Music is essentially a practical subject and the aim of the department is to enable the children to develop a range of musical skills. The content of the syllabus is based upon performing, composing and listening and appraising. Pupils are expected to complete tasks on an individual, paired or group basis. Pupils work is monitored at the end of each project through assessments in the three key areas, these form the basis of the National Curriculum level achieved.
The music department comprises a newly built music classroom containing a interactive whiteboard and excellent PA facilities. There is an adjoining ICT room for use by pupils when covering composing aspects.
The department also has a room solely for use by the peripatetic (instrument) teachers, containing an electric piano and a full drum kit. A second room is available when required which also contains an electric piano. In addition space is allocated for safe instrument storage.
There are a range of instruments available for use by pupils within lesson time, including tuned and untuned percussion and 18 keyboards (enabling paired use). We also have 15 computers with mini, midi keyboards within the ICT suite and a range of music software including Cubasis and Notate. There is a small selection of other instruments for loan to peripatetic pupils.
Pupils are given the opportunity to obtain performance skills on keyboards, voice and percussion instruments. Most lessons include either some form of instrumental and/or vocal rehearsal/performance with the pupils acquiring high levels of skill as they progress through the school. The pupils are encouraged to practice new skills learned in class at home if at all possible. Through singing and playing instruments the pupils develop confidence and extend their own musical experience.
Pupils are given opportunities to compose and perform/record their own music via the ICT suite, using traditional and non-traditional notation. They are encouraged to compose in a variety of styles and for a range of different instruments. The composing aspect of each project builds on knowledge gained within the performing task. The ICT suite enables pupils to record, save and refine their work each week. The department is hoping to be able to provide pupils with the opportunity of creating their own Cds to take home containing their composition works.
Listening and Appraising
The pupils develop 'active' listening skills with understanding of vocal and instrumental performances of different styles, cultures and historical periods. Listening is often used as a stimulus for the pupils own performance or compositions. Pupils undertake a listening and appraising assessment at the end of each project to bind areas of learning together.
In addition to normal music lessons, which are part of the curriculum for all pupils, there are opportunities for pupils to have instrumental lessons from the peripatetic teachers who visit the school weekly. Pupils who receive this tuition are expected to practice regularly and take Associated Board or Trinity College of Music practical examinations wherever possible.
We currently have pupils learning piano, percussion, strings, woodwind, brass and guitar. The school has a music policy for pupils who receive peripatetic lessons for a number of reasons. Instrument lessons are very highly sort after (there are currently waiting lists) successful pupils receive subsidized lessons from an expert instrumental teacher, the pupil also has time out of normal class and in some cases has free use of a school or County instrument. Attendance at an extra curriculum club would give a pupil extra performance/rehearsal time on their instrument, use of their instrument in an ensemble setting and the experience of playing within large ensembles with their instruments. As some extra curriculum clubs are oversubscribed this would also guarantee their involvement and secure a place in school productions and presentations.
The pupil would further gain enhanced appreciating and understanding of music during normal timetabled lessons and additional small group contact with the music coordinator who is able to closely monitor and assess pupils progress on their instrument and musical understanding and address any misconceptions.