For some students Music will be a new subject when they join Year 7, or they may have already enjoyed a rich musical education. Whatever each person’s musical journey so far, at the end of their first month at Pate’s all pupils perform to a large audience over three nights in House Music. Through this kind of experience and alongside class lessons, by the end of the year pupils will have developed basic skills in performance, composition, listening and theory. The fundamentals of rhythm, pitch, instrumentation, harmony and structure will also have been learned. More experienced musicians will have covered the same material but with a higher degree of challenge, recognising that individuals bring different experiences and have different needs. Throughout Key Stage 3, there is an emphasis on pupils developing independent musicianship, nurturing a lifelong engagement with music. During Years 8 and 9, separate elements are revisited each term, building on Year 7 and further developing creative, listening and performing skills, but this time in a wider range of contexts. Opportunities to enhance their cultural capital by working with outside practitioners and going to concerts is also part of their learning.
Those students choosing Music at GCSE follow the Edexcel course, which has three components: performing, composition and appraising. During Year 10, they will again revisit the elements interleaved between composition and set works. Composition exercises lead to the development of their free composition. Pupils give one class performance per term in preparation for their final recordings in Year 11. In Year 11, they will revise the set works and look at the wider context surrounding each one, whilst preparing for the final two questions of the exam paper. By Christmas both performances will have been recorded, and the free composition submitted. February half term is the deadline for the completed brief composition.
A Level musicians follow the Eduqas syllabus. Now honing their skills in performance, composition and appraising, pupils undertake multiple performances and composition tasks, supplemented by myriad opportunities beyond the classroom e.g. the Chapel Arts lunchtime concerts and school recitals. Working with Sound World UK allows compositions to be ‘workshopped’ by professional players. By the end of Year 12, they will have completed their free composition, studied their first symphonic set work within the broad context of the Classical Style and development of the symphony overall, and understood the development of jazz up to the 1940s. In Year 13, the symphonic topic is taken up to 1900, the jazz topic to the 1950s and they study the development of style in the early 20th century. Depending on their specialism, they will complete one or two more compositions, and perform their recital to the visiting examiner before completing the final listening exam.