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Music

Welcome to Music!

The primary aim of the Music Department is to foster an inclusive and supportive atmosphere, where each student deserves the opportunity to engage in a richly varied programme of music. At the forefront of this philosophy is the belief that every person is musical, and that music is an integral part of what makes us human.

KS3 Music

Throughout the KS3 curriculum, greatest emphasis is placed on practical music – making by way of performing, improvising and composing. Indeed, the notion of being a “fearless” composer is ingrained from Year 7 upwards, and all students are encouraged to have confidence in their musical abilities, to take pride in their achievements, and to not be afraid to take risks. This is achieved through the exploration of a diverse range of musical styles, and students are encouraged to challenge conventions and to express their own creativity, opinions and ideas about what they believe music to be.

Students receive a weekly 50 minute lesson in KS3. Projects are carefully managed to ensure that all students follow the aims and objectives set out by the National Curriculum. Listening and appraising skills are taught through a combination of class and homework tasks, with key listening assessments taking place across the key stage. Students are formally assessed at the end of every practical project and receive personalised feedback. Music is a highly diverse subject and it is important to provide opportunities to assess musicality in a number of ways.

KS4 Music

Music at KS4 enhances and develops knowledge and skills learnt at KS3. In addition to performing and composing coursework, the study of set works in particular allows clear progression and preparation for A Level Music courses. In Year 10 students undertake regular “mock” practical assessments (both solo and ensemble), where each student receives personalised written. This means that by the autumn term of Year 11 students have chosen their final performances pieces and complete “official” mock recordings ahead of the final GCSE recordings in the spring term.

Composition coursework is split into two phases, with the foundations of the “free” composition being completed in the summer term of Year 10, prior to completion in the autumn term of Year 11. Composition 2 briefs are released at the start of Year 11 and students research this in the autumn term, ready for completion in the spring term. The study and analysis of the sets works and wider listening spans the two years..

Extra – curricular Activities
Our welcoming environment extends to extra – curricular activities which operate daily and are open to everybody. The vast array of ensembles reflect a broad range of musical interests within both the Department and our student leaders. We are also keen to support students who wish to establish their own ensemble groups as we believe that it is this creative energy which makes RHS different to any other school! Key performance opportunities have included productions such as Cooke’s ‘Arabian Nights’ (2018) Berkoff’s ‘The Trial’ (2017), and Littlewood’s ‘Oh What a Lovely War!’ (2016) with the Drama Department; Foundation Day, which includes individual solo
performers as well as whole school anthem singing; KS3 Awards; Open Evening; GCSE recordings; KS3 lunch time concert sessions; and a range of extracurricular performances.

County Music Service
There is a very healthy uptake for vocal and instrumental lessons (in a range of disciplines), and CMS peripatetic staff visit on a weekly basis to offer individual and shared lessons, for which a charge is made.

Staffing and Facilities
Lessons are taught in the excellent learning environment of the Alexander Music Centre, which was built during the early 1990s as the result of a very generous legacy. The building boasts a large teaching/recital room that is equipped with: a Yamaha grand piano, Roland electric piano (kindly paid for by the old Girls Society), stage area, drum – kit, electric and bass guitars, amplifiers, steel pans, PCs that utilise Sibelius software and midi keyboards, tuned and un – tuned percussion (including a set of Samba instruments) and recording equipment in the way of a mixing desk, PA, condenser mics and Cubase software. In addition there are five practice rooms, each housing an upright piano.

Staff:

Catherine Mason (Head of Performing Arts) -  BMus (Hons), PGCE, NPQML, MA (Professional Education) –c.mason@rugbyhighschool.co.uk

Rebecca Davies (Teacher of Music and Drama)  - BA (Hons), PGCE –r.davies@rugbyhighschool.co.uk