"Take a music bath once or twice a week for a few seasons. You will find it is to the soul what a water bath is to the body." Oliver Wendell Holmes
Our vision is to broaden the musical world of our students and to inspire and encourage them to participate, create and perform. We aim to develop commitment, curiosity and collaboration within a practical and positive environment.
Music is taught in mixed ability groups. Students have access to keyboards, guitars, ukuleles and a variety of percussion instruments, depending on the topic. The Music Department has excellent facilities including a host of practice rooms, Macs and a recording studio. Lessons are generally lively and practical, and students enjoy their music-making.
Homework is set throughout Key Stages 3 – 5. This varies from practical homework or preparation for performances to research or listening tasks and essay-based homework for GCSE and A Level students.
There are opportunities for extracurricular ensembles with all instruments. The orchestras, wind band, choirs and a variety of chamber ensembles are an excellent way for students to develop their ensemble playing and enjoy making music. All ensembles are involved in our termly concerts, and some also form an integral part of the annual Founders’ Day and Carol Services.
Instrumental lessons are available for voice, drum kit, brass instruments, string instruments, woodwind instruments, piano and guitar. All lessons occur during school time and are provided weekly on a rota system. To apply for instrumental or vocal lessons, please go to the Hertfordshire Music Service website: http://www.hertsmusicservice.org.uk/
Key Stage 3
The aims and rationale of the curriculum in Years 7- 9 in Music are:
1) To expose students to a wide variety of different musical genres in order that they can understand, appreciate and comment upon familiar and unfamiliar genres of music.
2) To teach students the basic skills they need to access performance tasks (an understanding of different forms of notation and an introduction to a variety of different instruments).
3) To help students understand the important role that music plays in societies all around the world.
The three strands that are covered in the Music curriculum (KS3, GCSE and A Level) are appraising, composing and performing. The KS3 curriculum is designed to introduce students to these three strands. Different topics may place greater emphasis on one skill over the others, but all are included in each year of KS3. Appraising skills are included in each topic as a means of discussing and understanding the key features of the genre. Appraisal skills are tested through the end-of-year exams.
In Year 7, we aim to introduce students to the basic skills and vocabulary they will need to access future tasks.
In Year 8, we aim to cover a broad spectrum of different genres and styles of music. This will enable students to practise the skills covered in Year 7, whilst building an appreciation of music from different cultures and times.
The aim of Year 9 is to allow students to develop independence in choosing their musical direction. By this stage, they should have the necessary skills to access these choices.
Key Stage 4
Music is an optional and popular subject at GCSE level. The Edexcel GCSE course comprises three units.
In Unit 1, students will develop their performing skills in both solo and ensemble contexts. This unit encourages students to improve their self-confidence, motivation and independent practice techniques.
Unit 2 explores the technical and creative skills required for composing.
Unit 3 develops students' listening and appraising skills through the study of music across a variety of styles and genres. The four areas of study are: Instrumental Music, Vocal Music, Music for Stage and Screen, and Fusion Music.
Further details of the course content, method of study and assessment structure can be found in the KS4 Options booklet.
Music GCSE follows the Edexcel course:
Key Stage 5
Music at A Level is taught across the Hitchin Schools Consortium. The course develops students in an academic direction through analysing music in detail whilst continuing to perform and compose.
Full details of the courses offered by the Hitchin Schools Consortium can be found in the Consortium Prospectus.
Our Music A Level follows the Edexcel Course: