Salesian School

Enlightening minds, uplifting hearts

Music

Head of Department: Ms Rebecca Clarey

Music is really important to us at Salesian. It is studied by all of Year 7, 8 and 9, with the option to take it as a GCSE and A Level subject. In addition, we have a thriving extra-curricular timetable, and peripatetic instrumental lessons offered at the school.

Key Stage 3 Music

Students study Music for 1 hour a week during Key Stage3 in one of our two dedicated music classrooms

In Year 7, students learn music fundamentals: how to represent music through symbols and describe basic musical features such as pitch, dynamics and tempo, and the features of major and minor keys. They will use this new knowledge to help them learn and practise basic keyboard skills. They also learn about the history of music and study two musical genres: African music (on our set of African drums) and Rock and Roll.

In Year 8, we introduce more genres, such as ragtime, reggae, folk, and blues. This gives students the chance to learn about more complex musical forms, such as compound time. We learn about all of these through a mixture of listening, tuition and practice: lessons are lively and practical, with students learning to perform and write music in different styles and genres. We also develop their analytical skills through a unit on musical theatre, for which they have to write up a case study.

In Year 9 the genres and analysis become more complex. Studies include Jazz, Britpop and Dance music. A study of variations (beginning with Mozart's Twinkle Twinkle) leads to students writing their own, and students develop their composition skills by studying minimalism and writing their own minimalist piece use the software package Sibelius. They finish off key stage three in a group project writing music for a film score.

Extra-curricular opportunities

Junior Boys and Girls Choir, Salesian Scholars, orchestra, African drumming group and Ukelele group, all of which rehearse regularly each week.

Peripatetic lessons are provided throughout the week. Our own Salesian Music Academy also offers lessons with highly qualified and sought after teachers.

Each year we put on a Carol Service, Spring Concert and School Musical in conjunction with the drama department as well as running numerous trips to concerts and workshops.

We take part in the Woking Music Festival each year and are always successful at winning some trophies!

Our Battle of the Bands and Young Musician of the Year competitions offer pupils the opportunity to compete in front of experienced panels of judges.

Elsewhere on this site you can check out the current extra-curricular music timetable.

Key Stage 4 Music

GCSE music is a multi-disciplined GCSE which tests a broad range of skills including performance, composing and listening.

Our GCSE studies build on everything learned in Key Stage 3. Students develop their listening skills by studying a wide range of music including Romantic and Baroque, as well as popular music, jazz and music from around the world. They also develop their composing skills, writing two different pieces of music on Sibelius which can be in any of the above styles. Both composition and performance are key skills at GCSE, which requires that every student performs both a solo and an ensemble piece.

We follow the Edexcel syllabus. Learning combines theoretical and practical approaches throughout, with lots of opportunities for students to express their ideas and understanding through performance, composition and written work. Assessment is through a combination of examinations, controlled assessment tasks (composition) and performance pieces.

Extra-curricular opportunities

In addition to all those activities available to Key Stage 3 students, we offer Senior Girls and Senior Boys Choir. Every year we take a trip to the Royal Festival Hall to see the London Symphony Orchestra perform the set works that we study. We also arrange workshops that have relevance to the GCSE course - for example, this year, a Steel Pan workshop.

For more information, see the current GCSE Options Booklet.

Progression opportunities

Students who enjoy music can continue their studies in the Sixth Form with Music A Level. You can find out more on our Sixth Form pages.

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