Statement of Intent:
At St Gregory’s, the Music department recognises Music as a universal language which enriches the lives of all and thus we work to make the subject engaging and accessible for all. We seek to enable our students to grow in an appreciation of music, grow in confidence as musicians and develop as both solo and ensemble performers.
In their study of Music, students will consider how musical ideas are created, produced and communicated. They will be exposed to, and nurture an appreciation of a wide range of music from different times and cultures. Students will be encouraged to explore devices within the subject to find their own compositional creativity. Through listening to and appraising some of the greatest music, students will learn the language and history of music and be able to respond to given stimuli thoughtfully, critically and eloquently. This is enabled through an innovative and skills-based curriculum of practical music making, music theory and music technology. This curriculum explores the career opportunities students may pursue within the study of Music.
At St Gregory's Music department, we strongly support the Catholic Ethos of the school and provide our students with a rich selection of extracurricular activities and opportunities to participate musically in celebrations and Masses, through song and instrumental accompaniment. Students also enjoy showcasing their diverse range of musical talents at the annual ‘Starlight’ production in school, along with the annual school drama performance.
The National Curriculum for Music highlights the needs for students to develop skills in performing as a soloist and part of a group, composing and listening to and appraising music. These priorities feed directly into the three components of GCSE and A Level Music. Each of the Year 7-9 themes will bring together at least two of these components, equipping students with the knowledge and skills required for GCSE.
Students in Year 7 begin by looking at the fundamental building blocks of music – tempo, rhythm, dynamics, pitch and basic notation. As well as listening tasks, students will take their first steps creating and performing their own musical ideas. This is followed by a keyboard skills unit, which develops the students’ performance skills and music reading. Units on Instruments of the Orchestra and Musicals follow, in which students develop listening skills and knowledge of musical vocabulary, as well as composing programme music for the first time. The year ends with ukulele performance, teaching students a new instrument and introducing basic functional harmony.
Schemes of work in Year 7 link directly with GCSE Areas of Study Musical Forms and Devices and Music for Ensemble. Forms and devices are of fundamental importance in music composition and the Western music tradition. Students are able to explore basic binary, ternary, minuet and trio and rondo forms, which build their primary theory, listening and composition skills. More modern forms and devices are examined and applied in Year 8.
Building on the basic harmony introduced in the ukulele unit, students begin Year 8 learning about chords and chromaticism, providing them with a wide vocabulary with which to compose. Music of Horror looks at how composers create atmosphere using musical devices such as ostinato and drone. Students create music to perform as underscore for a film clip. The final unit of the year links popular and classical music together as students explore riffs and hooks, enabling them to see the development from ostinati in art music to riffs across a range of popular genres.
Schemes of work in Year 8 link directly with GCSE Areas of Study Musical Forms and Devices, Film Music and Popular Music. Students build on their device knowledge from Year 7, looking further at twenty-first century composition techniques and more popular strophic forms. This enhances their theory, listening and composition skills to support their study in Year 9, which engages more advanced skills in solo and ensemble arrangement.
Year 9 begins with the study of Jazz and Blues. Students perform jazz and blues standards as soloists and groups, and explore how different scales can be used as the basis for improvisation. The film music unit that follows uses a case study to examine how composers use music in films, particularly themes and leitmotifs. Students then compose music for their own film, using all of the elements that have been studied throughout Year 7-9. Year 9 ends with another chance to develop skills on the ukulele, with more complicated chords and strumming patterns than in Year 7.
Schemes of work in Year 9 link directly with GCSE Areas of Study Musical Forms and Devices, Music for Ensemble, Film Music and Popular Music. Students build on their device knowledge from Year 7 and 8 and explore more open forms of modern composition. Students advance their technique in solo and ensemble arrangement and are encouraged to critically analyse music to a higher level. This prepares students for the more complex concepts and components that are presented at GCSE.