The music department is a thriving and vibrant department where all students can access a variety of musical experiences both through curricular and extra-curricular activities. We believe that all students should be able to access high quality musical experiences and we are passionate about encouraging each student to achieve their potential.
Head of Department: Mrs N Austin
Teacher of Performing Arts: Mrs R Lee
Our outstanding facilities consist of one large teaching room equipped with interactive whiteboard, visualiser and a suite of iMacs and keyboards, one smaller teaching room which can be used as a recording space, three practice rooms with keyboards, electronic drum kits and iMac and a recording studio in which students have the opportunity to learn to record and mix using industry standard software.
Musical education plays a central role in shaping our sense of our personal, social and cultural identity and as such enables students to learn to express themselves and the confidence needed to succeed in their education. In addition, learning music develops a wide variety of transferable skills and attributes including independence, confidence, perseverance and creativity.
Key Stage 3
In Year 7 students learn to read musical notation and use musical vocabulary to describe the music they perform and create. They develop confidence in their singing voices, challenging perceptions and the changes in their voices and start to gain basic performance skills on keyboard and guitar by performing solos and in small ensembles. They have regular opportunities to use their skills in composition activities using live instruments and the iMac suite.
In Year 8 students study a number of projects including learning about “Theme and Variations” as a basis for further composition; film music where they analyse film music learning to play themes from popular films, before creating their own soundtrack using GarageBand; and hooks, riffs and songwriting where they learn about using chords to give structure to their music.
Key Stage 4
At Key Stage 4, students who opt to study music will follow the EDUCAS GCSE course. Where this is not a suitable course due to the performance and listening aspects, students will complete BTEC Level 2 in Music which enables them to learn the same musical skills but the assessment is carried out in a different manner. All students have the opportunity to continue their education with Music GCSE or BTEC with no conditions.
In Year 9 students will develop their music skills further through performance and composition activities, while building the confidence to use specific terminology to describe the music they hear and create. Students will cover topics that are included in the GCSE course and learn the skills needed to access the study of set works. Students also learn how to manage a concert and learn how the music industry works, in line with the BTEC pathway.
In Year 10 everyone will developing their performance and composition skills while studying the following units:
- Musical Forms and Devices
- Music for Ensemble
- Film Music
- Popular Music
They also study the set works of Mozart’s “Eine Kleine Nacht” and the song “Since You’ve Been Gone”.
In Year 10 you will develop your music skills further through composition activities, learning to play an instrument as part of an ensemble and individual sessions.
In Year 11 students complete their controlled assessment and prepare for the written paper:
- Record 4 – 6 minutes of solo and ensemble performance, 30% of the GCSE
- Create 3-6 minutes of your own 2 pieces of music, one of which is to a brief set by the exam board. 30% of the GCSE
- Listening and Appraising Paper worth 40% of the GCSE.
The music department runs regular trips. Trips in the last year have included 2 visits to Symphony Hall in Birmingham to hear “The Piano Guys” and Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, an opportunity to watch a final dress rehearsal of “Fiddler on the Roof” and to see “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” in the West End.
All Saints’ Academy has a successful Academy choir which sings at a variety of engagements throughout the year. These have included singing in Gloucester Cathedral at the Inauguration of the first female Diocesan Bishop and the Holocaust Memorial event at the Cheltenham Municipal Chambers.
We also have a growing Year 7 choir that supports the transition from KS2 to enable students to join the Academy choir when appropriate. There are also lunchtime guitar and keyboard clubs and opportunities to have private lessons on a variety of instruments.
The BTEC Level 3 course provides a variety of the skills required for professions such as music therapy, arts administration, music technology, music teaching, music production and recording. The skills developed through the study of music are also useful in a wide range of careers. These include analytical ability, confidence, listening and presentation skills. Examples of the paths taken by some former students include studying musical performance at BIMM, studying media at university and doing an apprenticeship at a large recording studio in Hamburg.
Where students are confident at performance there is the opportunity to access A level music following the EDUCAS syllabus.
Music at Sixth Form
Music & Music Technology BTEC
Music Technology is the application of technology to the musical arts. It involves the use of sequencers and editing software, recording equipment and electronic musical devices. Musical technology is constantly evolving which makes it an interesting and exciting field of study. The course encompasses the composition, recording, and playback of music, touching on the management of live performance and the production of various sounds. In the second year of study students are given an opportunity to choose an area of study to carry out an extended piece of research and are given a thorough understanding of the music industry, contracts and business plans.
BTEC Level 3 Music can lead to specific careers in broadcasting, sound engineering, composing, production and arts administration. It also develops communication skills, problem solving ability and creativity which are necessary in many careers. There is also the opportunity for work experience with a professional orchestra, professional musicans, recording and producing of tracks for albums and website use.
The course is devised around the needs of the student with options being chosen to enable students to be challenged in the fields that interest them.
In Year 12 students complete 3 units and in Year 13 another 3 units.
Acoustics for Musicians
Music Production Techniques
Sequencing Systems and techniques
The Sound and Music Industry
The Functional Music Keyboard
Special Subject Investigation
Assessment is all coursework based and is based on the completion of a portfolio of evidence about tasks and assignments set in class.
From 2018 students will have the opportunity to study A Level music following the EDUCAS specification.
The course requirements are:
- Solo or ensemble if the 25% option (6 minute performance)
- Specialist performance option (35%) you must include a solo performance (10 minutes)
- One performance must be linked to an area of study
- 2 compositions (4 minutes total) for 25% option
- Specialism in Composition is 3 pieces of music (8 minutes total) for the 35%
- 1 composition must be linked to Western Classical style in response to a brief set by WJEC
- Listening examination plus an essay
- 3 Areas of Study
- 1: Western Classical Tradition (Development of the Symphony 1750-1900)
- 2: either: Rock and Pop, Musical Theatre, Jazz
- 3: either: Into Twentieth Century, Into Twenty-first century
Ideally to study music at Level 3 students should be able to provide evidence of achieving a:
BTEC Level 2 in Music/Performing Arts/Creative media: preferably a merit or distinction or GCSE music.
5 GCSEs A*-C including 5’s in English and Maths. Where students do not have these qualifications they will need to undertake an interview.
However, at All Saints’ Academy we have the belief that every students can succeed when the right support is put in place and to succeed at music the main pre-requisite is the passion to accept challenge and love music.