Music is a vital part of life at JCG: from individual performances in assembly to the melodic sounds of girls practising in class and in peripatetic lessons – making music is always happening.
It is very much hoped that our students see Music not merely as a school subject, but as an expression of what they feel, a means of communication and above all, something that will be important and enjoyable throughout their lives.
Music is part of the core curriculum in Years 7-9. Our groups study a wide variety of musical styles and much of the work is based on performance and composition. A considerable number of students go on to study music to GCSE level and beyond, the Music Department also realises that for many, compulsory music lessons cease at the end of Key Stage 3. The department sincerely hopes that it will foster in young people, a lifelong love and enjoyment of a broad range of musical styles and traditions.
Some of the modules taught in Music naturally lend themselves to home extension activities. However, the Music Department at JCG believes that the most important forms of extension activities are both individual instrumental/vocal music practice as well as group music practice of composition work during lunch breaks and in the extended curriculum work of the department such as bands, choirs, ensembles and productions. Such activities greatly enhance the students’ learning experiences and are encouraged at every level.
In each of the Key Stage 3 projects, musical skills and concepts are taught through a varied programme of performing, composing and listening activities. The department’s curriculum is a spiral curriculum in which areas of musical experience and learning are continually revisited: musical expression, notation, music ICT (Cubase and Sibelius software), leadership and directing skills, listening skills, instrumental and vocal skills feature in all projects.
Self evaluation and plenary sessions are used both in written and oral form for composition work, for practical ensemble performances and for the oral and visual presentation of project work. With this in mind, the Year 9 curriculum introduces projects which are fun, practical, stimulating and creative but which lay some key foundations for those opting for GCSE.
Music is offered at GCSE and we follow the Edexcel (2016) syllabus. Our groups are a healthy size, with GCSE students numbering between 12 and 20.
Pupils must produce one solo performance and one ensemble performance.
Pupils are required to produce two compositions lasting between two and four minutes in total.
Listening and Appraising
Pupils study specific repertoire within these four areas of study:
• Instrumental Music 1700-1820
• Vocal Music
• Music for Stage and Screen
Students who opt for AS and A2 Music study for the OCR Examination Board specification (H543).
All students perform a recital and produce an original composition. Performing and composing activities build on skills from GCSE, with the additional emphasis on more formal techniques of composition. Listening, appraising and analysis skills are examined in an aural and written paper; this requires students to discuss the set works they have studied throughout the course in a detailed and analytical way, placing the works in a historic, social and cultural setting. Aural tests: students are required to answer questions on a recorded extract, recognizing appropriate stylistic, technical, tonal and interpretative features, and make comparisons with related repertoire.
Many music students from JCG have gone on to study music at the major universities including Oxford, Bristol and Durham and the major music conservatoires in England, notably the Royal College of Music, the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, Trinity College of Music, the Royal Northern College of Music and the Birmingham Conservatoire. The most advanced students have also attended national youth ensembles and conservatoires including the Royal College of Music Junior Department, the National Youth Wind Orchestra, the National Youth Choir and the National Children’s Orchestra.