Music

Intent

We want all students to develop their love and understanding of music regardless of their background and previous access to the subject. As a department our intention is to become an alternate universe where students are free to express themselves and their passions.

Aims

  • Music is inherently practical, and therefore, we aim to develop students’ knowledge and understanding of the subject by them actively engaging in lessons.
  • We aim to build students’ self-esteem and harness their creativity, allowing them the opportunity to express themselves in art form.
  • We endeavour to develop students’ social and moral education whilst enhancing key communication skills.

The course in Year 7 is designed to be flexible allowing the teacher to take into account the motivation and ability of any particular class. Throughout each lesson, we develop the students’ knowledge and understanding in four areas:

  • Performing/singing
  • Improvising/composing
  • Critical engagement
  • SMSC (Spiritual, Moral, Social & Cultural)

This is achieved through a number of different genres of music and a range of musical activities. During Key Stage 3, activities may be specifically focused on one of these areas for the whole lesson or sometimes we may encourage groups of students to focus on different areas. By the end of Year 9, we aim to have taught the majority of the students how to creatively engage with music, developing their understanding of how music can be manipulated to reflect different moods and atmospheres. They will also have a foundational understanding of music theory as well as the musical contexts of different musical styles.

In Years 10 and above, as well as continuing to develop the above four areas, we aim to nurture the students’ understanding of music theory and the set works in their temporal contexts, looking more deeply at how different styles and genres of music interlink.

Implementation

Key Stage 3

In Year 7, we begin with a unit designed to get students playing music together building up to creating their own musical piece. This helps students to gain confidence, and also enables students with experience in playing a musical instrument to extend their repertoire. All students in Year 7 are given a basic grounding in notation and the elements of music allowing them to compose more complex pieces over time. All students are encouraged to achieve their full potential in the three areas of music: listening; composing and performance.

By the end of Year 9, we aim to have taught the majority of students how to creatively engage with music by performing, singing and composing, developing their understanding of how music can be manipulated to reflect different moods and atmospheres.

PSHE is covered by studying different music from different cultures and how it has been impacted by historical movements and political upheaval.

Key Stage 3 – Homework

Students receive 30-40 minutes a week, and this can take many forms, such as a request to rehearse during the week, to record some of their pieces or develop a deeper understanding of different musical cultures.

GCSE Music

In Key Stage 4, we continue to build on the work done in the lower school with more emphasis on musical contexts. Students are actively encouraged to work on their composing styles, developing a more complex writing style and a more individualistic approach to composition.

Students can take Music GCSE and we follow the Edexcel specification. This consists of three components which break down as follows:

Content and assessment overview

The Pearson Edexcel Level 1/Level 2 GCSE (9–1) in Music consists of one externally examined paper and two non-examined assessments (NEA).

Component 1: Performing (*Paper code: 1MU0/01)       

Non-examined assessment: internally marked and externally moderated 30% of the qualification.

Content overview:

  • Solo performing
  • Ensemble performing
  • Approaches to performing
  • Assessment overview
  • Students perform for at least four minutes’ combined duration
  • Solo performance: this must be of at least one minute in duration, and may comprise one or more pieces
  • Ensemble performance: this must be of at least one minute in duration, and may comprise one or more pieces

Component 2: Composing (*Paper code: 1MU0/02)

Non-examined assessment: internally marked and externally moderated 30% of the qualification.

Content overview:

  • Developing musical ideas
  • Compositional techniques and strategies
  • Ensuring technical control and coherence
  • Methods of notating composition scores

Assessment overview

Students compose two compositions, of at least three minutes’ combined duration.

  • One composition to a brief set by Pearson, of at least one minute in duration.
  • One free composition set by the student, of at least one minute in duration.
  • Each composition will be out of 30 marks.
  • Internally marked and externally moderated.

Component 3: Appraising (*Paper code: 1MU0/03)

Written examination: 1 hour and 45 minutes 40% of the qualification.

Content overview

Musical elements, musical contexts and musical language. Areas of study:

  • Instrumental Music 1700–1820
  • Vocal Music
  • Music for Stage and Screen
  • Fusions

Key Stage 4 – Homework

Students receive around 45-75 minutes’ homework a week, and may take the form of research, planning, revision, composing, performing and exam preparation exercises.

Useful websites

A-level Music

All students who have studied Music GCSE can continue to study Music A-level. We follow the Edexcel specification which like the GCSE course is comprised of three components.

Component 1: Performing (*Component code: 9MU0/01)

Non-examined assessment: externally assessed 30% of the qualification.

Content overview:

  • Approaches to performing
  • Assessment overview
  • A public performance of one or more pieces, performed as a recital
  • Performance can be playing or singing solo, in an ensemble, improvising, or realising music using music technology
  • The total performance time across all pieces must be a minimum of eight minutes.
  • Performances must be recorded after 1 March in the year of certification and all materials for assessment submitted to arrive by 15 May in the year of certification

Component 2: Composing (*Component code: 9MU0/02)

Non-examined assessment: externally assessed 30% of the qualification.

Content overview:

  • Approaches to composing
  • Assessment overview
  • Total of two compositions, one to a brief set by Pearson and one either free composition or also to a brief.
  • One composition must be from either a list of briefs related to the areas of study, or a free composition, carrying 40 marks for this component. This composition must be at least four minutes in duration.
  • One composition must be from a list of briefs assessing compositional technique, carrying 20 marks for this component. This composition must be at least one minute in duration, unless the brief specifies a longer minimum duration.
  • Total time across both submissions must be a minimum of six minutes.

Component 3: Appraising (*Component code: 9MU0/03)

Written examination: 2 hours 10 minutes 40% of the qualification.

Content overview:

  • Knowledge and understanding of musical elements, contexts and language
  • Application of knowledge through the context of six areas of study, each with two set works, with the exception of Popular Music and Jazz, which has three set works
  • Vocal Music
  • Instrumental Music
  • Music for Film
  • Popular Music and Jazz
  • Fusions
  • New Directions
  • Application of knowledge to unfamiliar works.
  • The areas of study are: Vocal Music, Instrumental Music, Music for Film, Popular Music and Jazz, Fusions, New Directions

Written Paper

One written paper of 2 hours 10 minutes, with a total of 100 marks.

Key Stage 5 – Homework

Students in Year 12 and 13 can expect to spend approximately 3-4 hours a week on homework doing exam practice, research, composing, performing and planning.

Impact

  • The department has seen some pleasing academic results over the last few years. In 2021 30% of our GCSE students achieved a level 9-8, with 100% of our students achieving a level 9-4.
  • We currently have two GCSE classes running in year 10 and an ever-growing cohort at A-level.
  • *HOT OFF THE PRESS* Our Chamber Choir has got through to the National Choral Finals, being offered the chance to perform and compete in the Barbican, March 2022.
  • In Years 10 and 11 we take the students on a trip to the West End to see one of their set works performed live, allowing students to experience and enjoy music in a live setting, enhancing their understanding and creating a deeper love of the subject.
  • In addition to the curriculum learning, students in music have access to a large range of extra-curricular activities, aiming to provide opportunities for students of any ability and a love of any style of music to put their learning into action. Clubs run both at lunchtime and after school, allowing students to participate in music with the potential of becoming Young Music Leaders.
  • We run three concerts a year and a carol service at the end of the autumn term in which all our extra-curricular groups perform and showcase their talents.
  • Students are also offered a range of extra-curricular experiences to broaden their musical horizons, with the department taking the choir and orchestras on tour abroad to provide an opportunity to perform. These tours are extremely popular, and give students a unique and once in a lifetime experience.
  • Tuscany post & Germany post.
  • The department also works with Drama and Art, putting on a musical production every two years. The musical is open to all year groups and all abilities, helping to holistically support the young people in our care. This year our school musical was Little Shop of Horrors, with the cast ranging from Year 7 all the way to Year 13. The musical allowed students to work with other years, become a young leader, take on a musically demanding part, showcase their talent, learn more about sound and lighting, not least providing many with an opportunity to perform.

Music & Careers@Loreto

Want to find out more about Music work skills, then check out this infographics poster, which can also be found in the canteen.