The Music Department at The Highcrest Academy enjoys the use of one large classroom, three smaller practice rooms, and secure storage space for instruments and equipment.
Our curriculum is inclusive, absorbing, relevant, varied, progressive and respectful and will aim to produce active and confident young people by giving them various opportunities required to reach their full potential in music. Students will develop related ‘soft skills’, outside of the obvious knowledge of performance, composition and theory, including listening, communication, discipline, perseverance, creativity, literacy and numeracy and emotional maturity. Our teaching will ensure that students develop their own performance practices and collaborate in companies to create original performance material. They will be taught to develop composition, devised and choreographic skills, helping them develop their musical understanding and the quality of their musical responses, whilst promoting good prospects for further study and a life-long appreciation for the art form.
Students have access to a wide range of instruments, including steel pans, a full samba batucada, ukuleles, xylophones, and African djembe drums.
Electronic keyboards are supplemented by Apple MacBookPro laptop computers, using Noteflight and Garage Band software. A range of instrumental tuition is available, both individually and in groups. The Department currently runs a Choir and instrumental group sessions and contributes to school events and regular concerts. Students can also learn instruments on an individual basis and are encouraged to initiate their own projects.
During the course of KS3, the curriculum sets out to achieve a number of things: to impart a set of key skills in music, to enhance pupils’ creativity to broaden their understanding, appreciation and application of a wide variety of musical forms.
In addition to classroom work, pupils are encouraged to take part in extra-curricular music activity, such as the school choir, orchestra and other clubs.
During Year 7, pupils’ understanding of music is explored through a set of descriptive processes, exploring verbal description, pictorial and graphic representation, and finally through conventional music notation.
Sound production is explored scientifically, transferring this understanding to how orchestral and other instruments work and sound. Pupils explore musical composition and performance, beginning with the basic musical elements, before moving on to create their own songs by the end of the year.
Pupils build on skills acquired in Year 7 and start to broaden their musical cultural horizons.
Relating words to music and acquiring an understanding of basic harmony are achieved during a study of Jazz and Blues music. Students then have a chance to extend the song writing skills they developed in Year 7 by using more advanced techniques and expanded instrumentation. Finally, students produce a performance in groups, playing different instruments together. The KS3 curriculum is intended to provide a skillset in music which will stand pupils in good stead should they opt not to continue with music at the end of Year 8. It also offers a sound preparation for those students who wish to extend their studies into Years 9, 10 and 11.
YEARS 9, 10 & 11
We follow the OCR Music GCSE, which focuses on the following areas of study:
- The Concerto Through Time
- Film and Video Game Music
- Conventions of Pop
- Rhythms of the World
- My Music (performance and composition)
Students extend their skills in performing, composing, listening and appraising throughout the course, and prepare to deliver two assessments, each in performing and composing and a listening examination at the end of the course. Students have access to a range of music technology throughout. Students are not required to have individual instrumental tuition to take music at GCSE, although it is recommended.
Year 9 begins with a crash course in music theory, bringing all students up to speed with the basics of reading and writing standard notation. Performance practice also starts early; students are encouraged to learn pieces/songs and perform in front of each other for peer feedback and to build their confidence. Later in the year, students also begin learning about their first unit of study, and start to use music technology to produce compositions.
Year 10 includes the bulk of content learning – covering the majority of the areas of study required for the listening exam, while continuing to work on composition and performance skills.
Year 11 is mostly focused on completing the composition and performance coursework, before revising the areas of study ahead of the final listening exam.
The course allows students to experience a wide range of musical traditions from around the world and through history, as well as developing skills they can take with them, whether they choose to continue their formal study of music or not.