“Music is a more potent instrument than any other for education, because rhythm and harmony find their way into the inward places of the soul.” - Plato
Music lessons offer all students the opportunity to participate in and develop skills in several disciplines : Performing, Composing, Listening & Appraising and, through the use of industry-grade music technology equipment, Sound Engineering. These disciplines are taught and developed together, through students listening to a wide variety of music and using traditional musical instruments as well as emerging music technologies. Opportunities are embedded for students to hone and develop the practical aspects of performance, composition and sound engineering. The aim is to build personal skills that students can draw upon to succeed, not only in music lessons but also in the wider curriculum, beyond school life and in future employment. The life skills to be developed and the Music Industry career opportunities that exist and emerge are, at times, explicitly taught, are an integral part of the development of the subject-specific skills and facilitate the creation of well-rounded individuals. The core principles that are developed include : problem-solving, perseverance, diligence, team work, time management, organisation, responsibility, cultural history, listening skills, self-awareness, confidence, social skills, discipline, self-evaluation, interpersonal skills, a sense of achievement and issues pertaining to health and safety including e-safety. Music students also have the opportunity to understand how the development of the life skills mentioned above, and how the acquisition and personal development of transferable skills, gives them a holistic experience that they can take beyond their musical studies.
The St. Peter’s Music Curriculum is based on the expectations and requirements of BTEC Music Practice, GCSE Music, A Level / Level 3 BTEC Music Technology. Key concepts and skills required by the end of these courses are differentiated-down into Key Stage 3 schemes of work and into Year 6 Transition work. This curriculum design helps to raise achievement, expectations and standards from the start of Key Stage 3 and ensure that musical and technical knowledge is acquired, developed and understood both practically and theoretically. Year 7, 8 and 9 students study various musical genres, both historical and cultural, and through these different cultures and styles, explore, develop and refine their musical and technical skills. Each project focuses on one of the subject-specific skills and students return to these concepts throughout the Key Stage, enabling them to build and advance their knowledge and skill-set further as they progress through the school. Digital lesson plans containing several ‘Learning Episodes’, including extension tasks, are used by students in Music lessons so that each lesson has a clear structure, the interface being an electronic medium familiar to the wider student-culture. Electronic ‘Individual Learning Plans’ and ‘Student Voice’ questionnaires are employed at all Key Stages to aid evaluation and inform preparation and, work from higher year-groups is brought down to lower year-groups to help raise achievement when appropriate to do so.
The extra-curricular Music programme, provided through the free SPS Music School, enables and supports musicianship in students of varying abilities, giving opportunities for all students to experience a wide variety of genres and musical ensembles. As well as all-inclusive ensembles for mixed-ability students who want the enjoyment of performing with others and developing their musical skills, such as St. Peter’s Community Choir, Ukulele Group and Samba Band, we also offer students the chance to audition for more advanced musical groups such as the Vocal Pop Groups. Musical Evenings / School Productions provide other opportunities to stretch and challenge the students either through performing or by auditioning to be a member of the cast, where the expectation is that all cast members and musicians develop performance talent and professionalism. These clubs/events exist not only to encourage enjoyment in the arts but also for students to learn about professional expectations and performance discipline. Gifted & Talented students become Music Leaders taking on a leadership role within the Music Department and developing their own musical & communication skills through supporting younger students in their musical development.
Mr. H. Goodman (Head of Music)