“Music makes a kind of liquid link between the study of languages, literature and the other arts, history and the sciences – joining them together in the outer world of feelings and relationships and the inner world of the imagination.” Dr. R Holloway
All pupils at St. Edward’s receive one hour lesson of music per week. Each class has approximately 32 pupils and is mixed ability. Music is taught by, Mrs Ibbotson (Leader of Learning) and Mrs Dickinson.
The music room
The department has a fully equipped music room with 4 smaller practice areas close to the main classroom. The main teaching room has 18 full size keyboards (with headphones), a piano, a drum kit, 34 glockenspiels, 32 ukuleles and a variety of un-tuned percussion such as hand drums, triangles and guiros. The department is constantly seeking to expand its equipment base.
The National Curriculum for music is divided into the following key areas:
Performing: pupils sing songs and play instruments developing their control of pitch and rhythm. They practise rehearse and present performances with an awareness of their audience.
Composing: pupils learn how to improvise, developing melodic and rhythmic ideas. They explore, choose and organise musical ideas within musical structures. They produce, develop and extend musical ideas.
Listening and appraising: pupils analyse and compare sounds. They learn how the elements of music can be organised within different structures to communicate different moods and effects.
In year 5 all pupils are taught to play the recorder. This involves learning to read the notes of the treble clef stave.
Pupils learn the basic rhythms and rests of semibreve, minim, crotchet and quaver. They also learn the more complicated dotted crotchet rhythm.
In the second term of year 5 pupils learn about 'Rounds' through singing and playing as well as listening exercises.
Finally in the summer term pupil learn about Tudor music. They listen to examples of Renaissance instruments and identify them in music that they hear. They perform the music for a dance called 'La Volta' in groups. Finally they compose their own fanfare using a limited range of notes to emulate a natural trumpet.
Knowledge is assessed throughout the year in both written and practical tests.
Pupils are involved in a variety of activities that develop the skills of performing, listening and composing. Pupils extend and develop the skills gained in year 5 on the keyboard.
Initially, pupils learn about scales. They look at major, minor and pentatonic scales. They play and compose music to demonstrate the different moods of these scales. This unit is fundamental to the first unit of year 7 on ‘Blues Music'.
Pupils learn to compose music by responding to a variety of stimulus: pictures, stories and mood. They listen to a variety of music such as Mussorgsky “Pictures at an Exhibition” as well as theme tunes for TV programmes.
Pupils then go on to compose and perform music within a given structure: binary, ternary and rondo form.
This year begins with a unit on 'Blues Music'. Pupils learn about the history of the style as well as performing examples of 12 bar blues. Improvisation is a key feature in Blues music and pupils are given time to explore this new technique. At the end of this topic pupils compose a blues song using the 12 bar blues structure that they have learned.
The second unit in year 7 is ‘Theme and Variations’. This unit teaches pupils how to create a new piece of music using a short well known tune. They learn the techniques of changing the rhythm, changing the key, inversion and ornamentation. Pupils then compose a set of variations above a ground bass after studying Pachelbel’s “Canon”.
Finally, pupils study Gamelan music from Indonesia. They learn to recognise the music and understand how it is constructed. Pupils understand the relationship between Gamelan music and the culture surrounding it. They also learn how this music has influenced Western Classical Music.
Pupils begin the year by studying music for film and TV. They understand the purpose of the music and the context in which it is created. Pupils watch a number of different clips and analyse how the music is creating the mood of the scene. Pupils compose their own music for a given film scene to demonstrate what they have understood from their listening. Pupils then look at music in advertising and compose their own radio jingle in the appropriate style.
In the second term pupils look at song writing. They listen to, and evaluate, many different pop songs thinking about why they are successful (or not). Pupils perform their own version of a song such as
Yellow Submarine or
Please Don't Say You Love Me before composing their own pop song.
Pupils end the year by studying music from the Caribbean. Pupils understand how the history of the region has affected the music. Pupils learn to recognise the differing styles of calypso, salsa, merengue and reggae. Most importantly pupils understand syncopation and its role within Caribbean music. Pupils perform in the different styles as well as composing their own syncopated drum rhythms.