Music plays a major part in the life of Lady Margaret School. We aim to provide a wide and varied musical education, which enables students to develop an awareness of different musical styles and genres through practical music-making. Students are encouraged to take part in our thriving extra-curricular programme and around a third of the school have individual instrumental or vocal lessons. Music is compulsory for students in Year 7, 8 and 9 and is an option at GCSE and A level.
We are a well-resourced department with a dedicated music technology classroom running Logic Pro and Sibelius and Garage Band software, an auditorium, recording studio and a suite of six practice rooms. We also have a wide range of instruments owned by the department and a library of music for use by ensembles.
Key Stage 3
Music in Key Stage 3 is based around performing, composing and listening and each project undertaken covers all of these activities.
Students start studying music by looking at the orchestra and instrument sonorities, with plenty of hands-on experience exploring a variety of instruments. We then go on to develop keyboard skills later in the Autumn term. Students will also perform and arrange as an a cappella ensemble, study a variety of music from Asia, study jazz and develop songwriting skills. Singing is a core part of the Year 7 curriculum and every lesson will incorporate elements of topic-related singing.
Year 8 starts with a Ghanaian drumming project where we will explore complex rhythmic cycles and apply these to composition work. We then go on to study programmatic music based around an in-depth study of Benjamin Britten’s Four Sea Interludes. From the Spring term onwards, students will study Blues, how to develop more complex chord sequences, Reggae and dance music using Logic Pro software.
In Year 9, students use music technology to compose film scores and study the development of rock & roll. After Christmas, we engage with GCSE-specific content, including preparing and rehearsing an ensemble performance and composing music from a given stimulus. The year finishes with a practical exploration of musical fusions and Motown.
Key Stage 4 – GCSE Music – Edexcel syllabus
Music covers performing, composing and appraising music, broken down as follows:
During the course, students take part in many different performances, either with an ensemble or as a soloist. Final recitals are performed in March of Year 11. These performances can be in any style and on any instrument. Students will have the opportunity to record mock performances and receive detailed feedback on these.
Students work on one composition in Year 10 and another in Year 11. One is in response to a choice of briefs set by the exam board and the other is a free choice composition. Compositions can be written for any instrument and submitted through traditional notation software, music technology or through live recording with an accompanying commentary.
Listening Examination (40%)
Students study eight set works from an anthology covering a wide variety of musical cultures and styles. They are asked questions based on recorded extracts of these set works in an examination and will also answer one comparative long-answer question. These set works are:
- Brandenburg Concerto no 5- J. S. Bach
- Pathetique Sonata- L. van Beethoven
- Music for a While- H. Purcell
- Killer Queen- Queen
- Defying Gravity- S. Schwartz
- Title Theme from ‘Star Wars’- J. Williams
- Release- Afro Celt Sound System
- Samba en Preludio- E. Spalding
Key Stage 5
Music A level allows students to study Music as a practical, intellectual and creative subject, focusing on performance, analysis and composition. The course recognises that we live in an age of cultural diversity and the areas of study cover a wide range of music. Students have access to the educational facilities that the professional London music scene has to offer.
The course is made up of three units:
Students are required to perform a solo recital in Year 13 of between 8-12 minutes in length.
Students submit one composition for any forces and in any style of at least four minutes in length. They will also complete two chorale harmonisations in the style of J. S. Bach.
Musical Understanding (40%)
We will study 18 set works, taken from a broad array of styles and genres. Understanding of the works is assessed through an examination with listening and essay questions and there is a strong emphasis on wider listening outside of prescribed works.