Music

Welcome to St Michael’s Catholic Grammar School Music Department for pupils involved in music at St Michael’s, their families, pupils joining the school and visitors.
Music is an integral part of school life. Alongside curriculum lessons in years 7-13, pupils have the opportunity to learn a musical instrument, participate in a range of extra-curricular activities and contribute to a wide range of school events including liturgies and concerts.
Class work at Key Stage 3 is mainly practical, based around the activities of appraising, listening to, performing and composing music in a variety of styles. Our department is always busy and is housed in a suite of six rooms of varying sizes including a designated Music Technology suite. 

GCSE MUSIC
GCSE Music is offered as an option for years 10 and 11. We follow the new AQA course. Lessons are split between preparation for composing and performing coursework and listening practice. All pupils are expected to take individual instrumental lessons during the course to help prepare them for the performance practical, which counts for 40% of the GCSE.
COURSE STRUCTURE
This specification follows a unitised structure. There are five areas of study for all of the units.

  • AoS1: Rhythm and metre
  • AoS2: Harmony and tonality
  • AoS3: Texture and melody
  • AoS4: Timbre and dynamics
  • AoS5: Structure and form

These are explored through three strands.
The Western Classical Tradition

  • Baroque orchestral music
  • The concerto
  • Music for voices
  • Chamber music
  • The sonata

Popular Music of the 20th and 21st centuries

  • Blues
  • Popular music of the 1960s
  • Rock music, R'n'B, Hip-Hop
  • Music theatre
  • Film music

World Music

  • Music of the Caribbean
  • Music of Africa
  • Music of India

ASSESSMENT
Assessment has four units.
Unit 1: Listening to and Appraising Music
20% 1 hour written examination 80 marks. Externally assessed.
Candidates explore 5 Areas of Study through 3 strands of learning.
Assessment is through a terminal examination marked by AQA examiners. Candidates respond to questions based on short musical excerpts drawing on music from all five Areas of Study. Recorded excerpts of music are provided on a CD. There will be objective tests, structured responses and extended response questions.
Unit 2: Composing and Appraising Music
20% Up to 20 hours Supervised Time for the composition and 2 hours Controlled Time for the appraisal 40 marks. Externally assessed.
A. Candidates compose one piece of music which explores two or more of the five Areas of Study and links to one of the 3 strands announced annually by AQA (10%)
B. Candidates appraise the process and outcome (10%)
Unit 3: Performing Music
40% Controlled Assessment 60 marks. Internally assessed and externally moderated.
Candidates offer one individual performance (acoustic or technology-based) and one group performance. The recordings can be made at any time during the course. Unit 4: Composing Music.
20% 25 hours Controlled Assessment 30 marks. Internally assessed and externally moderated.
Candidates compose one piece of music which explores two or more of the 5 Areas of Study in any style or genre of the candidate's choosing.

A LEVEL MUSIC
For A Level Music we study the new AQA course. Lessons are split between preparation for composing and performing coursework and listening practice. All pupils are expected to take individual instrumental lessons during the course to help prepare them for the performance practical, and individual support sessions are offered on composition. 
AS outline
MUSC1: Influences on Music (30% of AS)
Written paper 1 hour 45 minutes.
Section A contains structured listening questions using a CD of musical excerpts. Candidates then answer two essay questions, one based on the set work from the compulsory Area of Study, The Western Classical Tradition, and one based on a second Area of Study chosen from:

  • Choral Music in the Baroque Period
  • Music Theatre: a study of the musical from 1940 to 1980
  • British Popular Music from 1960 to the Present Day

MUSC2: Composing: Creating Musical Ideas (30% of AS)
Externally assessed coursework completed in controlled time.
Candidates respond to one brief from a choice of three:

  • Compositional techniques
  • Free composition or pastiche
  • Arranging

MUSC3: Performing: Interpreting Musical Ideas (40% of AS)
Internally assessed coursework.
Candidates offer two performances from a choice of six, including opportunities for solo, ensemble and/or technology-based performance.

A2 outline
MUSC4: Music in Context (40% of A2)
Written paper 2 hour 15 minutes
Section A contains structured listening questions using a CD of musical excerpts. Candidates then answer two essay questions, one based on the chosen set work from the compulsory Area of Study, The Western Classical Tradition, and one based on a second Area of Study chosen from:

  • English Choral Music in the 20th century
  • Chamber Music from Mendelssohn to Debussy
  • Four decades of Jazz and Blues 1910 to 1950

MUSC5: Composing: Developing Musical Ideas (30% of A2)
Externally assessed coursework completed in controlled time.
Candidates respond to one brief from a choice of three:

  • Compositional techniques
  • Free composition or pastiche
  • Arranging

MUSC6: Performing: A Musical Performance (30% of A2)
Externally assessed.
Candidates will offer two (or more) contrasting pieces to form a short programme for either solo acoustic performance and/or performance via music technology.

Extra-Curricular Timetable

European Music Tours

July 2012 marked the event of the school’s first European Music tour to Lake Garda, Italy. 82 pupils went to the beautiful Torbole at the north of the Lake and enjoyed a sunny week, alternating concerts with trips to the amphitheatre and historic city of Verona, a cable car into the mountains at Malcesine, an afternoon at a water park a boat trip and, of course, shopping. The participating ensembles, which included Glee Club, Orchestra, Jazz Band, Senior Choir, along with some small groups and soloist, played 3 concerts, with a concert in Torbole itself on the last night.

Plans for the next European Music Tour, due to take place in Summer 2014, are already underway!

Instrumental Tuition

Instrument lessons are a very important part of music provision at St Michael’s. The school firmly believes that pupils benefit enormously from the study of a musical instrument. The School, in partnership various private instrumental tutors, is committed to providing high quality lessons and extended curricular opportunities for its pupils.
All of the peripatetic staff are well qualified professional musicians who are dedicated to the musical life of both their pupils and the School.
Lessons take place once a week during the school day, with pupils on a rotating timetable to ensure they do not miss the same academic lesson each week. For Sixth form, these lessons are commonly arranged during free periods so you do not miss any curriculum time. Instruments available to learn at the school are as follows:

Flute / Piccolo
Violin
Voice (singing)
Oboe / Cor Anglais
Viola
Trumpet / Cornet
Bassoon
Cello
French Horn
Clarinet
Double Bass
Euphonium / Trombone
Saxophone
Piano
Tuba
Recorder
Drums / Percussion
Guitar – Electric/Acoustic/Bass

Please refer to the Instrumental Tuition Form for further information on cost and terms and conditions.

 

Music Tour 2012

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