What does this course involve at Key Stage 3?

Music is a practical subject in which students work as musicians, engaging in musical thinking.  Three kinds of activity require musical thinking: listening, composing and performing.  These elements provide the foundation for the music curriculum.

What do you need to be successful in this course?

Music is a universal language which can be enjoyed by all and accessible to all.  Students should have the experience of music which encompasses a wide range of styles and cultural traditions.  Music is a constant in many of our lives and is quite extraordinary in its ability to connect us to each other and to ourselves. It is also extremely enjoyable and a great outlet for expression, creativity and imagination. It also has a variety of other benefits such as:

  • increasing academic achievement
  • relieving stress and anxiety
  • teaching discipline
  • improving motor skills

The BTEC course is taught in a highly practical way with an emphasis on performance, composition and ensemble work. This allows students to work together to develop as musicians and as collaborative learners. The coursework portion within the units is used to develop reflective practice.

  • Module 1: Singing as an ensemble, singing as a class
  • Module 2: Seasonal music, creating a piece of music that fits with the sound of the winter season with particular attention on timbre, structure and texture.
  • Modules 3 and 4: Band Project, learning a pop song on a particular band instrument of their choice.  Developing instrumental technique in steps.  Forming bands to put together the different instrumental parts learnt in the previous term.
  • Module 5: African drumming, looking at music that relies on a leader to lead actions and to help smooth transitions between sections,
  • Module 6: Musical stories, creating a piece of music that fits the brief of a story, thinking about the timbre and how that reflects character, story and purpose.

Throughout this year is the constant thread of musical elements and musical devices which are essential to performing and composing any type of music.  They are:

Musical elements

  • Rhythm
  • Pitch
  • Dynamics
  • Tempo
  • Timbre
  • Texture
  • Structure

Musical Devices

  • Imitation
  • Call and response
  • Ostinato
  • Riff
  • Motif
  • Pedal
  • Drone
  • Acapella – Using our voice to create different instrumental sounds can help us to understand what gives each instrument it’s specific timbre. How is that sound shaped? What role does that instrument have within a group? How can we balance these sounds together. You will create a rap song based entirely on using our voices.
  • Notation and arrangement – Music uses symbols to communicate pitch, rhythm, dynamics and many more pieces of information. Learning how to use this language can help us to understand music in more depth and help us to create music and share it with others. You will take a piece of music already written and create your own parts to fit with what you have performed.
  • Samba – Used in carnivals and celebrations, Samba is used to bring communities and groups together in celebration. This music of Brazil is heavily focused on ensemble music making and teamwork forms an integral part of the success of this genre. They will need to create their own Samba groove and call and response sections.
  • Song Project – Learning an instrument involves a great of commitment and technical skill. They will be able to choose the instrument that interests them and learn a pop song on that instrument. Once confidence they will then form bands to perform the song together.
  • Blues – This genre of music from the early 20th century has had a great deal of influence over the emergence and development of RnB music in America. Originally created as a way for black communities to express their feelings and emotions on social issues, it has become the progenitor of a number of music styles ever since. They will create their own blues song, thinking about the original artistic intention of the music.
  • Rock n Roll – Emerging in the late 1940’s, Rock n Roll has become an iconic part of musical history, not only musically but all culturally and socially. Bridging the gap between music of the white and black races, it helped to promote cohesion between the youth of America during this time. Seen as the music of the devil, this music encapsulates the fun and energy of the American youth. They will create a Rock N Roll song.

BTEC Level 2 First Award in Music Unit Description Assessment

  • Unit 1: The Music Industry Looking at how the music industry operates from the many different roles available to the companies and organisations involved in producing the development of musicians. 1hr Exam
  • Unit 2: Managing a Music Product Creating and producing an album or concert. They will be planned, developed and delivered by students, with a focus on promotion of their final product. Coursework and Observation
  • Unit 4: Introducing Music Composition Creating four pieces of music based on four different briefs. Two of these are extended, with one of these made into a full, final piece of music. Coursework
  • Unit 5: Introducing Music Performance Forming bands and ensembles to produce two performances; one song based and one instrumental based. Performance, Coursework and Observation.

Please consider the performance aspect of this course when making a decision. You will be performing several times over the three years and must be committed to this.