Ysgol Stanwell School

Archer Road, Penarth, Vale of Glamorgan, CF64 2XL

Music & Music Technology

Head of Department
Nick Rhydderch
Teachers
Miss S Ghazi-Torbati
Mr M Giles
Mr M Sambell
Technician
Mr A Reid

Table of Contents

Music

At Stanwell, the focus is on ‘Music for All’! The department strives to cater for all levels of learners, and works to promote pride and success in the performance arts through exam achievements, a rigorous extra-curricular programme and public performances.

Key Stage 3

The curriculum at Key Stage 3 (studied for one lesson per week across Year 7 and 8) encompasses a broad range of musical styles, techniques and concepts. Students are given a National Curriculum level at the end of Key Stage 3 in line with the level descriptors in the Music programme of study (revised 2008).

There is an emphasis on building students’ musical skills, understanding and vocabulary, and units are carefully planned to ensure progression. Students will acquire a rudimentary knowledge of a number of classroom instruments including bass guitar, keyboard, drum-kit and ukulele. ICT is used to support and enhance learning in Music at Key Stage 3 with students using the departmental computer suite and school iPad suite to assist in the realisation of compositions. The current topics studied are:

Year 7 Year 8
Working Together Film Music
Descriptive Music Layers of Sound
Patterns What Makes a Song?
Jazz I Jazz II
Music making using iPads Musicals
African Music Ukelele

Key Stage 4

The Music department offers two courses at Key Stage 4; the well established GCSE Music course (WJEC specification) continues to attract numbers above the national average, and the newly established GCSE Performing Arts course (WJEC specification) which is becoming an increasingly popular option. Numbers of students opting for GCSE Music and GCSE Performing Arts are above national averages and examination results are consistently pleasing.

GCSE Music
Specification Overview
MUS1: Performing Music 30% Controlled Assessment: 120 marks (60 UMS)
Two contrasting performances. One solo and one as a member of an ensemble.

  • Total performance time must not exceed ten minutes
  • One piece should connect with an Area of Study at MUS3
  • Teacher assessed and externally moderated in February/March
MUS2: Composing Music 30% Controlled Assessment: 80 marks (60 UMS)
Two contrasting compositions.

  • Total playing time of both compositions should be at least 5 minutes
  • Each composition should be linked to a different Area of Study at MUS3
  • Candidates to complete a composition log (MUS2C)
  • Teacher assessed and externally moderated in April/May
MUS3: Appraising Music 40% External Assessment: 100 marks (80 UMS)
Written Examination (40%): 1½ hour listening / written examination based on unprepared musical extracts under each of the Areas of Study and an evaluation of a performance/composition undertaken during the course. This is assessed externally in May/June.
Sixth Form

In the 6th form, students can select from a number of qualification pathways offered by the department in order to further develop skills acquired through their GCSE studies.

A Level Music, A Level Music Technology and BTEC Performing Arts are all offered by the department and delivered in dedicated facilities, affording students the opportunity to specialise in their preferred area of music-making.

A Level Music

The department follows the AS / AL level WJEC courses. These allow all interested students the opportunity to pursue their interests in greater depth as they continue to work in the three areas of performing, composing and appraising. The specification is detailed below, with weightings pertinent to the full A Level qualification.

Specification Overview
AS (3 units)
MU1 Performing (AO1) 15% External Assessment
Solo and/or ensemble performance

  • Performance should last between 8 and 10 minutes
  • One piece should reflect a chosen area of study
  • Assessed by visiting examiner
MU2 Composing (AO2) 15% Internal Assessment
Two contrasting compositions

  • Compositions should last between 4 and 8 minutes
  • One composition demonstrating the musical techniques and conventions associated with the Western Classical Tradition
  • One free composition
  • Teacher assessed and externally moderated
MU3 Appraising (AO3) 20% External Assessment
One listening examination in two parts

  • Part 1: (12%):1 hour appraising test based on extracts of music (set works) taken from the two Areas of Study selected for study [Orchestral Music / Jazz, Rock and Pop]
  • Part 2: (8%): 1 hour aural perception (melodic dictation, keys, chords, cadences) based on unprepared musical extracts
A Level (the above plus the following 3 units – 2 units at 15% and 1 at 20%)
Either MU4(A) Performing (AO1) 15 % External Assessment
Solo and/or ensemble performance

  • Performance should last between 10 and 12 minutes
  • One piece should reflect the new area of study (Music in the 20th and 21st centuries)
  • Assessed by visiting examiner
Or MU4(B) Performing (AO1) 20 % External Assessment
Solo and/or ensemble performance

  • Performance should last between 16 and 18 minutes
  • One piece should reflect the new area of study (Music in the 20th and 21st centuries)
  • One piece to reflect a further area of study
  • Assessed by visiting examiner
Either MU5(A) Composing (AO2) 15% Internal Assessment
Two contrasting compositions

  • Compositions should last between 6 and 10 minutes
  • One composition demonstrating the musical techniques and conventions associated with the Western Classical

Tradition (area of study continued from AS)

  • One composition reflecting the new area of study (Music in the 20th and 21st centuries)
  • Teacher assessed and externally marked
Or MU5(B) Composing (AO2) 20% Internal Assessment
Three contrasting compositions

  • Compositions should last between 12 and 18 minutes
  • A composition demonstrating the musical techniques and conventions associated with the Western Classical Tradition
  • One composition reflecting the new area of study (Music in the 20th and 21st centuries)
  • One free, innovative composition
  • Teacher assessed and externally marked
Either MU6(A) Appraising (AO3) 15% External Assessment
One written examination in two parts (2 ¼ hours)

  • Part 1: (6%) : ¾ hour listening examination based on extracts of unfamiliar 20th / 21st century music (new area of study)
  • Part 2 : (9%): 1½ hour listening / written examination requiring candidates to analyse a set work [Shostakovich String Quartet] and place the work within a broader musical perspective
Or MU6(B) Appraising (AO3) 20% External Assessment
One written examination in three parts (3 hours)

  • Part 1: (6%) : ¾ hour listening examination based on extracts of unfamiliar 20th / 21st century music (new area of study)
  • Part 2 : (9%): 1½ hour listening / written examination requiring candidates to analyse a set work and place the work within a broader musical perspective
  • Part 3 : (5%): ¾ hour written examination requiring candidates to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the overall musical style and output of one of the set work composers.

Extra-Curricular Activities

The department encourages performances of a tremendous variety of styles, from music from the sixteenth century to pop! Hundreds of pupils participate in an array of activities organised by the music staff, and rehearsals are organised according to set projects and performances; both in the school and in the local community. The current activities offered include, Junior Girls’ Choir, Outsiders Boys’ Choir, Junior Jazz, Senior Jazz, String Group, Barbershop Choir, Senior Girls’ Choir and various smaller ensembles. The uptake of instrumental and vocal lessons is excellent with around 300 pupils receiving tuition during after school sessions.

The department embarks on a concert tour to a European destination on a bi-annual basis – in July 2014 a group of students visited Paris giving concerts in the shadow of Notre Dame Cathedral and in the Disneyland Paris hotel (the concert tour destination for 2016 is currently in negotiation).

The department strives to forge links with local organisations such as Welsh National Opera, Wales Millennium Centre, Penarth Pier Pavillion and Penarth Rotary Club, and pupils frequently perform at events and participate in workshops alongside professional arts practitioners.

A highlight of the extra-curricular programme is undoubtedly the junior and senior productions. These reach standards of excellence which are regularly praised by inspectors and professional performers. Recent upper school productions include Aida, Beauty and the Beast, Miss Saigon (Welsh Schools’ Premiere), Grease, Little Shop of Horrors and We Will Rock You (British Schools’ Premier). Junior shows have included Oliver!, High School Musical and Bugsy Malone.

The extra-curricular programme is demanding but extremely rewarding for pupils and staff alike, and is recognised widely for the standards achieved.  The school has been recognised by the Welsh Secondary Schools Association receiving an award for ‘Extra Curricular Performance Arts – A Significant Contribution to Excellence’.

Useful Websites

A number of helpful resources can be found on the Internet for both Key Stages 3 and 4.

Key Stage 3
  • Channel 4 Clipbank
    • The ‘Music’ section contains many short films on a variety of topics, particularly world music. Students studying the Jazz units in Year 7 and 8 may find some of the clips particularly interesting.
  • Interactive Keyboard
    • Useful for familiarising yourself with the keyboard layout in readiness for performance assessments
  • YouTube
    • A wealth of musical information, live performances and more besides! Start by listening to examples of music discussed in lesson time and then use it to conduct further research into specific topic areas. Online instrumental tutorials can also be of use.
Key Stage 4
  • BBC Bitesize
    • A good resource that allows you to test yourself following structured revision exercises. Be careful that you only study topics relevant to the WJEC specification as all examination boards are covered by this site.
  • Hwb Wales
    • This site provides extremely effective preparation for the appraising element of the WJEC Music course with quizzes and tasks modelled on past examination papers. The ‘glossary’ section is also extremely useful. Follow the path Music / Key Stage 4/ Appraising for the most appropriate materials.
  • Philharmonia Orchestra
    • A useful tool for listening to the timbres of particular instruments, there are also dictation exercises available.

Music Technology

Music Technology Drum Kits

The department delivers the Edexcel AS / A Level Music Technology courses. Students have the opportunity to learn and develop skills in the key areas of the contemporary music industry including recording, mixing, sequencing, arranging, and mastering. In addition, the AS course covers the history of 20th Century Popular Music, and the A2 course supplements this with a history of technological developments (e.g. analogue/digital recording, synthesizers, samplers, etc).

The department is fully equipped with a dedicated recording studio, professional standard hardware (including analogue mixing desk, range of microphones, rack mounted effects and processors) and software (Cubase, Reason and Sibelius).

The department also has good links with HE providers, which are utilised to enable students to explore further education possibilities and also career opportunities in the music industry.

The specification for the course is detailed below, with weightings relevant to full A Level qualification.

Specification Overview
AS: 2 Units
Unit 1: Portfolio 35% External Assessment
  • Task 1A: Sequenced Realised Performance o Recreate a popular music track using MIDI software
  • Task 1B: Multi-track recording
    • Using a minimum of 8 tracks, record a popular music track
  • Task 1C: Creative Sequenced Arrangement
    • Arrange a popular music track using the features of a specific musical style
  • Logbook
Unit 2: Listening and Analysing 15% External Assessment
  • 1 hour 45 minute exam taken in the summer of the year of entry
  • Based on unprepared extracts
  • Will test students’ knowledge of the development of popular music styles from 1910 to the present day
  • Includes questions on two special focus styles to be selected each year.
A2: 2 Units
Unit 3: Portfolio 30% External Assessment
  • Task 3A: Sequenced Integrated Performance
    • Recreate a popular music track using MIDI software and integrate live vocals into mix
  • Task 3B: Multi-track recording
    • Using a minimum of 12 tracks, and including acoustic instruments, record a popular music track
  • Task 3C: Composing Using Music Technology
    • Working from a specified brief, create an original piece using music technology
  • Logbook
Unit 4: Analysing and Producing 20% External Assessment
  • 2 hour examination taken in summer of year of entry
  • Students will be tested on their musical understanding, ability to manipulate and correct recorded music, and asked to produce a balanced stereo mix within the exam.
  • One question will require students to demonstrate their knowledge of a technological process, or the development of a specific technology used in popular music.

 

Careers Wales Mark ICT Mark Accredited Eco Schools Healthy Schools Vale Network Welsh Baccalaureate Arts Council of Wales