Music

“Music enhances the education of our children by helping them to make connections and broadening the depth with which they think and feel. If we are to hope for a society of culturally literate people, music must be a vital part of our children’s education.” 

Yo-Yo Ma

 

Music at Kings Langley School

Kings Langley School Music Department is welcoming and flourishing, and aims to create a learning environment that is stimulating and inspiring. We aspire to deliver a curriculum that nurtures our students’ musical and intellectual curiosity, and also provides every student with the opportunities they need to be successful.

Whilst studying music at Kings Langley School, students develop understanding and empathy as they study a range of different cultures and time periods. Our knowledge-rich curriculum helps to develop the ‘well-rounded musician’ who can intelligently listen to and discuss music. Students will be able to make intelligent connections between what they are studying and things outside of their music lessons, linking to other bits of knowledge and understanding from other subjects and life experiences. They will experience that music is a door to other times, cultures, people and places and that music is never JUST about what we can hear.

Every member of the music department, which includes our talented team of peripatetic teachers, hopes to pass on their passion and interest for music through their excellent subject-knowledge and musical expertise. Our wide range of extra-curricular opportunities, which happen at lunchtimes and after school, make the music department a hive of activity all-year round. Our ensembles have local standing and are regularly invited to perform in local events, such as the Kings Langley Christmas Lights event and the Summer Carnival. Our performance events celebrate the wealth of talent at Kings Langley School and always a source of great pride for the school.

As well as offering a wide selection of extra-curricular groups, we also offer trips to perform abroad with our popular Music Tours. As part of our Activities Week, we sometimes take a group of students abroad to perform a series of concerts. During our trip to Germany in 2019, our big finale of ‘Somebody to Love’ by Queen (which involved the entire group of students on tour) was heard by a local wedding party who requested for us to perform it again at their venue nearby after our final concert.

We aim to create a friendly, welcoming atmosphere within the music department where all students feel comfortable to try new skills and make friends across different year groups. Older students regularly become mentors for younger students in our ensembles, and learn responsibility and leadership by rehearsing students in lower years. 

Staff:

Miss F Sargeson - Acting Subject Leader of Music

Mr R Flowers - Teacher of Music

Curriculum Intent

At Kings Langley School we aim to deliver a curriculum which is both knowledge-rich and skills-based. Our aim is that students develop a secure understanding of a wide range of musical styles, and learn a wide range of practical skills to embed and reinforce that knowledge. We believe that music is understood best when taught through practical music-making and when blended with a secure knowledge base. We aim to unlock an enthusiasm and curiosity for music in each student by introducing them to many styles of music outside of their normal playlists, whilst also linking their own music into our studies.

One of our aspirations is that all students are able to analyse and speak with confidence about music. Students will be able to form links between Music and their other subjects, such as Humanities, English, Science and Art. For example, the study of ‘The Blues’ in Year 8 links easily to the study of the history of the Slave Trade: it links to discussions about African music, African culture and the Colonial Powers which once were. By recognising and understanding the history and context alongside the audible music, students gain cultural awareness and compassion, complimenting the school’s character programme.

Above all, we believe that music should be accessible to all students, and therefore provide many opportunities within the curriculum for students to find the thing that inspires them most. Students have the opportunity to study a range of different instrumental skills within their KS3 lessons, before opting to specialise in their chosen instrument(s) in GCSE and A Level. The department has a Mac suite and sound studio, as well as subject-specific laptops for students to use when composing (using programs such as GarageBand and Sibelius). Furthermore, ensemble-work within the curriculum encourages positive working relationships between students and teaches co-operation and leadership.

Key Stage 3 (Years 7-9) 

At Key Stage 3, we focus on developing secure knowledge and understanding of the elements of music, as well as teaching a range of instrumental skills (piano/keyboard; ukulele; guitar; drums; bass guitar; composition; vocal skills; ensemble/band-work; and African drumming to name a selection). Our topics include a mixture of listening and appraising skills; composing skills; and performing skills – the key skills required in GCSE and in A Level. A wide range of styles and eras of music are explored within the Key Stage 3 curriculum, laying down a secure support for additional knowledge built at Key Stage 4 and 5.

YEAR 7

Introduction to the Elements of Music

Exploring Rhythm

Keyboard Skills

Instruments of the Orchestra

Ukulele Skills

Chinese Pentatonic Music

Rationale-

Introducing key concepts which are built upon

Rationale-

A focus on music notation and group performances

Rationale-

Developing practical performing skills and embedding music notation knowledge

Rationale-

Building contextual knowledge and listening/appraisal skills

Rationale-

Developing practical performing skills; accompaniment skills

Rationale-

Learning about music from another culture; knowledge of different scales (Western and Eastern)

YEAR 8

All about that Bass

 

Theme and Variations

 

The Blues

Computer and Video Game Music

Film Music

Reggae

Rationale-

Developing music notation knowledge through Ground Bass pieces

Rationale-

Learning about the Western Classical Tradition through composition and performance

Rationale-

Developing understanding of chords and structures whilst studying Blues and Jazz styles

Rationale-

Developing understanding of the use of music in modern game technology

 

Rationale-

Understanding how music is used in films; experimenting with creating ‘effect’

Rationale-

Group performance topic developing ensemble skills; learning about the Reggae style

YEAR 9

Keyboard Skills: ‘20th century Keyboard Covers’

 

Music Analysis: ‘BBC 10 Pieces’

 

World Music

Rap and Hip-Hop Music

Cover Song Project

Musical Futures/Song-writing Project

Rationale-

Developing keyboard skills and studying a range of styles by creating ‘covers’

Rationale-

Developing contextual understanding of a range of pieces through listening/appraising work and group performance

Rationale-

A practical exploration of music from a different culture

Rationale-

Discovering how the popular style developed and exploring the genre

Rationale-

A group-work band project which develops students’ instrumental skills whilst applying contextual knowledge of musical conventions

Rationale-

Applying all knowledge and skills from KS3 to compose/ perform

Key Stage 3 useful links

Music Theory

BBC Bitesize 

Key Stage 4 (Years 10-11)

At Kings Langley School, students can choose to work towards a GCSE in Music. (Edexcel GCSE Music)

There are three main skills in the study of music:

  • Listening and Appraising
  • Performing
  • Composing

Listening and Appraising:

The ability to listen and understand is taught through the detailed study of 8 contrasting pieces, ranging from the Baroque era to the 21st century. A secure basis of music theory is taught to all students, as well as a history of music. By studying a range of pieces in detail, students all gain knowledge about style and context. They gain the confidence to be able to compare and contrast other pieces.

Performing:

Students continue their studies of at least one instrument with our peripatetic staff or with private teachers outside of school. The ability to perform music with accuracy, fluency and confidence are worked on both in the class and in their individual lessons culminating in a practical performance exam in Y11 on their chosen instrument.

Composing:

By studying composition, students gain an in-depth understanding of music theory and conventions of styles and is supported by the study of the set pieces. The music department has several Macs which have GarageBand as well as a collection of laptops with notation software Sibelius to aid with composition. Students can also opt to compose without the use of music technology in whichever format suits their skills and strengths.


Key Stage 4 Assessment

There are 3 main assessment points in the Music GCSE:

Listening Exam (40%)

Written exam: 1 hour and 45 minutes

Questions include:

Section A: Listening and appraising questions on 6 out of the 8 set pieces studied, as well as an unfamiliar piece. A melodic and rhythmic dictation question.

Section B: A 12 mark comparison question. 1 of the set pieces is compared to a piece of a similar style which is not studied. Students compare elements of both pieces to answer a comparison question.

Performance Internal Exam (30%)

  • Solo performance
  • Ensemble performance

Students have to perform 2 pieces of music. Both pieces have to total a minimum of 4 minutes when put together, but have to total at least 1 minute individually.

Our peripatetic or private instrumental/vocal teachers work with the students to prepare them for this internal exam throughout Y10 and Y11. Students can select their own music and are encouraged to perform to the highest standard they can with accuracy and fluency.

Composition Portfolio (30%)

Students compose 2 pieces of music which are completed over the 2 years of the course:

  • 1 Free Choice composition (completed in Y10)
  • 1 Composition to a set brief (completed in Y11)

Both compositions have to last 3 minutes as a minimum when put together, but each piece must last at least 1 minute individually. This work is completed in school lesson time.

Key Stage 4 useful internet links:

Edexcel Exam specifications 

BBC Bitesize

Key Stage 4 useful books

  • Rhinegold Edexcel GCSE Study Guide
  • Rhinegold Edexcel GCSE Revision Guide
  • ‘First Steps into Music Theory’ by ABRSM
  • ABRSM Music Theory Practice Papers
  • Pearson Edexcel GCSE Music Anthology of Set Pieces

Key Stage 5 (A Level)

(Eduqas A Level Music)

Some of our students choose to continue the study of music at A Level, with the aim to continue a subject they have a passion for and often to continue to University to study music further. The A Level builds upon the main skills from KS4, which were Performing, Composing and Appraising. Students can choose a heavier weighting in either Performing or Composing depending on their preference.

Listening Exam 40%

Performance Recital

Composing

2 hour 15 min exam (approx.)

 

Option A: 35%

10-12 minutes

Option A: 25%

4-6 minutes

Option B: 25%

6-8 minutes

Option B: 35%

8-10 minutes

The Music A Level is a continuation of skills learnt in GCSE, but it is on a much higher level where a more thorough and secure understanding of music and its context is needed.

Key Stage 5 Recommended Book list

  • Eduqas A Level Music Study Guide
  • ‘Symphony No. 104 "London": Eulenburg’ Score AND Audio CD

Useful Website Links

Eduqas Exam Board

A Level Music