Drama Curriculum Overview

Rationale

‘Logic will take you from A to B.  Imagination will take you anywhere’ – Albert Einstein

Drama is a vibrant, dynamic, and necessary part of the curriculum. It is a place for creative, imaginative and collaborative work where the development of self-esteem and self-confidence is as important as the knowledge and skills content. Drama students are explorers, communicators and leaders in equal measure as we explore the world they live in through the medium of theatre.  The events that have shaped the world and its development are integral to theatre which not only holds up a mirror to our society but also examines and questions our humanity. Drama therefore becomes a vessel through which a myriad of themes and issues can be investigated.

Cultural capital is built through appreciation of drama in terms of analysing and evaluating live dramatic work and all students are given an opportunity to experience live theatre during their school experience. Drama is a subject in which students are encouraged to explore, to challenge and to take risks beyond the subject matter of the lesson in a safe, practical environment. It is a space where students can develop and strengthen their emotional intelligence through observation, discussion and analysis of characterisation and thematic exploration. Students will explore and develop knowledge of the dramatic literary canon  building their cultural capital for later life. Drama also gives space to develop understanding of and empathy towards a range of human experiences. Through immersion in social, cultural, historical and political contexts, the subject connects with nearly all aspects of the curriculum.

Our curriculum is divided into a 2 year KS3 and a 3 year KS4.  The 3 year KS4 programme allows us to build skills at a deeper level and encourage the risk-taking which will be more accessible for a focussed class who have all selected to be there. It gives us time to explore more than one set text and to give all GCSE Drama students a strong foundation for the formal assessment structure which takes place throughout Y10 and Y11.  It gives students time to build relationships and experiences which will be necessary to create a depth of devising work with the non-examined assessment elements.

The purpose of the KS3 curriculum is to broaden students’ knowledge and experience of Drama both as a tool to develop themselves as rounded individuals and as part of the fabric of society. By the end of Y8, students will have undertaken a practical approach to the study of Shakespeare and experienced several of his major works increasing their awareness of the literary canon. They will have experienced the work of the National Theatre and interpreted, analysed and evaluated a full play. Through various practical approaches, they will apply performance skills including exploring the use of voice and movement to interpret character; understanding stagecraft; character research and development and individual creativity. Alongside their creative skills in the subject, students will also grow in self-confidence and learn team-building and problem-solving techniques.

We begin with Silent Movies in Y7 as it enables us to focus on movement skills only.  This is the easiest and most effective way of communicating early on in the course.  Students learn basic skills in movement and the stylistic elements of silent movies to create a simple narrative.  Once they understand this skill and the key vocabulary that goes alongside, this sets them up for commenting, reviewing and reflecting on their work from Y7 to Y11 (and on to Y13).  From there we develop their literary heritage knowledge with a brief look at 6 of Shakespeare’s plays.  Through this work, we also develop skills in creating relationships on stage including using the key knowledge of Proxemics and Levels in performance. The final dramatic unit of Y7 develops vocal skills which is the hardest of the core skills in Drama.  We look at the various methods of using voice ensuring confident use of the subject specific vocabulary.

Y8 immediately revisits all key skills from Y7.  We use a set text from the GCSE curriculum, studying in a light touch way to explore the key elements of performance.  We recap all skills in physical and vocal expression.  To develop this further, students use their own directing skills on a piece of script from the play.  They are expected to use subject specific vocabulary from Y7 whilst they are working and use the key skills in performance. From this we head into Devising – a key skill at GCSE.  Again, through light touch, we examine the key elements of a GCSE practitioner and show students how to craft a devised piece from  a stimulus.  This is a longer project than the weekly sessions in Y8 to ensure that they have time to hone and improve their pieces as at GCSE.  In What Makes A Performer, students will watch a streamed piece of theatre (National Theatre On Demand) and begin to use reviewing and analysing skills.  They will examine what makes an actor successful in a performance and begin to identify key elements of stage craft in terms of production skills such as lighting, sound and set design.  The Showcase at the end of Y8 requires that students pull together all of the key skills learned across KS3 into a final performance of their own creation to a brief set by the Performing Arts team.

Y7 and Y8 slowly build and develop the skills that will become crucial in Year 9-10.  Year 9 begins with a recap of key skills learned in Y8 with an audit of their strengths and areas for development so far.  This leads into the study of another GCSE set text.  Building on the skills learned in Y8, students will direct themselves in an exam level script organising rehearsals, lighting, set, sound, props and the acting (casting for themselves).  They are expected to constantly utilise the subject specific vocabulary introduced in 7 and 8 whilst they are working.  At this point we start to explore the range of careers involved in the performing arts as they have to have a good understanding of all roles in the theatre and how they function. Following on from this is a first attempt at devising at GCSE level.  Students will be taught further, in depth skills in devising and responding to stimuli.  They will be expected to create a piece of 10 – 15 minutes in small groups and complete detailed research influenced by their stimulus material. A theatre trip will also take place towards the end of the year to further develop their reviewing and analytical skills from Y8; this time in a live environment.

At the beginning of Y10, we will focus on the exam set text which is Things I Know to be True by Andrew Bovell.  Students will undertake practical workshops exploring all aspects of the text and be expected to use skills in research from Y9 to develop their understanding of the social, cultural, historical and political context of the piece.  They will also begin to write exam style questions in response to the play again, using their subject specific vocabulary to support their responses. Following this, they will be introduced to a broader selection of practitioners in preparation for their final assessed Devising piece. Building on the knowledge and skills taught in Y8 through the work of Frantic Assembly, students will be introduced to the work of Brecht, Kneehigh, Punchdrunk, Complicité etc.  Students will apply the techniques of a key practitioner to their work building on the starting blocks of Y9’s attempt at devising.  Once completed, students will need their analytical and evaluative skills to reflect on the work that they have created in their written portfolio. We will then spend a term on their final devising assessment which includes creating an original piece of drama along with an accompanying portfolio.   As in Y9, students will also be taken to the theatre to deepen and strengthen their reviewing and analytical skills and they will begin to practice the essay writing skills needed for the examination.

At the beginning of Y11 we prepare for the performance examination. This is a synoptic element of the key skills of performance drama that they have been developing since Y7 and will be assessed by an external examiner. Once completed, we will then be focussed on revising and developing exam techniques in terms of understanding the various role and responsibilities of theatre makers; directing key scenes from the set text and evaluating live theatre’s impact on an audience.

In the VI Form, the professional experience is launched in depth with students making theatre at a radical and, sometimes, unconventional level.  This is the time when they produce work which is shaped by their emerging world view; where they get to make a statement and define themselves as performers.  At the beginning of Y12, we review the work of key practitioners from Y10 and go into a greater depth of study including the background and objectives of the practitioners and their social, cultural, political and historical influences. Together we will explore a breadth of dramatic styles which will challenge students and develop their resilience.   From there, the students go into the devised piece.    This element takes several weeks to complete.  The accompanying portfolio builds on previous skills through reflective, analytical and evaluative approaches to the work.  This is followed by the set text work which comprises of acting and design questions on Accidental Death of an Anarchist and the synoptic questions on Woyzeck.  The examination brings together all of the skills that they have been developing since Y7 and expects them to be using the same key terminology. Y13 also t perform a monologue and an extended sequence from a published play to a visiting examiner.  This is a professional level piece and extremely demanding. For those planning careers in the industry this is invaluable experience. From this point on we then prepare for the examination, returning to live theatre for review and analysis and consideration of theatre’s role in contemporary society before focussing on the set texts.  Students in A Level Drama have gone on to achieve places at RADA, LIPA, Italia Conti, East 15 and Royal Central – some of the most prestigious schools of drama because they rise to the challenge and are prepared to take risks to secure their dream.

“Studying drama opened doors for me that I didn’t know existed. It’s not just about performing or studying a text, it’s about channelling creativity and using it…” Alice Jenkins (JMHS) currently Assistant Stage Manager on Come from Away in the West End

Performing Arts General strategies to support SEND and disadvantaged students

CURRICULUM GOALS

To ensure that students with SEND and weak literacy can access the Performing Arts curriculum

To provide support and differentiated resources where possible, to allow SEND and disadvantaged students to achieve success in the classroom and in homework

To support the school- wide literacy and numeracy programme

To ensure disadvantaged student’s enjoyment of Performing Arts and widen their cultural understanding

To always have high expectations of disadvantaged students and those with SEND.       

To raise the aspirations of SEND and disadvantaged students by providing them with opportunities to broaden their outlook on careers in Performing Arts.

 

General strategies, ideas and resources

  • Seating plans to provide a suitable partner to work with and/or positive groupings for practical work and easy access for teacher to assist
  • Books marked regularly and selectively (not correcting every error) with clear formative feedback and encouragement
  • Larger/ coloured printing of resources where applicable
  • Common literacy terms (agreed with English) displayed on walls and used explicitly in teaching
  • Clear instructions both verbally and on worksheets, broken down and scaffolded. Check understanding
  • Demonstrate and frequently remind students how to use vocab and grammar in class
  • Use sentence builders, opinions and connectives, GCSE Essentials and other specific support materials provided for classwork
  • Provide homework support sheet, check understanding and offer extra support as appropriate
  • Use GCSE student guides and workbooks and examination material.
  • Visual cues accompany key words, sentences or text to aid recognition of word and meaning for those students with poor memory or dyslexia.
  • Use acronyms to aid spelling and meaning of key words for those with a literacy SEN.
  • Use word roots and visuals to support meaning for those students with weak literacy and/or poor memory.

Skill-specific strategies, ideas and resources

  • Speaking: Classroom language on walls
  • Speaking: Targeted questions – check students have an appropriate answer ready before asking them in front of class to allow them to achieve and build confidence
  • Performing: Differentiated outcomes – ask for positive/ negative opinion rather than complex reason; select most important detail for them to listen for
  • Creating: Differentiated sheets on same topic area
  • Reading: Graduated tasks with clear minimum expectations but also offering and encouraging challenge to progress (bronze/silver/gold or colours of flag or GCSE grades)
  • Writing: Writing strip or writing frame to provide sentence starters and key vocabulary
  • Writing: Sentence building sheets where students choose words from literacy blocks – pronouns/ verbs/ adjectives/ adverbs etc
  • Writing: High frequency vocab and essential verb phrases sheet given to weaker GCSE students to stick in books and referred to regularly in class
  • Revision: Explain and demonstrate strategies for learning vocabulary – association, visuals, creating cards, first letter strategy for revising speaking, looking for cognates.

Disadvantaged student support

  • Working in advantageous coursework groups which help to support their learning at greater depth
  • Financial support available for essential theatre trips to enhance learning
  • Selection of texts which are relatable to their own life experiences
  • Ensuring regular, detailed feedback and support from teachers
  • Targeted extra sessions lunch time and after school
Note: Strategies/ resources specific to a particular topic/ skills area can be found in the curriculum planning document for that year group

Overview of Drama Modules


Dance Curriculum Overview

Rationale

Dance has been proven to increase cognitive development. Through the creative process, students are encouraged to use their imagination, collaborate with their peers to solve problems, and discover multiple solutions to challenges. Learning, thought, creativity, and intelligence doesn’t just come from the brain alone, but from the entire body. Learning movement combinations increases memory, order, and sequencing skills. Additionally, dance enables students to burn calories, strengthen muscles, improve balance, increase flexibility, and gives their heart a good workout. Dance education helps children develop skills that are necessary for learning such as creativity, communication, critical thinking, and collaboration. Equally, creating dance increases self-esteem, which is so very important to learning.

The Dance curriculum at John Masefield has been designed to give students a breadth of experience in a range of styles, covering different cultures and exploring a variety of skills, therefore meeting National Curriculum requirements. Beyond the National Curriculum, are the important opportunities to experience the creative process of choreography. Through creating their own dances, students are able to develop the key life skills relevant in all other subjects including teamwork, problem solving and creativity. Developing their cultural understanding and appreciation for the arts also forms as a significant part of our Dance curriculum, enabling students to develop their empathy and aesthetic understanding. To challenge more confident students, leadership opportunities are introduced throughout all key stages in lessons as well as in the extra-curricular programme. Aspirational, higher level examples of professional dancers’ and choreographers’ work are also shared as part of the curriculum to give more challenging targets to the more aspiring students.

Our curriculum is divided into a 2 Year KS3 and a 3 Year KS4.  The 3 Year KS4 programme allows us to build skills at a deeper level and encourage the risk-taking which will be more accessible for a focussed class who have all selected to be there. It gives us time to explore a greater range of dance styles and to give all GCSE Dance students a strong foundation for the formal assessment structure which takes place throughout Year 10 and Year 11.  It gives students time to build relationships and experiences which will be necessary to create more challenging choreographed work with the non-examined assessment elements.

The purpose of the KS3 curriculum in Dance is to give students the opportunity to develop their confidence, creativity and their physical skills. The range of topics and dance styles explored throughout Years 7 and 8 have been chosen to engage students’ interest, develop their problem solving and communication skills as well as their appreciation of dance as an art form. The units that they will study are designed to encourage students to explore a range of physical exercise and techniques that they can go on to utilise if they choose to explore dance further in their lives. The curriculum also broadens their knowledge of professional dance and the range of careers available within the Performing Arts sector.

Following Silent Movies at the start of Year 7 we continue to focus on movement skills with an introduction to dance performance skills.  This follows on naturally from the movement work established in Silent Movies, but starts to develop their musicality and awareness of style.  Students learn more demanding coordination skills in movement and characterisation to communicate a dance idea.  Once they understand these skills and the key vocabulary that goes alongside, this continues to set them up for commenting, reviewing and reflecting on their work from Year 7 to Year 11 (and on to Year 13).  From there, the use of subject specific vocabulary is explored further as we develop their knowledge and understanding of basic choreography skills using accessible and engaging stimuli.  Through this work, we also develop problem solving skills in exploring simple dance structures, developing motifs and exploring relationships using formations, unison and canon. The final dance unit of Year 7 develops their awareness and understanding of a range of different styles including African Dance, which is a more challenging skill to show in Dance.  We look at the various techniques, movement origins and dynamics that make up the stylistic features of some cultural dance styles.

Year 8 immediately revisits all key skills from Year 7. We recap all skills in performing and choreographing.  To develop this further, students study Hip hop dance in more depth to engage the students in an accessible style as well as giving them a more challenging style to master. They are expected to use subject specific vocabulary from Year 7 whilst they are working and use the key skills in performance. From there we use a professional work from a company that features in the GCSE curriculum, studying in a light touch way to explore the key elements of dance appreciation. This unit is designed to prepare students for the RSL vocational qualifications as well as develop their arts appreciation. The Showcase at the end of YEAR 8 requires that students pull together all of the key skills learned across KS3 into a final performance of their own creation to a brief set by the Performing Arts team.

Year 7 and Year 8 slowly build and develop the skills that will become crucial in Year 9-10.  Year 9 begins with a recap of key skills learned in Year 8 with an audit of their strengths and areas for development so far.  They then explore the challenges of more complex and demanding choreography to perform as part of an ensemble. They will develop their communication and problem solving skills with small choreography tasks. This leads into their first performance in a live Dance Showcase.  They are expected to constantly utilise the subject specific vocabulary introduced in Year 7 and Year 8 whilst they are working.  Students will be taught further, in depth skills in choreographing and responding to stimuli.  They will be expected to create a piece of approx. 3 minutes in small groups and complete detailed research influenced by their stimulus material. A theatre trip will also take place towards the end of the Year to further develop their reviewing and analytical skills from Year 8; this time in a live environment.

At the beginning of Year 10, we will focus on responding to a practise brief to prepare them for assessment in Year 11.  Students will undertake practical workshops exploring all aspects of the professional dance works and be expected to use skills in research from Year 9 to develop their understanding of the skills associated with Dance Appreciation.  They will also begin to write structured evaluations in response to the practise briefs, using their subject specific vocabulary to support their responses. As in Year 9, students will also be taken to the theatre to deepen and strengthen their reviewing and analytical skills and they will begin to practice the essay writing skills needed for the controlled assessment in Year 11.  Students will be set a more challenging task of creating their own choreography pieces of approx. 2-6 minutes and completing a programme note outlining their research into their chosen stimulus. In the summer term, the students will learn the set technique phrases so that they can work on them independently over the summer ready for assessment in Year 11.

Year 11 begins with the first official practical assessment for the Ensemble Dance Unit.  This will be assessed in the second half term to enable students to spend sufficient time to learn and perfect two contrasting dance pieces for a live performance. Students will apply the training and skills development from Years 9 and 10 to their performance.  Once completed, students will move on to complete their controlled assessment for the Live Performance unit in which they need their analytical and evaluative skills to reflect on the given brief.  They are required to choose either a solo or group choreography task to complete in response to a brief set out by the exam board. Once the practical examinations are all completed, we will then be focussed on revising and developing exam techniques in terms of understanding the basic principles of choreography, evaluating physical, technical and expressive skills, as well as reviewing professional dance works.

The RSL Level 3 Diploma course in the sixth form continues to develop the key skills in a more professional context.  At the beginning of Year 12, we learn about the work of key practitioners in a greater depth of study including the background and objectives of the practitioners and their social, cultural, political and historical influences.  For the first unit (Repertory Dance Performance) the students learn sections of the repertoire practically and learn to perform as an ensemble as well as a soloist.  Again, going into a deeper exploration and a more informed approach than in the lower Years.  All units for this course brings together all of the skills that they have been developing since Year 7 and expects them to be using the same key terminology. The second unit they will complete is Applying safe dance practice, in which they will learn about anatomy and physiology. This builds on to their first core unit (Planning for a career in Performing Arts) in which they will undertake a range of work experience placements. Following this unit in the final term of Year 12, students will complete the Leading Dance unit, working with younger students to develop their skills acquired in the Careers unit.

In Year 13 the students will complete their final three units starting with Dance Technique and Performance. They will utilise all training and skills developed from Year 7 and upwards to perform more challenging dance choreography. This will then be followed by the Ensemble Dance Performance unit in which they use their knowledge and understanding of Dance relationships. The final unit they complete as part of their Diploma course is their controlled assessment (Performance Preparation unit).

Performing Arts General strategies to support SEND and disadvantaged students

CURRICULUM GOALS

To ensure that students with SEND and weak literacy can access the Performing Arts curriculum

To provide support and differentiated resources where possible, to allow SEND and disadvantaged students to achieve success in the classroom and in homework

To support the school-wide literacy and numeracy programme

To ensure disadvantaged student’s enjoyment of Performing Arts and widen their cultural understanding

To always have high expectations of disadvantaged students and those with SEND.       

To raise the aspirations of SEND and disadvantaged students by providing them with opportunities to broaden their outlook on careers in Performing Arts.

 

General strategies, ideas and resources

  • Seating plans to provide a suitable partner to work with and/or positive groupings for practical work and easy access for teacher to assist
  • Books marked regularly and selectively (not correcting every error) with clear formative feedback and encouragement
  • Larger/ coloured printing of resources where applicable
  • Common literacy terms (agreed with English) displayed on walls and used explicitly in teaching
  • Clear instructions both verbally and on worksheets, broken down and scaffolded. Check understanding
  • Demonstrate and frequently remind students how to use vocab and grammar in class
  • Use sentence builders, opinions and connectives, GCSE Essentials and other specific support materials provided for classwork
  • Provide homework support sheet, check understanding and offer extra support as appropriate
  • Use GCSE student guides and workbooks and examination material.
  • Visual cues accompany key words, sentences or text to aid recognition of word and meaning for those students with poor memory or dyslexia.
  • Use acronyms to aid spelling and meaning of key words for those with a literacy SEN.
  • Use word roots and visuals to support meaning for those students with weak literacy and/or poor memory.

Skill-specific strategies, ideas and resources

  • Speaking: Classroom language on walls
  • Speaking: Targeted questions – check students have an appropriate answer ready before asking them in front of class to allow them to achieve and build confidence
  • Performing: Differentiated outcomes – ask for positive/ negative opinion rather than complex reason; select most important detail for them to listen for
  • Creating: Differentiated sheets on same topic area
  • Reading: Graduated tasks with clear minimum expectations but also offering and encouraging challenge to progress (bronze/silver/gold or colours of flag or GCSE grades)
  • Writing: Writing strip or writing frame to provide sentence starters and key vocabulary
  • Writing: Sentence building sheets where students choose words from literacy blocks – pronouns/ verbs/ adjectives/ adverbs etc
  • Writing: High frequency vocab and essential verb phrases sheet given to weaker GCSE students to stick in books and referred to regularly in class
  • Revision: Explain and demonstrate strategies for learning vocabulary – association, visuals, creating cards, first letter strategy for revising speaking, looking for cognates.

Disadvantaged student support

  • Working in advantageous coursework groups which help to support their learning at greater depth
  • Financial support available for essential theatre trips to enhance learning
  • Selection of texts which are relatable to their own life experiences
  • Ensuring regular, detailed feedback and support from teachers
  • Targeted extra sessions lunch time and after school
Note: Strategies/ resources specific to a particular topic/ skills area can be found in the curriculum planning document for that Year group

Overview of Dance modules


Music Curriculum Overview


Music Curriculum Intent

“Ah, music,” Dumbledore said, wiping his eyes. “A magic beyond all we do here.”

Music is one of the oldest, most natural activities humans can do. Our species has been making music since we lived in caves and used drumming and voice for survival. Playing music is one of the only activities that engages both sides of the brain, and allows for cognitive and emotional development throughout childhood and adolescence. Engagement with music is beneficial for both mental and physical health, reducing stress and improving coordination and dexterity. Learning music is proven to increase attainment across other areas of the curriculum, including Maths and Languages. Everyone has a memory of using singing or rhyme to remember a physics or maths equation, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg!

Through the Music curriculum at JMHS, students develop highly-sought employability skills such as cooperation and teamwork, active listening skills, concentration, creativity and self-confidence. Students learn the importance of perseverance and discipline in the development of specialist skills such as instrumental and vocal technique. Cultural capital is built into the curriculum through the exploration of a variety of genres and traditions of music, such as the Samba of Brazil, West African drumming, Blues, Reggae and Jazz. All students have the opportunity to access both the in-class music curriculum, and the extra-curricular provision, which includes choir, orchestra, jazz band and a variety of smaller ensembles tailored to the students.

The national curriculum for Music aims to ensure that all pupils:

  • perform, listen to, review and evaluate music across a range of historical periods, genres, styles and traditions, including the works of the great composers and musicians
  • learn to sing and to use their voices, to create and compose music on their own and with others, have the opportunity to learn a musical instrument, use technology appropriately and have the opportunity to progress to the next level of musical excellence
  • understand and explore how music is created, produced and communicated, including through the inter-related dimensions: pitch, duration, dynamics, tempo, timbre, texture, structure and appropriate musical notations

At JMHS, students can choose to take Music as a KS4 subject at the end of year 8. The 3-year KS4 programme allows us to build skills at a deeper level and encourage the risk-taking which will be more accessible for a focussed class who have all selected to be there. It gives us time to explore a variety of genres and skills that go beyond both the GCSE specification and the KS3 National Curriculum, and to give all GCSE Music students a strong foundation for the formal assessment structure which takes place throughout Y10 and Y11.  It gives students time to build the relationships necessary for performing as ensembles for the non-examined assessment aspects of the course.

SEND Provision for Music

Differentiation and support break down into the following 5 areas:-

  1. Resources which are appropriate for the level and needs of individual students. We will provide resources that are well designed and easy to use and in a variety of different formats. We will also deliver a great deal of support and exemplar materials to help prepare students for the courses at KS4 and KS5.
  2. Tasks which are varied throughout lessons and topic areas and that are suitable and accessible for all abilities. Tasks are structured to keep students on task and match their interests where possible. At KS3, students sample a wide range of musical instruments, developing enough skill to be able to access the GCSE course without the need to have had formal instrumental lessons before options are selected.
  3. All performing arts teachers must be familiar with all students’ ability levels in order to plan appropriately. Course objectives and assessment criteria are clear and student friendly supporting everyone through an environment where students feel confident and secure in discussing their own and others’ work.
  4. A supportive environment from all students and teachers which celebrates all achievement and uses criticism constructively. TA’s are used effectively and deployed appropriately where available.
  5. Group structures are small and designed to be advantageous to all students. We encourage flexibility in learning when setting tasks and responding to need, allowing students to work individually where it supports them and promotes achievement.

Support for disadvantaged students

CURRICULUM GOALS

  • To ensure that students with SEND and weak literacy can access the Performing Arts curriculum
  • To provide support and differentiated resources where possible, to allow SEND and disadvantaged students to achieve success in the classroom and in homework
  • To ensure disadvantaged student’s enjoyment of Performing Arts and widen their cultural understanding
  • To always have high expectations of disadvantaged students and those with SEND
  • To raise the aspirations of SEND and disadvantaged students by providing them with opportunities to broaden their outlook on careers in Performing Arts

General strategies

  • Seating plans to provide a suitable partner to work with and/or positive groupings for practical work and easy access for teacher to assist
  • Larger/ coloured printing of resources where applicable
  • Clear instructions both verbally and on worksheets, broken down and scaffolded
  • Provide homework support sheet, check understanding and offer extra support as appropriate
  • Use GCSE student guides and workbooks and examination material
  • Visual cues accompany key words, sentences or text to aid recognition of word and meaning for those students with poor memory or dyslexia
  • Use acronyms to aid spelling and meaning of key words for those with a literacy SEN

Skill-specific strategies, ideas and resources

  • Performing: instrument help sheets and scaffolded playing guides
  • Composing: checklists and software guides
  • Appraising: classroom language on walls
  • Appraising: High frequency vocab and essential verb phrases sheet given to weaker GCSE students to stick in books and referred to regularly in class
  • Revision: explain and demonstrate strategies for learning vocabulary – association, visuals, creating cards

Disadvantaged student support

  • Working in advantageous coursework groups which help to support their learning at greater depth
  • Financial support available for trips to enhance learning and peripatetic lessons
  • Ensuring regular, detailed feedback and support from teachers
  • Targeted extra sessions lunch time and after school

Challenge for more confident students

  • Peer teaching when students are confident on a particular concept or instrument
  • Leadership roles in group activities
  • Additional depth beyond the working level at all key stages (see individual schemes of work for details)
  • Student conductor/Performing Arts prefect opportunities

Rationale

When students join us in year 7, their experience of Music is varied. We aim to level the playing field straight away with an Elements of Music topic, which introduces key musical vocabulary and skills that students use throughout their study of Music.

Elements of Music – key vocabulary, introduction to instruments of the orchestra, notation, graphic scores, boomwhackers, singing.

Keyboards – builds on key vocabulary and notation reading, skills such as keeping a beat and ensemble playing, learning about melody and chords

Dance eJay – explores using ICT as a composition tool, enabling students to demonstrate understanding of elements of music, in particular structure, timbre, texture

Samba – introduction to music from other cultures, develops students understanding of rhythm and pulse from keyboards, but in a group setting rather than as a pair – more complex skill to play with lots of people

Music for the screen – this builds on and links with other year 7 performing arts modules (silent movies and cartoons), students learn about how music is used to match action, such as in silent films. Students explore techniques such as Mickey Mousing, and create a Leitmotif for a character. This develops on all the skills learned in terms 1, 2 and 3 and students are developing both performing and composing skills. Students develop their keyboard skills by learning to play a more complex piece of music

Ukulele – students learn to play a song on the ukulele. We look at Somewhere Over the Rainbow by IZ and link the ukulele to Hawaiian traditional music. Students recap their understanding of melody and chords and apply this to a different instrument context. They also learn how to read TAB and chord boxes, which builds on their understanding of different types of notation.

In year 8, we build on the skills developed in year 7 and introduce more challenging topics and concepts. We continue to engage students with singing activities right from the start of y8 and throughout the year (Africa, Blues, Reggae, Band) to build boys’ confidence with breaking voices

Africa – start off by exploring isicathamiya singing in South Africa, and how this traditional music influenced popular western music (rugby world cup, Graceland). Students then learn to sing a traditional South African song (Siyahamba), which builds on the vocal work from year 7. We use a particular YouTube performance of it to encourage students to move to the music (link with dance performing arts from year 7) We then move on to West African djembe drumming techniques – this further develops students’ study of rhythm and pulse from Samba in year 7. Students revisit how call and response work and build on their knowledge of structure from last year to create a djembe group performance.

Video Games – this develops from the Screen unit in year 7, with students exploring different styles of video game music. Beginning with chiptune music from the 1970s, students learn how chiptune sounds were created and why they worked well as the soundtracks to retro games such as PACMAN. Students explore using technology to create chiptune music. Building on their understanding of leitmotif and orchestral music in film, students explore how modern video games are scored. Students learn to play extracts from Mario games and use their understanding of musical elements and Mickey Mousing from year 7 to explain why each is appropriate for the specific moment or action. Students develop a character theme and show how it can change depending on the level of game/situation/how well the player is doing etc.

Blues – links with the Africa unit as Blues has roots in African music. Builds on understanding of chords from year 7 by introducing primary chords and 7th chords. Also links to ukulele unit as uses chord boxes and TAB. Students develop skills on guitar, learning a simple bass line, 12 bar blues chord progression and how to improvise using the blues scale. Students also develop ensemble skills by layering parts together as a group for a final performance.

Reggae – develops students’ vocal skills and keyboard skills, including reading bass clef notation. Introduces key concept of offbeat and syncopation. In groups students produce a performance of Three Little Birds, which incorporates chords, bass line, hook, riff and vocals.

Theme and Variations – this builds on understanding of notation and using musical elements to create contrast from the Elements and Screen units in year 7. Students use keyboard skills from year 7 to begin to develop skills in composition, using a simple well-known tune to create a theme and variations composition. Builds on understanding of major and minor to create contrast in mood.

Band Project – allows students to put together all the performance and ensemble skills from key stage 3 into a performance of a popular song. Using a simple four chord sequence that students can learn on keyboard, ukulele and guitar, in groups students choose from a suggested song list for a performance.

Students can opt to take Music at the end of year 8. In year 9 we study a range of more advanced topics to prepare students for more in depth study at GCSE. Throughout year 9, theory starters relevant to individual topics are used to build student’s confidence with reading and writing notation.

Structures – consolidates knowledge of notation and introduces using specialist software to notate compositions. Students study a variety of structures from the ‘forms’ area of the GCSE spec, and learn to appraise music at a basic level using the DR T SMITH acronym (a key concept for GCSE). Students then compose ‘mini pieces’ in each structure to consolidate knowledge and explore the more advanced functions of Sibelius software.

Pop Song – students learn how popular music developed in 20th century, beginning with a revision of Blues from year 8 and how this contributed to the development of rock and roll. Through listening and performance tasks students learn about key techniques and artists such as The Beatles, Fusion music, how music technology developed in the 20th century etc. Students also explore how to fit lyrics to a melody and melody to a chord sequence in order to develop popular song writing skills.

Minimalism – students explore the genre of minimalism, including playing Steve Reich’s Clapping Music and Terry Riley’s In C. Students learn about the roots of minimalism in gamelan music, and explore how minimalist composers use melodic techniques to keep their music interesting and developing. Students produce a minimalist composition.

Jazz – students explore a brief history of jazz, building on the Blues studied in year 8 (after revisiting it during the pop song unit) and focus on the styles and works of Scott Joplin, Ella Fitzgerald and Glenn Miller. Students gain an understanding of complex harmony, jazz structures and improvisation. They develop improvisation skills on an instrument of their choice and compose a piece of music in a jazz style.

Programme Music – students study how Romantic and 20th Century composers such as Debussy and Saint-Saens used imagery in their music. Students build on their analysis skills by looking at a few key case study pieces and appraising both as a whole class, in small groups and independently. Case study pieces might include Carnival of the Animals and Kinderszenen. Students will also learn to play some extracts on an instrument of their choice, and finally compose a piece of programmatic music.

Music for the Stage – Students study a brief history of musical theatre and how it grew out of opera. Students will appraise a case study work (subject to annual review depending on local/school productions, availability online etc). Students will build stage presence and confidence when performing. Students will work either as a whole class or in groups depending on class size to put together a performance for the summer showcase.

In year 10 we formally start the study of the Key Stage 4 specification, Eduqas GCSE Music

Forms and Devices – this builds on the Y9 Structures unit, so students begin by recapping strophic, binary, ternary, rondo and variation structure, as well as develop an understanding of minuet and trio structure (not studied in year 9). Students learn about the development of the orchestra in Baroque, Classical and Romantic music, and how the stylistic features of the music changed alongside this. Students will develop an understanding of general melodic devices, including imitation and sequence, and specific features to certain styles of music, such as Alberti Bass.

Film Music – students explore genre-specific compositional techniques in film music such as minimalism in horror music (link to year 9 minimalism) and open 5ths in sci-fi. Students learn how to pick out specific instrumentation and tone colours when appraising film scores. Students explore how composers create effective atmosphere – focus on GCSE essay question (how does the composer use the musical elements…) Students then undertake a composition project where they respond to a “film score commission” – students are given several genres to choose from, including horror, action and romance, so that the project can be tailored to individual student preferences.

Ensemble Music – students recap blues, jazz and musical theatre, and then spend time exploring chamber music as a genre. Students form ensembles and perform examples of chamber music (specific pieces change due to student ability and instrument combinations), alongside appraising activities where they consider how texture and timbre are used to create interest when there is not a full orchestra. Students also develop their aural skills to be able to identify instruments and textures in the specified musical styles for this unit.

Popular Music – students build on their pop music module from year 9, exploring chord progressions, use of vocals and instruments, sampling and a mini project on Bhangra as a form of popular music. Students also study the pop set work in depth, including a class performance.

Ensemble Performance/Composition (free) – students use their performance and ensemble skills to form ensembles and work together to produce a performance for the summer showcase. Students also use all of their composition skills that have been developed to produce a first piece of composition coursework – these can be in any style. These happen on a rota dependent on rooming, size of class and the structure of weekly lessons (2/3, singles or doubles).

Year 11 is mostly devoted to working on coursework, as the exam board composition briefs are not released until the September of year 11. Students also spend some lesson time revising each of the AoS, and building exam technique. Students are given guidance and opportunity to practice for their performance coursework, which is then recorded between December and February. Students can use their end of year 10 ensembles as part of their performance coursework. Students are also given opportunity to revisit their year 10 compositions and make use of any feedback or guidance. Spring 2 onwards is for intensive revision and exam preparation.

Key Stage 5, Eduqas A Level Music

In the Autumn term of Y12 students develop their theory skills, ensuring confidence with notation and score reading prior to tackling the Development of the Symphony and set works. We start the Development of the Symphony by recapping concepts from GCSE such as the development of the orchestra from Baroque through to Romantic, and understanding sonata form. We work through some case study symphonic composers starting with Stamitz and the Mannheim school, then looking at Classical greats such as CPE Bach, Haydn and Mozart. Once students’ confidence in score reading and the symphony as a genre has developed we then look at the Haydn 104 set work. We approach the study of this using analytical tasks linking to the musical elements, such as working out harmonies and chord progressions, how melodic development is used, and how Haydn utilises instrumental forces. After the October half term, students study the development of the symphony in the Romantic era, looking at how Beethoven progressed the genre, and using Berlioz’s Symphonie Fantastique as a case study. Students also study their second set work, Mendelssohn 4, using score analysis and listening activities to understand the key features of Mendelssohn’s writing. Students also learn about composition techniques for writing in a classical style, trying out some of the forms and melodic techniques they have studied during the Development of the Symphony unit.

The Spring term of Y12 is dedicated to the chosen ‘popular’ genre – student preference can help decide which of the three modules (Rock and Pop, Musical Theatre, Jazz) is studied. A study of the genre generally, looking at its origins, features and key composers/performers underpins a more practical unit, including lots of composing and performing activities relating to the style. Performance Workshops are also a feature in the Spring of year 12, to develop students’ stage presence, confidence and technique when performing on their chosen specialism. In the Summer term of Y12, lots of time is devoted to the ‘free’ composition – students write a piece of music in a style of their choice, using the techniques and skills developed so far. The Summer term is also when students revise the Development of the Symphony and popular unit, leading towards a midway through the course mock written exam. Students also complete a mock performance recital, following on from further performance skills workshops.

In Y13, the year begins with the 20th Century music unit, starting with late Romantic art music and Maximalism such as Wagner and Stravinsky and then learning about Impressionism and how this was a reaction against this, focussing on Debussy and Ravel in particular. Students then study the Debussy set work, Nuages. After the October half term, students study Expressionism and Neo-Classicism, plus the Poulenc Trio set work. Throughout the Autumn term students also begin working on their compositions set by the exam board, as these are released in the September. The requirement of these to be classical in style also links not only with the study of the 20th Century but also requires students to be constantly recapping the Development of the Symphony unit from Y12. The Spring term of Y13 is devoted to performance workshops, composition coursework, revision activities and exam technique. Performance recital exams take place in the Spring term.

Year 13 Musicians from JMHS have gone on to achieve places at world class institutions including Oxford University and the Royal Welsh Conservatoire.


Overview of Music modules


Key Stage 3 National Curriculum Audit for Music

Key Stage 3 National Curriculum Audit for Drama