All students study Music once a week in Key Stage Three and then have the option of choosing GCSE Music at Key Stage Four.
Key Stage 3 (Years 7, 8 & 9)
Students are taught in their form groups at Key Stage Three and study a range of genres designed to broaden their musical horizons.
In Year seven pupils first learn basic music theory which in turn helps them to learn how to read music, how to play the piano and grasp rhythms and timing. In the Spring Term pupils have the opportunity to study World Music and learn how to African drum and study the music of Japan. In the summer term pupils look at Remixing and learn how to use the Apple Mac computers to compose using software such as Garage band and Logic Pro.
In Year eight, these skills are developed through looking at Dance Music (Irish Jig and Samba), Blues, Jazz and Hip Hop and Music for Special Occasions.
In Year nine, in the lead up to GCSE Music, pupils develop their use of the ICT facilities to compose their own Programme and Film Music, complete a practical performance of a popular piece of music so they can learn the skills involved in arranging music and finally complete a bridging portfolio which allows them to utilise and consolidate all the musical skills they have learnt both in terms of written, aural and practical.
Key Stage 4 (Years 10 & 11)
AQA GCSE Music is an option subject at Sacred Heart. In order for pupils to be considered for this option pupils are expected to be proficient on an instrument, and have sat ABRSM graded exams on their chosen instrument.
The course requires pupils to perform as a soloist and as part of a group. They are also required to compose two piece – one in a prescribed genre from the exam board and another free composition. These two elements make up 80% of the course and is completed over the two years as a coursework portfolio.
The final 20% of the GCSE is in the form of a listening and analysis examination lasting for one hour. Pupils are expected to have developed their knowledge from Key Stage Three and be able to correctly identify instruments, melodic and rhythmic devices, complete pitch dictations and rhythmical patterns.
Pupils receive free instrumental lessons and are expected to attend these once a week with a visiting instrumental teacher. All GCSE Music pupils will be expected to perform in concerts, musicals and assemblies across the school year.
As well as the general music curriculum, pupils can apply to learn a musical instrument with a visiting music teacher. These one on one lessons last for 20-30 minutes and occur on a rolling programme throughout the school day with pupils coming out of different academic lessons to complete their musical lessons. This costs £25 per term per instrument and is a hugely popular scheme. The instruments currently offered are: Piano, Voice, Electric, Bass and Acoustic Guitar, Drum kit, Brass and Strings. Pupils are expected to work towards gaining grades in their instrument which will gain them UCAS points. The examination boards used are Trinity School of Music (Brass), ABRSM (Piano and Strings) and Rock School (Drum kit and Guitar).