Introduction to the subject:
Music is taught in a practical way at Ysgol Bryn Alyn. Pupils have the opportunity to perform, compose and listen to a wide variety of music, from classical to popular
song. There is a strong emphasis on developing practical skills like creativity and coordination when performing and composing music which is built upon throughout the KS3 and KS4 curriculum plan. During listening, the focus is on the musical elements (dynamics, texture, tempo, pitch, structure, timbre and duration) where pupils learn a range of key words that prepare them for the KS4 GCSE music course. As well as learning how to read notation, use key terms, perform and compose music in different
styles and using different instruments there are also plenty of opportunities to take part in a number of extra-curricular activities including Choir,
Keyboard Club, Samba Drumming and Ukelele Club.
There are also opportunities for instrumental lessons from the Wrexham Music Cooperative.
The music curriculum throughout KS3 is varied, and there is a focus on performing, composing and listening skills being developed. Pupils complete a formal assessment every half term where a level is given for the skill being assessed. Mini assessments and tasks take place during each learning unit with a great emphasis on verbal feedback being given, which pupils can immediately act upon. Peer and self-assessment is also an important feature within lessons.
Topics studied include:
Year 7: Building bricks (musical elements), Pentatonic and Chinese music, The Orchestra and Samba.
Year 8: Musical Structure, Music and Space, Folk Music and Blues and Jazz.
Year 9: Popular Song, Rap and Hip Hop and Film Music.
Useful links for KS3:
The KS4 curriculum for music follows the WJEC specification. Lessons are broken down into performing/composing and listening (exam content).
Listening: The listening aspect of the course focusses on 4 areas of study: Musical Forms and Devices (AOS1), Music for Ensemble (AOS2), Film Music (AOS3) and Popular Music (AOS4). Each topic is examined in the final exam during Year 11, totally 30% of the final assessment grade.
Performing: During the course, pupils perform on their chosen instrument/s as both a soloist and as part of an ensemble. They are assessed throughout each unit of study, performing in a variety of different styles. During year 11, pupils will be assessed formally and write a 500-1000 word programme note to accompany one of their performances. This totals 35% of the final assessment grade.
Composing: During the course, pupils compose on their chosen instrument/s, as well as developing their skills in using other instruments. Pupils are encouraged to compose in a variety of different styles. During the course, pupils will compose a free composition of their choice and compose to a set brief from the WJEC. There is also a requirement to provide a 500-1000 word evaluation to accompany one of their compositions. This totals 35% of the final assessment grade.
Verbal and written feedback is an essential and important aspect of the learning throughout KS4. Self-assessment is also important and used within most lessons. Homework is given weekly/fortnightly in some learning plans to enhance learning and reinforce key terms in preparation for the written examination.
Useful links for KS4:
https://resources.wjec.co.uk/ (Choose KS4 / Music to access lots of different revision/activities)
https://dysgu.hwb.gov.wales/ (Go to resources and search GCSE appraising / music)
Jan Richards - WJEC/Eduqas GCSE Music (Rhinegold Education)
David Ventura – GCSE Music Revision Guide (Rhinegold Education)