are learning. Help them to memorise lyrics to the song. If you have a keyboard or piano at home or are able to download a keyboard app onto a smartphone or tablet, encourage them to practice their part at home. Short bursts of 10-20 minutes a day supports and sustains rapid progress.

Key Stage 4

Year 9

What will my child learn about in Music this year?

Students will develop their skills and understanding of the music industry in preparation for the BTEC Music course which starts in Y10. Students will be further challenged to progress their independence skills within an ensemble context and with their written work.

  • Ensemble Skills – Students will develop their understanding of how popular songs are constructed by learning a song as a group on a range of instruments including Guitar, Bass, Drums, Keyboards and Vocals. Then using their independence skills they will learn another song in groups. Through practise they will develop their rehearsal skills further to demonstrate that they are able to work collaboratively and efficiently.
  • Composing to a brief – Students will work as a group to create the lyrics, chords and arrangement of their own song. This will be to a given brief and the students will discuss within their groups how to achieve this. Students will regularly perform their progress to the rest of the class to gain feedback in order to best make additional progress and to understand the next steps of their learning.
  • Sequencing – Students will use music technology via the iMacs within the music department to sequence their own music. The music they will be creating will be to a brief that they have been given and told to create some appropriate music. Students will also develop their peer/self-assessments methods by listening to and giving feedback to other students’ work.
  • Skills Audit Performance – Students will self-assess their own skills to discover where their strengths and areas for improvement are. The students will then take part in skills development workshops in order to make progress with their areas for improvements. This will be alongside putting these skills into practise within smaller groups whilst independently learning a new song.
  • Roles and Responsibilities – Students will develop their knowledge of the music industry by learning about professional roles. This will assist students in their understanding of planning their own concert and the responsibilities they will have to ensure the safety and efficiency of their team. This unit will be aided with talks from industry professionals to give full context to what is being taught.
  • Planning a Concert – In the final unit of Y9 students will work collaboratively to plan all aspects of hosting a live event within the school. This will be a lunchtime concert which will showcase the talent within Cockburn John Charles Academy. Students will research best venues and most appropriate performers as well as create promotional material before hosting the event and evaluating the effectiveness of their planning

What type of homework will be set?

Students will be asked to rehearse their instrumental skills once a week outside of lesson time and to keep a practise diary of their progress

How will my child be assessed in Music?

Students will be assessed in line with BTEC grading criteria (Level 2 Pass, Merit and Distinction) and will be given feedback to improve their grade for future units of work. Students will need to show that they have engaged with the given brief and outline how they have met that expectation. Students will also be assessed on their performance skills. They will have to show accuracy, timing and fluency. Where appropriate, they will be assessed of their composition skills. They will have to communicate an understanding of the style/genre of music and demonstrate imagination and creativity.

How can I support my child’s learning at home?

Encourage students to practise their instrument outside of school hours. They can do this by watching video clips on YouTube of performances of the instrument that they are learning. Short bursts of 10-20 minutes a day supports and sustains rapid progress.

Key Stage 4

Year 10

What will my child learn in Music?

Students will gain a practical introduction into life and work in the music industry whilst developing key skills such as teamwork, leadership and communication. Students will develop and present music to a set brief and analyse and enhance their learning through the completion of various projects.

Students will complete two compulsory units during Y10 and two out of three optional units during Y11 in order to complete the BTEC qualification

Unit 1 – Exploring the music industry

In this unit, students will explore different styles and genres of music and take part in a series of practical music workshops to understand the creation process. They will also learn about the different roles within the music industry and investigate relationships between different areas of the music industry.

Unit 2 – Developing a Music product

Students will choose whether to perform, create or produce music and develop the skills required with these. They will systematically reflect on their progress throughout the process and adapt where necessary. This will culminate in the creation of either a CD or a concert showcasing their work.

What type of homework will be set?

Students will be required to practise their skills weekly in school and write an evaluation of the practise time. Additional homework will be set when appropriate to complete written coursework tasks for their final assessment. These could be in the form of research, completing a progress log/skills audit or exam revision.

How will my child be assessed in Music?

Students will be assessed through practical tasks & coursework based activities for each component. This could be instrumental performance or demonstrating music production skills. The grades will be awarded for being able to confidently apply a variety of skills during a various projects and tracking their own progress throughout the unit. Students will also be required to fully participate in rehearsals and set regular targets to improve their work.

How can I support my child’s learning at home?

Help to revise key information for the Unit 1 exam and read through written work the students have completed for Unit 2. Encourage students to practise their instrument outside of school hours. They can do this by watching video clips on YouTube of performances of the instrument that they are learning. Short bursts of 10-20 minutes a day supports and sustains rapid progress.

Key Stage 4

Year 11

What will my child learn in Music?

Students will gain a practical introduction into life and work in the music industry whilst developing key skills such as teamwork, leadership and communication. Students will develop and present music to a set brief and analyse and enhance their learning through the completion of various projects.

Students will complete a choice of 2 of the 3 following units

Unit 3 – Live Sound

This unit aims to put practical skills into practice with a focus on understanding the technical requirements for a live music event. Students will work with professional equipment to learn how to take responsibility for PA equipment for a school event.

Unit 4 – Composition

Students will be given a brief and will develop their compositional ideas in order to create the best product. The students will be using iMacs and a range of music composition software to create their final ideas.

Unit 5 – Music performance

Students will look at their own performance skills and aim to develop them. They will work with industry professionals to develop specific skills such as rhythm, improvisation and musical interaction. They will use relevant resources to develop their skills and then present their final response as a solo or a group. Student will then be expected to review and reflect on their project.

What type of homework will be set?

Students will be required to practise their skills weekly in school and write an evaluation of the practise time. Additional homework will be set when appropriate to complete written coursework tasks for their final assessment. These could be in the form of research, completing a progress log/skills audit or exam revision.

How will my child be assessed in Music?

Students will be assessed through practical tasks & coursework based activities for each component. This could be instrumental performance or demonstrating music production skills. The grades will be awarded for being able to confidently apply a variety of skills during a various projects and tracking their own progress throughout the unit. Students will also be required to fully participate in rehearsals and set regular targets to improve their work.

4 units will be completed over the course of Y10 and Y11, two will be externally set including a written exam which will be externally assessed. Two other units are internally set through communication between student and teacher. These three remaining units will be internally assessed and externally moderated.

The marks awarded will equate to a pass, merit or distinction. If a student achieves a distinction in all 4 units then a distinction* will be awarded.

How can I support my child’s learning at home?

Read through written work that students have completed for Unit 3, Unit 4 or Unit 5. Encourage students to practise their instrument outside of school hours. They can do this by watching video clips on YouTube of performances of the instrument that they are learning. Short bursts of 10-20 minutes a day supports and sustains rapid progress.

What can my child move onto with Music?

In music, many transferable skills are learned which will aid any future progression. These include communication, confidence, team work, listening skills and discipline.

Various courses are offered by further and higher education providers. Students can move on to a BTEC level 3 or 4 qualification which is a more vocational route or go on to study a more traditional A Level or degree. Many apprenticeships are also offered. These can be in practical music performance, music technology, performing arts or can be combined in most universities with another study such as history or journalism.

The career progression choices are vast and cover a wide range of musical skills and career paths. Careers in the music industry include music performance, music producer, songwriter, composer (of traditional pieces or video game/TV background music), band management, tour managers, roadie, publicist, music marketing, booking agent, concert promoters as well as many more.

If you are looking outside the music industry, there are also many more career options such as music teacher, music therapist, radio DJ, journalist, author and some music specialists deliver music workshops all over the world.