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St Thomas Aquinas

Year 6 Transition
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Music

Head of Faculty - Mrs Mary Johnson

“I am convinced that music really is the universal language of beauty which can bring together all people of good will on earth.”
Pope Benedict XVI

The curriculum ambition in Music is to provide opportunities for students to develop their knowledge, practical skills and understanding of different styles of music. Students listen to many different styles of music and develop an appreciation for musical culture.

At St. Thomas Aquinas, Music is an inspiring and practical subject where students learn how to work with others, develop the confidence to perform, use music technology and develop independence and resilience. We want our students to work creatively, develop confidence in performance and develop skills in reading and writing. We strive to create the best musicians who will develop a passion and enjoyment for the subject when they leave school.

A wide range of enrichment opportunities are available including students performing at school events such as full school Masses and concerts, at local community events and at collaborative performance projects with the Lumen Christi MAC Primary Schools. We work closely with Birmingham Services for Education who provide instrumental lessons for individual students and whole class workshops.
We help students to develop our key virtues of being attentive, intentional and eloquent in every lesson. They learn how to be intentional in rehearsal and as a member of an audience. We teach students to be respectful and that everyone deserves to feel valued.

Music

Curriculum

KS3 Overview 

At Key Stage 3, students have one weekly lesson. The curriculum is designed to provide students with the opportunity to study a variety of musical styles from different cultures and develop skills in performing, composing and listening. Students learn about traditional music notation and also have the opportunity to develop composing skills and perform on other instruments.

Tasks Covered

Students complete a range of tasks including: quizzes and peer and self-assessment tasks. Students are issued with definitions of key vocabulary which is recapped at the start and end of lessons. Students are then expected to apply this knowledge in their practical performances. Students also use vocabulary during written peer and verbal evaluations.

Year 7

Performing

Topics focus on keyboard skills and whole class singing. Students also perform on their own instrument and on a range of percussion instruments.

Composing

Students learn how to improvise rhythms and melodic ideas. We teach students how to write ideas in different forms of notation and how to create a melody.

Listening and Appraising

Students learn how to use musical vocabulary to describe the features in a piece of music. They are encouraged to give their opinions and are taught how to respond in full sentences.

Homework

Tasks include practice retrieval, quizzes, listening tasks and rehearsing short rhythms. 

Unit 1:

Topic: Introduction to Music

Skills Developed: Keyboard and Vocal Skills

Unit 2:

Topic: Ensemble Performance

Skills Developed: Keyboard and Vocal Skills

Unit 3:

Topic: Melody Writing

Skills Developed: Composing Skills

Unit 4:

Topic: The Blues

Skills Developed: Keyboard Skills and Improvising Skills

Unit 5:

Topic: The Orchestra

Skills Developed: Ensemble Skills and Listening Skills

Unit 6:

Topic: African Drumming

Skills Developed: Group Performing and Composing Skills

Year 8

Performing

Students continue to develop their keyboard skills by performing more challenging pieces of music. We teach students how to perform chords and how to perform an individual part in a group performance.

Composing

Students develop their composing skills by creating melodies and how to use rhythmic ideas to structure a piece of music.

Listening and Appraising

We build on the listening skills taught in Year 7 and regularly revisit the vocabulary taught in earlier topics.

Homework

Tasks include practice retrieval, quizzes, listening tasks and rehearsing short rhythms.  

Unit 1:

Topic: Pop Music

Skills Developed: Keyboard and Ensemble Skills

Unit 2:

Topic: Reggae

Skills Developed: Keyboard and Listening Skills

Unit 3:

Topic: Blues 2

Skills Developed: Keyboard Skills and Listening Skills

Unit 4:

Topic: Film Music

Skills Developed: Composing Skills Listening Skills

Unit 5:

Topic: Samba

Skills Developed: Composing and Group Performing Skills

Ks4 Overview 

BTEC Music is about performing, creating and listening to different styles of music.

BTEC Music also offers a wealth of transferable skills relevant to many other careers, including critical thinking, social skills, team working, leadership and communication, time management and organisational skills. It will have an impact on students’ ability to memorize, increase creativity, improve rehearsal discipline and provide endless opportunities to collaborate and work with others.

Performing Arts students are highly sought-after by employers.  Steve Jobs, founder of Apple, said part of his success was due to his hiring of musicians and other artists who had a flair for technology.

Why Study this Course

A BTEC Tech Award in Music Practice prepares young people for a career in the Performing Arts. The music industry is a big business and offers a huge range of opportunities in many different careers.

Links to Specification

Our exam board is Pearson. Use the following links to find the specifications:

Year 11 Spec-BTEC-Tech-Award-in-Music-draft.pdf (pearson.com)

Years 9-10 Specification - Pearson BTEC Level 1/Level 2 Tech Award in Music Practice 2022

Use this link for the Quick Guide to the Years 9-10 specification. BTEC Tech Awards Music Mini Guide A4P PRF2.pdf (pearson.com)

Use this link for the Quick Guide to the Year 11 specification. btec-tech-award-in-music-mini-guide.pdf (pearson.com)

Content outline:

English Language

  • Paper 1 - Explorations in creative reading and writing
  • Paper 2 – Writers’ Viewpoints and Perspectives

English Literature

  • Paper 1 – Shakespeare and 19th Century Fiction (Macbeth and A Christmas Carol)
  • Paper 2 – Modern Texts and Poetry (An Inspector Calls, Poetry Anthology and Unseen Poetry)

Non-examined assessment

  • Spoken Language Endorsement (a separate grade: Pass, Merit or Distinction) 

Year 9 

Year 9 Unit 1

Introduction to Exploring Music Products and Styles

Skills developed:

  1. Develop appreciation of styles and genres of music
  2. Explore techniques used to create music products.

 

Year 9 Unit 2

Music Skills Development 1

Skills developed:

  1. Exploring professional and commercial skills for the music industry
  2. Applying and developing individual musical skills and techniques.

 

Year 9 Unit 3

Topics covered: Responding to a Commercial Music Brief

Skills developed:

  1. Performing stylistically accurate cover versions.
  2. Creating original music using existing stylistic frameworks and traits. 

Year 10 

Year 10 Unit 1

Topics covered: Exploring Music Products and Styles

Skills developed:

  1. Develop appreciation of styles and genres of music.
  2. Explore techniques used to create music products.

 

Year 10 Unit 2

Topics covered: Music Skills Development 1

Skills developed:

  1. Exploring professional and commercial skills for the music industry.

 

Year 11 Unit 1

Topics covered: Music Skills Development 2

Skills developed:

  1. Applying and developing individual musical skills and techniques. 

Year 11 

Year 11 Unit 2

Topics covered: Responding to a Commercial Music Brief

Skills developed:

  1. Performing stylistically accurate cover versions.
  2. Creating original music using existing stylistic frameworks and traits.
  3. Stylistic use of Music Technology to create an original piece of music from a given starting point.

 

Assessment Details

KS3 Assessment details

At the end of each Key Stage 3 topic, students complete a practical assessment. Students complete regular vocabulary and listening tests based on the Knowledge Organiser. In Years 7 and 8, students receive a raw score for each practical assessment and we use these assessments to determine their attainment grade for the Progress Reviews (from A to E).

KS4 Assessment details

The course has two internally assessed components, and one that’s externally assessed. These components build on each other to motivate students by helping them put what they’ve learned into practice and grow in confidence. Internal assessment is through assignments that are subject to external standards verification. The three components are:

  1. Exploring Music Products and Styles - 30% Internally Assessed
  2. Music Skills Development - 30% Internally Assessed
  3. Responding to a Commercial Music Brief - 40% Externally Assessed

Component 1 allows students to explore musical styles and techniques and gain an understanding of roles in the industry. During Component 1, students will: explore different styles and genres of music, take part in practical workshops to understand stylistic features and characteristics, learn about the different products in the music industry and develop techniques in realising musical products.

Component 2 allows students to develop musical knowledge, skills, and techniques and apply them to a music product. During Component 2, students will: reflect on their progress, and on areas for improvement, choose a job role and explore the skills needed to fulfil it, develop a range of skills and apply skills and techniques in a music performance, creation or production.

Component 3 allows students to put skills into practice by responding to a brief as a composer, performer or producer. The external assessment takes the form of a set task taken under supervised conditions, which is then marked and a grade awarded by the exam board.

Assessment Materials

Sample assessment materials for Component 3 can be found here:

Music Practice | Pearson qualifications 

Useful links

BTEC Exam specifications:

Year 10 Specification: Specification - Pearson BTEC Level 1/Level 2 Tech Award in Music Practice 2022

Year 11 Specification: Spec-BTEC-Tech-Award-in-Music-draft.pdf (pearson.com)

Key Stage 3 Performing Music: Performing music - KS3 Music - BBC Bitesize

GCSE Bitesize: GCSE Music - BBC Bitesize

Key Stage 3 Music: Chrome Music Lab (chromeexperiments.com) This is an excellent free website that allows students to create beats and simple melodies and chord sequences. 

Extra-curricular activities

There are plenty of opportunities for students of all abilities to take part in music extracurricular activities. We have a successful School Choir and Senior Vocal Group. Students also play a full part in the Catholic Life of the school. They perform at School Masses, Family Masses and at other spiritual life events.     

There are endless opportunities for students to perform and share their talents. We have staged full scale productions including ‘Bugsy Malone’, ‘The Little Shop of Horrors’, ‘High School Musical Jr’, ‘Born For This’ and ‘Mary Poppins Jr’.

Music students are encouraged to participate in performances and trips to concerts. We also like to allow our younger students the opportunity to experience professional performances. Some of our recent trips have been to Birmingham Symphony Hall and the CBSO Centre.