The department’s vision…
This curriculum is designed to harness the wide ranging opportunities presented in an arts-rich school to transform the thinking, appreciation and behaviours of young people to become culturally competent citizens. By taking a highly practical approach to addressing the key skills and concepts addressed on the National Curriculum and beyond, we prepare our students to develop a lifelong love of the subject that they can apply to the wider community and possibly, their careers. We will provide creative opportunities for students to find their own voice and develop discipline and confidence through high quality rehearsal. We will provide a sequence of concepts showing clear progression of skills and knowledge in Music. It provides a framework from which relevant learning experiences can be planned, to broaden the horizons and experiences of Brownhills students, to enable them to recognise and take advantage of opportunities available to them, promoting the concept of aspirations.
Sequencing of lessons
Knowledge and understanding of the elements of music is taught throughout Year 7 to provide a foundation for all other musical understanding. This is practically explored through singing to ensure the culture of singing in the academy is established. This knowledge and these singing skills are immediately applied to Christmas Music to practice the ability to transfer key skills in order to achieve mastery. Students learn how to read music through keyboard activities which develops instrumental skills. Knowledge of the instruments of the orchestra and exposure to music from around the world practically experienced through Djembe drumming, Samba bands, Steel Pans and Ukuleles gives students a wide ranging practical offer in Year 7 to experience music making and apply new knowledge.
In Year 8 we aim to take this knowledge and apply it to more familiar music to develop a love of the performance aspects of the subject through the Musical Futures unit, exploring Rap, Pop and Rock music. This is followed by applying these performance and appraising skills to Musical Theatre to show how music and manipulation of musical features can be used in story telling. Students are continuing to experience this knowledge through a rigorous singing curriculum. This feeds into studying film music, in which students learn how to harness the elements of music on percussion instruments to create leitmotifs and descriptive music.
In Year 9 students have selected to do the subject and we explore the National Curriculum in more depth through the History of Music and Elements of Music unit. Students develop their theoretical understanding before then applying it to composition and more complex performance scenarios in the summer. As students become more skilled and well versed in group work in music, independent ensemble rehearsals and performances become an active part of lessons to experience music of multiple different genres.
In Year 10 students begin the GCSE by studying the elements of music, now with a more specific focus on the language used in the Eduqas GCSE Music exam. This is applied to choral singing and chamber ensemble performance as students apply this knowledge of the elements of music to Christmas music in preparation for public performance. With a more refined understanding of the language of music, music theory and the opportunity to have realised this through performance work students then study each of the four areas of study in the following four half terms. Throughout Year 10 and into Year 11, students apply new knowledge through a variety of different performance and composition activities to ensure that skillset is suitable for students to complete their composition and performance course early in Year 11. In Year 11, students do an in-depth study on the two set works in Area of Study 1 and 4, before dedicating lesson time to exam technique, aural training and particularly, the structuring of longer answer questions in response to Assessment Objective 4, considering a composer’s intention when using specific elements of music. Practical opportunities are still a prominent feature of this curriculum to ensure students maintain a love of learning and a relevant musical experience.
Assessment for learning will be used throughout the teaching of this curriculum to ensure that progress and understanding is developed from basic, advancing to deep with reference to the threshold concepts in each subject area. Opportunities for the students to apply their knowledge and understanding to performance, composition and appraising activities will be provided throughout the year and successes celebrated and shared. Students will become accustomed to being taught new knowledge and being assessed on their ability to apply it to listening, performance and composition. Students will be assessed on their full musical capacity to ensure we are nurturing aspirational, well rounded musicians of the future. The ultimate impact of this curriculum will be evidenced through excellent performance in external examinations with students consistently attaining at National Averages and the department always having a progress score of at least 0. Students will progress to study performing arts subjects at Post-16 level and will have developed a lifelong curiosity and appreciation for the arts.
Curriculum in action