CURRICULUM AIMS AND VALUES

Music is a universal language that embodies one of the highest forms of creativity. At Greenbank High School we strive to inspire students to develop a love of music and their talent as musicians, and so increase their self – confidence, creativity and sense of achievement.

As a Music Department we aim to ensure that all students:

  • Perform (vocal and instrumental), listen to, review and evaluate music across a range of periods, genres, styles and traditions
  • learn to create and compose music on their own and with others, and develop an understanding of how music is created, produced and communicated through various notations such as staff and graphic notation
  • have the opportunity to learn a musical instrument
  • use technology appropriately

In addition to having the opportunity to progress to the next level of musical excellence, at Greenbank High School the wider benefits of Music Education are recognised and valued greatly:

  • Music education prepares students to learn
    • Enhances fine motor skills
    • Prepares the brain for achievement
    • Fosters superior working memory
    • Cultivates better thinking skills
  • Music education facilitates student academic achievement
    • Improves recall and retention of verbal information
    • Advances mathematical achievement
    • Boosts reading and English language skills
    • Improves average test scores
  • Music education develops the creative capacities for lifelong success
    • Sharpens student attentiveness
    • Strengthens perseverance
    • Equips students to be creative
    • Supports better study habits and self-esteem

The department is staffed with two enthusiastic specialist musicians and prides itself on its continued success at GCSE Music and regular performances within and outside the school. There is a wide range of well-established musical ensembles; one of which was selected to represent the school at the Complete Awards Graduation Ceremony in Liverpool Cathedral. Other performances include the celebration of the “Christmas Light Switch-on” in Birkdale, the annual Mayor of Sefton Concert with Sefton Music Service and extremely successful music tours to Austria and Italy.

The department has two well-equipped teaching rooms with class sets of keyboards, ukuleles, Samba percussion, tin whistles, tuned percussion, Djembes and PCs. All students at Greenbank High School learn how to play a Woodwind or Brass instrument in curriculum time within a recently developed Band Project. Moreover two newly refurbished practice rooms cater for 130 students taking instrumental/vocal lessons as an extra-curriculum opportunity.

CURRICULUM ORGANISATION AND DELIVERY

At KS3 students receive 2 (Year 7) or 3 (Year 8) lessons of Music in a fortnight, one of which will be part of the Band Project scheme i.e. the acquiring of performance skills on a woodwind or brass instrument.

Assessments include performance, composition, listening and knowledge and understanding. Two pieces of homework are set in each unit of work and regular practice on students’ instruments is expected.

At KS4 students receive 4 lessons in Year 9 and 10 fortnightly and 5 lessons over two weeks in Year 11.

All Music classes are mixed ability and where applicable work is differentiated by task according to ability.

Structure and Sequence

The curriculum enables students to develop their vocal and/or instrumental fluency, accuracy and expressiveness; and understand musical structures, styles, genres and traditions, identifying the expressive use of musical dimensions. They learn to listen with increasing discrimination and awareness to inform their practice as musicians. Technologies are used appropriately and teach students to appreciate and understand a wide range of musical contexts and styles.

The KS 3 Music Curriculum, which ensures coverage of the National Curriculum, provides a solid foundation starting with the Elements of Music, moving on to an in depth exploration of the theoretical and practical aspects of rhythm, pitch and timbre with an emphasis on learning to read and perform from staff notation. Year 8 can be described as a World Music year with Year 9 being the start of the GCSE course with topics covering 20th century Music as well as Music Theory.

All practical tasks in Music are differentiated by task according to ability or by outcome, providing for the needs of all students.

Through the above selection of topics with GCSE Music content informing KS 3 planning, students are taught to:

  • play and perform confidently in a range of solo and ensemble contexts using their voice, playing instruments musically, fluently and with accuracy and expression
  • improvise and compose; and extend and develop musical ideas by drawing on a range of musical structures, styles, genres and traditions
  • use staff and other relevant notations appropriately and accurately in a range of musical styles, genres and traditions
  • identify and use the inter-related dimensions of music expressively and with increasing sophistication, including use of tonalities, different types of scales and other musical devices
  • listen with increasing discrimination to a wide range of music from great composers and musicians
  • develop a deepening understanding of the music that they perform and to which they listen, and its history.

 Assessment

 Topic exams test the knowledge and understanding, and listening skills in various areas of the curriculum and performance plus composition assessments take place once per topic at KS 3 as well as Year 9. Previously explored concepts and skills are revisited and tested in practical forms in addition. From Year 10 performance check-ups are introduced to systematically test the progress in performing. A practice composition is completed in Year 9 to familiarise students with future coursework demands. Years 9, 10 and 11 complete formal Mock Exams for performing and listening & appraising. At KS 4 exam board marking criteria is used and at KS 3 students are banded using the descriptors below.

CULTURAL CAPITAL

 

Greenbank High School Music Department is committed at every stage to ensure that no pupil is disadvantaged because they do not have the cultural experience to access the full curriculum and in the classroom as well as outside the classroom the following key aspects contribute to the personal development of students and the nurture of love for the subject and for learning:

 

  • Study of Music from all around the world and various styles
  • Music for ‘all’ approach with every student learning to play a musical instrument and ‘no audition’ policy for ensembles, but differentiated approach to challenge all in addition to the implementation of the ‘Greenbank Way’ 8 strategies to narrow the gap for disadvantaged students
  • Vast instrumental timetable with specialised tutors with free access to disadvantaged students (not only financially disadvantaged but also culturally challenged or vulnerable in other ways)
  • Opportunities to perform several times a year in school (Winter concert, Summer Concert, Open Evening, two Awards Evenings, Christmas Carols around school, live band for school productions etc.) and at various occasions in the local community (Complete Awards for Sefton Council, as part of Sky Music Hub concerts in the Atkinson or the Southport Convention Centre, Trinity Church Lunchtime concerts, Opening of Birkdale Christmas Lights, Fearnley Grange Retirement home Carol Concert etc.)
  • Close links with Sky Music Hub
  • ‘Carrying’ on British traditions such as Christmas carolling or playing/experiencing the ‘Last Post’ at Remembrance
  • Concert tours every 2 years: Austria 2014, Italy 2016, Austria 2018, Holland 2020
    • Concert tours do not only provide the opportunity to perform in front of unknown large audiences, but also the values imparted throughout the 2 year preparation phase with rehearsals, play days, logo designs for folders and hoodies, the compiling of concert scripts for compares, the arts administration aspects, the working together and watching out for one another, learning about safety on travels and abroad, being exposed to another culture and language as well as foods/education systems etc. provides invaluable experiences to educate a well-rounded young person
  • Trips to the Liverpool Philharmonic once per year
  • Visits to support performances at local venues
  • Visits organised via the careers provision to Runshaw College or LIPA as well as invitations to taster days at local Sixth Forms and references to careers and the destinations of former students in lessons
  • Arts Award Bronze, Silver and Gold to nurture independent learning and a drive to achieve
  • COTA (Champions Of The Arts) Council with leaders for each Arts subject in Years 9 and 10
    • Students involved in decision making and included in Arts Planning
  • In-house opportunities to sit ABRSM Grade Theory Exams
  • Cultural participation is taught by role model behaviour from all Music staff. Staff attend rehearsals to show the importance of commitment and regularly visit concerts and events students are involved in outside of school in the local community to support students’ achievements. Staff always play in lessons and traditions unique in the British cultural calendar are always mentioned, discussed, correlations pointed out and honoured. The network of Greenbank alumni musicians who regularly perform with us has also become an excellent example of role model attitudes in the Arts.
  • Literacy skills are a key component of accessing all curriculum areas. In Music, skills are developed through the use of staff notation. A special emphasis is placed on musical literacy skills developing hand eye coordination and supporting fine motor skills to help with writing.
  • The following Clubs provide the opportunity to work with students from other year groups as well as extend musical practice from lessons:

 

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