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. Students are assessed through composition/performance tasks and listening assessments which encourage them to use musical vocabulary consistently and effectively, also allowing them to consider why people respond to music in a certain way.
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 set pieces that we study over the course. Current year 11 students are following the 2011 specification, whilst year 9 and 10 students are taking the new 2016 specification 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
Edexcel A2 and A level 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 to a set brief (30%). A2 and A level music is a key requirement if students are wishing to continue music at higher education level. A final performance recital takes place for all A level music students at the beginning of Term 5 of year 13. The department has 100% retention between AS and A2 levels and 71% of the 2015 cohort continued to study music at university level. Music department alumni have gone on to study at the Royal College of Music, Bristol University, ACM (Guilford), The Institute (London), Edinburgh University and Surrey University.
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:
Saxophone and Clarinet Ensemble (Friday lunchtime)
Jazz Band (Wednesday after school)
Orchestra (Tuesday after school)
Brass ensemble (Wednesday lunchtime)
Choir (Thursday after school)
String Group (Thursday after school)
Chamber Choir (Tuesday lunchtime)
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, viola, cello, voice, drums, guitar(s), piano, brass.
The department holds two large scale concerts per year (at the end of term 2 and term 4) and regularly takes part in the Canterbury Festival and Sounds New Festival. The annual Carol Service in Canterbury Cathedral is a highlight of the school calendar and the department also provides musical acts for open evenings and other events. Individual student talent is celebrated with ‘Barton Court Young Musician of the Year’. We undertake one school production each year. Past productions have included Oliver! (2011), The Wizard of Oz (2012), Bugsy Malone (2013) , We Will Rock You (2014) and Grease (2015). 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. The department also has the use of a large performing arts studio and the main school hall.
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.