The Music Department
Key Stage 3
The department offers the National Curriculum in Years 7 and 8 with a primary focus on practical music making. Students learn about a variety of music from different times, places and cultures, which form the basis of units of work (one per term). All students have the opportunity to listen to, compose and perform music every lesson and are encouraged to take up an instrument to complement their studies.
Key Stage 4
GCSE music has grown in popularity and the department currently has a healthy intake in Years 9, 10 and 11. Students study the Edexcel course over three years, beginning in Year 9. Unit 1 (30%) is a performance unit where students are given the opportunity to perform as soloists and within ensembles. Unit 2 (30%) requires students to compose two pieces of music that can be based on, but are not limited to, pieces that we study. Unit 3 (40%) is taken at the end of Year 11 and students are examined on 8 out of 12 set works that we study over the course. Students who do not opt for GCSE music can continue to be part of the department either through structured ensembles, student led groups or the school production.
Key Stage 5
In the 6th form the department offers two courses:
AS/A2 music builds on the skills developed during the GCSE course. Students are required to study set pieces of music in depth and identify key musical features, as well as exploring the context and functions of different genres. Students will also learn fundamental harmonic principles and apply these practically (40%). As with the GCSE course, students are required to perform (30%) and compose (30%). AS/A2 music is a key requirement if students are wishing to continue music at higher education level. A final performance recital takes place for all AS/A2 music students at the beginning of Term 5.
IB music is offered at both Standard and Higher Level. This course covers music from many different times and places, with a clear focus on comparing and contrasting. Students are expected to produce portfolios of work. Higher Level students compile both performance and composition portfolios, whereas Standard Level students choose between these two options. This course gives students a good grounding in the skills needed to take music at university and its content is flexible depending on the intake.
Beyond The Curriculum
The music department is committed to the growth of music within the school and has built up a loyal following. This has led to good attendance at the following extracurricular activities:
Ukulele Club (Monday lunchtime)
Saxophone and Clarinet Ensemble (Tuesday lunchtime)
Jazz Band (Tuesday after school),
Orchestra (Wednesday after school),
Guitar Club, (Thursday lunchtime),
Choir (Thursday after school)
String Group (Thursday after school).
Many informal groups do develop during the year, depending on the types of events that are running.
We offer lessons on the following instruments: flute, oboe, clarinet, saxophone, violin, voice, drums, guitar(s), piano, brass.
The department holds two large scale concerts per year (at Christmas and at the end of Term 6) and regularly takes part in the Canterbury Festival and Sounds New Festival. We undertake one school production each year. Past productions have included Oliver! (2011), The Wizard of Oz (2012), Bugsy Malone (2013) and We Will Rock You (2014). The department welcomes students at break and lunchtimes, as well as after school (by appointment).
The music department consists of a dedicated teaching area. This contains a large main classroom, four practice rooms, a music office/technology room and a good sized instrumental cupboard for storage. The department is fully stocked with electronic keyboards, guitars and amplifiers, two drums kits, tuned and untuned percussion and a variety of woodwind, string and brass instruments.
Students regularly use Sibelius 7, Guitar Pro 6 and Abelton Live 9 to produce their own compositions. The department also has a portable MP3 recorder and a multi-track recorder, both of which are available for use by all students.
Ms G Fenn: Lead Teacher of Music and Head of Year 11
Mr T Archer: Part time Teacher of Music