Year 9 Excitement

Year 9 is our exciting specialism year. It is designed as a higher-level Key Stage 3 curriculum which creates a solid foundation for GCSE study in year 10. Musicians who chose Music as a specialism in Year 9 enjoy the exclusivity and higher level of learning on offer because they are surrounded by like-minded musicians who can push each other further inside and outside of lesson time.

Term 1 – Ensemble arrangement: Students are in groups and must choose a song to arrange for the instrumentalists/vocalists available in their group. Students are taught rehearsal skills, ensemble skills such as balance, intonation and timing. Alongside this task, students learn about dissonance, major/minor scales, diatonic harmony, tonic/dominant and degrees of the scale, The Circle of 5ths as well as major and minor chord theory.

Term 2 – Aesthetics of Software: Students are instructed in how to use both Sibelius and Cubase software through small compositional exercises built on learning from Year 7/8. Through these tasks, students also learn about pedal notes, Min and Maj 7ths, Ostinati, dynamic terms as well as some basic FX work in Cubase.

Term 3 – Analysis of ‘Rollin’ in the Deep’: The first analysis session begins here. Using a score, students learn about the harmony, melody, structure and texture of the song ‘Rollin’ in the Deep’ by Adele. They learn through playing whilst analysing the score at the same time. To supplement this work, students also learn texture terms, cadences, tempo terms, syncopation and compound time signatures.

Term 4 – Group ‘Pop Song’ Composition: A refresher project building on what was learnt in Year 8 and in Term 2. Lyrics are used to create rhythmical patterns for melodic writing. Students will also learn how to create contrast between sections. Students are encouraged to utilise extended chords and pedal notes.

Term 5 – Melody Writing and Chord Choices: A term spent on practising analyisis of further scores in areas such as, but not restricted to: Key, Structure, Meter, Instrumentation, Texture, Chord choices and harmonic movement, rhythmical features and melodic analysis.

Term 6 – Individual Composition: Students create their own first composition in school curriculum time. Students are provided with a brief to provide structure and restrictions to focus their creativity. Students can compose in any style, and can either compose on their instruments, notate using Sibelius software or compose directly into Cubase.

Year 10 Expertise

Year 10 sees the start of coursework and exam preparation for the GCSE music specification. It is a mixture of independent instrumental/vocal work (often with the guidance of a peripatetic teacher), individual and group composition and musical analysis.

Term 1 – Killer Queen Analysis: Students will begin to analyse one of the set works which will form part of the exam in Year 11. They will learn about pop structures, guitar and vocal techniques, chord progressions and expectations of music of this era.

Term 2 – Solo performance: Students will work towards completing a solo performance which will be assessed against GCSE criteria.

Term 3 – Composition to a Brief: Students will begin a composition using either Sibelius, Cubase or by performing live. The composition will be to a brief set by the teacher and will encourage students to consider audience and context. This could be the composition that is submitted for the ‘free composition’.

Term 4 – Defying Gravity Analysis: Students will explore the music of Wicked and learn about musical theatre. They will learn about how the use of orchestral instruments and extended techniques, tonality and modulations and melody can create drama and tension in music.

Term 5 – Free Composition: Students will begin their free composition which will be submitted as part of the GCSE coursework. This composition may be for any combination of instruments and in any style. They may complete the composition in Sibelius, Cubase, or by performing live.

Term 6 – Music for a While and Brandenburg concert No.5 Analysis: Students will explore Baroque music by looking at pieces by Purcell and Bach. They will study the fundamentals of Baroque music by analysing harmony, tonality, structure, instruments, texture and melody.

Year 11 Expertise

Year 11 is a combination of completing coursework, analysing set works and revision tasks ready for the exam.

Term 1 – Composition to a Brief: Student will complete a composition set to a brief by the exam board. Examples of previous briefs include writing a song for solo voice to be performed at a leavers’ assembly, writing the music to a chase scene in a film, and writing music for a folk festival. Star Wars Analysis: Students will explore the film music genre and analyse the music from the opening titles of Star Wars.

Term 2 – Solo Performance: Students will work towards completing a solo performance which will be assessed against GCSE criteria. Pathetique Sonata Analysis: Students will analysis this dramatic Beethoven piano piece, learning about how the use of instrument, melody, structure, tonality and harmony are typical of the era.

Term 3 – Samba Em Preludio and Release Analysis: Students will explore how music can be a fusion of different styles by exploring the genres of Samba, Jazz, Celtic and African music, and how these influences are seen in the set works.

Term 4 – Coursework: Students will spend this term completing any outstanding coursework. This includes a solo performance, an ensemble performance, a free composition and a composition set to a brief.

Term 5 – Revision

Term 6 – Revision