Introduction to the subject:
Music is taught in a practical way through the three components of Performing, Composing and Appraising. There is a strong emphasis on developing transferable skills which include creativity, communication and problem-solving when performing and composing music; this is built upon throughout the KS3 and KS4 curriculum plan. During appraising activities, 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 a GCSE music qualification.
Here at Ysgol Bryn Alyn there are many opportunities to take part in extra-curricular activities; these include a Choir, Keyboard Club and Ukulele Club. The faculty of Expressive Arts (Music, Drama, Media, Dance and Art) also undertake joint projects throughout the year which comprises of a Christmas concert and school production. Lastly, we work closely with Wrexham Music Cooperative to provide opportunities to learn many different musical instruments.
The music curriculum throughout KS3 is varied. There is a focus on the development of performing, composing and appraising skills during lessons and pupils are assessed every half term. Regular verbal feedback is given, which can be immediately acted upon to improve their grade. Peer and self-assessment is also actively encouraged and is therefore an important feature within lessons.
Year 7: Graphic Scores, Elements of Music, March, Waltz & Ostinatos, Instruments of the Orchestra and Keyboard Skills 1 & 2
Year 8: Building Blocks (Musical Structure), Music in the Media, Music of Japan, Music for Special Occasions and Keyboard Skills 1 & 2.
Year 9: Blues, The Beatles, Ragtime, Song Writing and Keyboard Skills 5.
Useful links for KS3:
The KS4 curriculum for music follows the WJEC specification. The components are the same performing, composing and appraising as they are at KS3.
The course focuses on 4 areas of study: Musical Forms and Devices (AOS1), Music for Ensemble (AOS2), Film Music (AOS3) and Popular Music (AOS4).
During the course, pupils perform on their chosen instrument(s) as both a soloist and as part of an ensemble. They are assessed in 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.
During the course, pupils compose on their chosen instrument(s) and/or using music technology. Pupils are encouraged to compose in a variety of different styles. During the course, pupils will complete two compositions; a free composition of their choice and one to a set brief provided by the WJEC. There is also a requirement to provide a 500-1000 word evaluation to accompany one of the compositions. This totals 35% of the final assessment grade.
The final examination comprises of questions from each area of study. This totals 30% of the final assessment grade.
Verbal and written feedback is an important aspect of learning throughout KS4. Self-assessment is also crucial and used regularly. Homework is given weekly to further reinforce the learning in lessons.
Useful links for KS4:
https://resources.wjec.co.uk/ (Choose KS4 and then Music to access lots of different revision activities)
https://hwb.gov.wales/repository/ (Select ‘Key Stages 2 to 4’ then ‘Music’)
https://www.bbc.com/bitesize/subjects/zpf3cdm (Select ‘Equqas’ for Exam Specification)
Jan Richards: WJEC/Eduqas GCSE Music (Rhinegold Education)
David Ventura: GCSE Music Revision Guide (Rhinegold Education)