KS3 Curriculum Guide
Music is taught to all pupils in Years 7, 8 and 9 for one hour a week.
In all Music lessons, an emphasis is placed on composing, performing, listening and appraising so that all pupils are actively involved in lessons. The Department encourages a “hands on” practical approach that embraces the ethos that pupils “learn music through making music”.
Lessons take place in the Department which is equipped with three full size teaching classrooms and four practice rooms, one which doubles as a recording studio. Pupils have access to a range of instruments including keyboards, acoustic and electric guitars, ukuleles, bass guitars, drum kits, African drum sets and various orchestral instruments. They also have the opportunity to make use of the ICT facilities which include 15 PCs equipped with MIDI keyboards and 9 Apple iMacs running the industry standard Logic Pro X software. We frequently hire sets of instruments from Essex Music Services and pupils also have the opportunity to hire individual instruments from the Service.
During each Scheme of Work, pupils have the opportunity to develop performing skills on voice, electronic keyboard, tuned and untuned percussion instruments and guitars. Any performance topics are related to the work studied in class.
Through composition activities, pupils experiment with musical sounds and develop them into arrangements and compositions in a wide range of musical styles and genres.
Pupils are also introduced to a varied repertoire of music from all historical styles, including jazz, popular music, world music, a cappella and electronic music.
The Department makes use of the online music studio “Soundation” which is offered in conjunction with Essex Music Services. This offers pupils the opportunity to learn about music production, mixing and recording and editing sounds.
Pupils will actively listen and comment to performances referring to the musical elements, the mood created and the cultural aspects of the music. They learn to effectively appraise their own and others work.
Topics covered in Key Stage 3 currently include:
- Keyboard skills and the Elements of Music
- Folk Music
- Indian Music
- Music Technology: Soundation (an introduction)
- African music
- Blues and Jazz
- Programme music
- Music Technology: Soundation (using loops and pre-recorded sounds)
- Film music
- Fanfares (in conjunction with RPO)
- Four chord songs
- Ground Bass
- Music Technology: Soundation (using note clips and creating original sounds)
During each Scheme of Work pupils are assessed on Performance (individual or group), composing and listening and appraising. The results of assessments are recorded according to the Sweyne Park School marking policy and the Department set levels. Pupils are also encouraged to share any musical talents that they are developing outside the school or through extension activities.
Pupils work is assessed for each topic and these levels form the basis of a termly overview grade for effort and attainment. Tasks completed in performance, composition and listening all contribute to this grade.
Each pupil is given a target level to aim for at the end of each Key Stage – Year 7 pupils aim to achieve a level 5L, Year 8 pupils a 5H and Year 9 pupils a level 6S to demonstrate readiness to continue study at GCSE level.
Beyond the Classroom
The Department takes every opportunity to invite visiting musicians and peripatetic teachers into the school to arrange workshops for pupils at Key Stage 3 and beyond. Opportunities given with Rochford District Council and the Philharmonia Project have been greatly successful.
There is a regular programme of extra-curricular activities after school which include the following: SPS Choir, Ukulele Club, the Harmonites singing group, SPS Band, Woodwind Ensemble and Music Tech club.
The Department hold annual events including the Christmas and Summer concerts which ensure that there are plenty of opportunities for those who wish to perform. There are several smaller events that also take place throughout the year and pupils are given the opportunity to perform within the wider community.
Instrumental lessons are available for all pupils and information regarding cost and times can be obtained by contacting Mr. J. Softly in Music or Mrs. J. Phillips in Pupil Services. Visiting teachers offer a range of instruments that include acoustic and electric guitar, flute, piano, voice and drum kit. Instruments can be loaned from Essex Music Services for a small fee.
How Parents Can Help
It is helpful if pupils have access to a keyboard at home to reinforce work covered in lessons. Pupils should also listen to a range of music on the radio, from Youtube or other sources.
Some research work for home learning may need to be carried out in a library either at school or at a local branch. Information is available on the school network to inform research and pupils are given a list of useful websites and links for projects given for home learning. The Department also aims to provide information on the VLE which pupils should find useful.
Pupils are given help by the subject teacher during individual or group activities. All activities are carefully organised so that they can be tracked at any level and pupils feel comfortable when approaching practical tasks as they are able to work to their own individual ability.
Practice rooms are available for use before, during and after school, and pupils are encouraged to use and enjoy these facilities.
Subject Leader for Music – Mr J. Softly
Teachers – Mrs E. Bradley, Mr J. Green, Mrs J. Hutton
If you would like further information or have any queries about Music, please contact Mr J. Softly who will be pleased to arrange a meeting at a mutually convenient time.