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 has a healthy intake in Years 9, 10 and 11, with all groups being above the national average intake. 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, as well as unfamiliar extracts. 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 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(40%). As with the GCSE course, students are required to perform (30%) and compose (30%). A final performance recital takes place for all A level music students at the beginning of Term 5 of year 13, in which students must prepare 8 minutes of music. Students are encouraged to be creative composers (through free compositions), whilst studying fundamental harmonic principles (through a technical study option). A level music is a key requirement if students are wishing to continue music at higher education level. A significant number of Barton Court A level musicians go on to study music at higher education, with 71% of the 2015 cohort, 60% of the 2017 cohort and 100% of the 2018 cohort undertaking degrees in music or performing arts. 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. The course continues to go from strength to strength, with a healthy uptake in Y12 for 2018-2019 (again above the national average).
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 (Tuesday after school)
Orchestra (Wednesday 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, voice.
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. 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), Beauty and the Beast (2016), My Fair Lady (2017) and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat (2018). We are very active in the local community and the choir have performed for Pilgrims Hospice and undertaken Christmas charity carol singing. The department welcomes students at break and lunchtimes, as well as after school (by appointment). Future projects will include forging stronger links with local universities, specialised workshops and projects and expanding our charitable work.
The Music Department consists of a dedicated teaching area. This contains a large main classroom, GCSE/A level classroom, five 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 the main school hall, which contained high level audio equipment and a grand piano
Students regularly use Sibelius Ultimate, Guitar Pro 7 and Abelton Live 10 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.