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Expressive Arts

Expressive Arts is a unique form of communication that can change the way pupils feel, think and act. It forms part of an individual’s identity and positive interaction with the arts can develop pupils’ competence as learners and increase their self-esteem. It brings together intellect and feeling and enables personal expression, reflection and emotional development. As an integral part of culture, past and present, the Expressive Arts helps pupils understand themselves, relate to others and develop their cultural understanding, forging important links between home, school and the wider world.

The Expressive Arts in education encourages active involvement in different forms of performance-making, both individual and communal, helping to develop a sense of group identity and togetherness. It can influence pupils’ development in and out of school by fostering personal development and maturity, creating a sense of achievement and self-worth, and increasing pupils’ ability to work with others in a group context.

Learning develops pupils’ critical skills: their ability to listen, to appreciate a wide variety of styles and genres, and to make judgements about creative quality. It also increases self-discipline, aesthetic sensitivity and fulfilment.

Here at St Gregory’s Catholic Science College this is achieved through an innovative curriculum complimented by an extensive extra-curricular and enrichment program. Students engage in various learning pursuits from monologues to devised theatre and from solo and ensemble music performance to improvisation and composition.

A firm emphasis is placed on traditional approaches as well as new and emerging technologies.

The department consists of 3 specialist teaching rooms all equipped with interactive whiteboards. The music rooms house a variety of instruments while the Drama room is equipped with stage lighting and auditorium style seating. There are additionally smaller rehearsal rooms for individual vocal coaching and instrumental lessons as well as a dedicated recording booth. Pupils in Key Stage 4 and 5 additionally have access to a dedicated Mac Suite consisting of 14 IMacs.

There are 3 full time teachers who are fully supported by 8 peripatetic staff and an administration assistant.

Year 7 

At the centre pupils in year 7 are introduced to the Expressive Arts through a combination of practical and theoretical activities. Drama lessons are taught within the English curriculum at this level. Please see the English department page for details of this. Lessons in Music are timetabled twice per fortnight with homework set once per fortnight.

In addition to curricular music pupils in year 7 are encouraged to take up an instrumental study on one or more instruments through the centre’s instrumental tuition programme. This is organised during St Gregory’s learner induction in the July preceding entry into secondary school. The school offers value for money individual tuition on a variety of instruments including brass, percussion, woodwind and strings as well as guitar, piano and vocal tuition.

For Music all pupils are tested upon entry to determine current academic attainment for the purpose of setting realistic yet aspirational targets. Assessment is carried out using the new National Curriculum for Music where pupils are graded as emerging, developing, securing or mastering. Lessons are taught once per week and homework is set once per fortnight. Pupils undertake three units of work as follows:

Unit 1- Introduction to Music

In this unit pupils learn about the musical elements such as pitch, dynamics and tempo among others through a combination of practical performance, composition and listening activities. Pupils then learn about the instruments of the orchestra and the conclusion to the term includes solo and class singing activities in preparation for the Christmas Concert where all pupils are required as a class to sing one Christmas Song in the event.

Unit 2- Medieval Music

In this unit pupils explore the origins of musical notation through a song entitled “Mice, Mice.” This unit includes instrumental performance activities, singing and composition of a Ternary structured medieval piece. Pupils learn and use invaluable skills in notation of simple pitch and rhythm symbols and the presentation of that notation into a conventional format appropriate to the style.

Unit 3- Baroque Music

Here pupils learn about the origins of keyboard instruments from the Harpsichord and Organ through to the modern day electronic keyboard. Note names and values are reinforced as pupils work through two short performance pieces for keyboard. The first, Pachelbel’s Canon, improves posture and finger technique while enabling learners to develop confidence in performing to others on an instrument. The second, titled the Class Concerto allows pupils to develop their keyboard skills further through ensemble performance activities.

Year 8

Pupils in year 8 receive dedicated Drama lessons once a week from a specialist Drama teacher following on from the knowledge and skills learned in the year 7 English curriculum. Lessons in Music are a continuation from the specialist lessons pupils received in year 7 and are again timetabled once per week. In both Drama and Music pupils receive homework once per fortnight. Assessment is carried out using the new National Curriculum for Music where pupils are graded as emerging, developing, securing or mastering.

In Drama lessons pupils cover a range of practical activities throughout the year that include several opportunities for performance in a variety of contexts. Examples of the types of work covered are:

  • The Works – Covering a range of Drama skills and giving students a firm grounding for their Drama education.
  • Anti-Smoking – Using Drama to explore issues through Role Play
  • Physical Theatre – Communication through physicality and body language
  • “Commedia Dell'Arte”- To explore the use of physicality and exaggerated mime
  • Medieval Theatre – Exploring Religious Drama and the use of Stock Characters

In Music pupils complete three units of work following on from the knowledge and skills learned in the first year of study.

Unit 4- Theme and Variation

Within this unit pupils gain knowledge as to the conventions associated with the Theme and Variation genre such as tonality, metre, rhythm and structure through a listening analysis of key set works. From this point pupils learn a popular theme tune on a chosen instrument and following rehearsal sessions perform to an audience. The final part of the unit requires learners to compose their own set of variations for a particular instrument.

Unit 5- Music From Around the World

Here students are exposed to the musical styles and conventions from different areas of the world. Firstly the music of Africa is introduced, followed by the Gamelan of Indonesia and finishing off with the music of the British Isles. Pupils gain knowledge of the instruments of each particular area and following a series of listening and appraising activities are required to perform as both a small group and whole class ensemble; following the conventions of each particular World Music genre.

Unit 6- The Blues

The conclusion to key stage 3 sees pupils explore the blues through activities which introduce the blues scale, 12 bar blues chord sequence and the walking bass. Improvisation is introduced encouraging the musical concepts of call and response and syncopation. Research based tasks help pupils develop appropriate skills needed for the next stage of education.

Year 9

Pupils in year 9 enjoy smaller class sizes and are set according to ability. As in the previous year pupils receive dedicated Drama lessons once a week from a specialist Drama teacher following on from the knowledge and skills learned in year 8 Drama. Lessons in Music are a continuation from the specialist lessons pupils received in year 8 and are again timetabled once per week. In both Drama and Music pupils receive homework once per fortnight. Pupils are assessed using the National Curriculum levels 1-8.

In Drama lessons pupils cover a range of practical activities throughout the year that include several opportunities for performance in a variety of contexts. Examples of the types of work covered are:

  • Warden X – A Teacher in Role ‘Murder Mystery’ style scheme, consolidating all the techniques learnt so far with some new ones added.
  • The Disposable Ones – This explores the work of the church charities to help the homeless children of South America
  • Shakespeare – Bringing some of Shakespeare’s texts into the modern day and making them relevant.
  • Devising Project– Workshop based devised Drama using a stimulus.
  • Sister Act 2 – A whole class production involving script, song and dance

In Music pupils finish the key stage 3 curriculum through units of work designed to offer appropriate progression into the next stage of secondary school.

Unit 7- Caribbean Music

Here pupils gain knowledge of the instruments and conventions of the music of the Caribbean and are introduced to key aspects such as syncopation, harmonic accompaniment and instrument specific techniques such as tremolo for steel pans. Performance work centres around a popular melody entitled “Yellow Bird” which offers challenging tasks designed to stretch even the most accomplished musicians.

Unit 8- Song

Identifying key features of popular song such as the verse/chorus structure, the middle 8, melodic and harmonic development and the use of riffs are explored through the penultimate unit. Following key listening and appraising activities pupils are required to form small groups and rehearse and perform popular songs. Composition then flows naturally from this where pupils are required to compose their own popular songs using a verse, chorus and middle 8 structure.

Unit 9- Film Music

Pupils are required to understand the uses and importance of music in films and complete listening activities based on film music. Pupils then perform part of a famous film theme tune and complete a self-evaluation of their performance using A/V evidence. The final task involves pupils composing music for a silent film using the appropriate devices of drone, ostinato, chromatic scale and cluster.

Year 10

Pupils in year 10 can elect to study GCSE Music (Edexcel) if they are on a particular pathway. Students on certain pathways are required to study a V Cert qualification in Music Technology.

 

GCSE in Music (Edexcel)

The school currently offers year 10 pupils GCSE Music where pupils study the Pearson (Edexcel) syllabus, which is comprised of the following:

Unit 1-Performing:

Here pupils are required to submit one solo performance worth 15% and one ensemble performance worth 15% which are internally marked and externally moderated. Each pupil is required to undertake separate peripatetic music lessons, which are in most cases organised through the centre. Pupils are also required to undertake responsibilities in various concerts and events and in some cases showcase their work to the public. It is hoped pupils will develop their performance skills throughout the course.

Unit 2- Composing:

Here pupils are required to submit two compositions from different areas of study worth a total of 30%, which are internally marked and externally moderated. Pupils are supported in this unit through the use of dedicated state of the art computer software and recording equipment and submit their coursework electronically.

Unit 3- Listening and Appraising:

Here pupils study 12 set works, which are tested in June of the examination year. The exam is worth 40% and is broken into 2 parts, a short answer section A and a longer essay style exam section B. Revision materials, textbooks and extensive use of electronic resources are used to facilitate comprehension in this area.

 

NCFE Level 2 Technical Award in Music Technology

The NCFE Level 2 V Cert in Music Technology is an exciting new qualification, which is designed for learners wishing to gain an understanding of the music industry. A state of the art IMac lab is used specifically for this course. Throughout the course pupils learn about digital/audio workstations, develop mixing skills with pre-recorded tracks and compose their own dance music using the dedicated OSX software Garageband. Assessment is carried out through submission of coursework which is internally marked and externally moderated and is broken down as follows:

Unit 1- Using a Digital Audio Workstation

This unit will allow learners to develop skills in operating a Digital Audio Workstation (DAW) creatively using audio, MIDI, hardware and editing tools. Learners will also create a musical project in response to a brief, reflecting industry skills.

Unit 2- Creating Music

Learners will develop skills to analyse stylistic elements of music and develop a piece of music based on a specific style. Learners will engage in a review of technical and creative processes.

Unit 3- Studio recording

Learners will plan and undertake a recording session for a given scenario. Learners will create a mixdown of their recording and review the final product.

Unit 4- Sound recording

Learners will explore sound creation and apply their knowledge to a given brief. They will create and review their own original sound creation project.

 

External Assessment

The external assessment consists of two exams, which will take place in year 11.

  • Written exam – 2 hours
  • Practical exam – 2 hours

Assessment Summary

Assessment component

Contribution to final grade

Internal assessment (Unit 1-4)

50%

External assessment (Exam – written test)

15%

External assessment (Exam – practical test)

35%

 

Year 11 

V Cert in Music Technology: (NCFE)

Pupils who are studying the Level 2 NCFE VCert in Music Technology continue developing practical skills and refining their portfolios.

The NCFE Level 2 V Cert in Music Technology is an exciting new qualification, which is designed for learners wishing to gain an understanding of the music industry. A state of the art IMac lab is used specifically for this course. Throughout the course pupils learn about digital/audio workstations, develop mixing skills with pre-recorded tracks and compose their own dance music using the dedicated OSX software Garageband. Assessment is carried out through submission of coursework which is internally marked and externally moderated and is broken down as follows:

In this second year pupils are required to complete two externally exams which equate to 50% of their overall grade.

External Assessment

The external assessment consists of two exams.

  • Written exam – 2 hours
  • Practical exam – 2 hours

Assessment Summary

Assessment component

Contribution to final grade

Internal assessment (Unit 1-4)

50%

External assessment (Exam – written test)

15%

External assessment (Exam – practical test)

35%

 

Unit 1- Using a Digital Audio Workstation

This unit will allow learners to develop skills in operating a Digital Audio Workstation (DAW) creatively using audio, MIDI, hardware and editing tools. Learners will also create a musical project in response to a brief, reflecting industry skills.

Unit 2- Creating Music

Learners will develop skills to analyse stylistic elements of music and develop a piece of music based on a specific style. Learners will engage in a review of technical and creative processes.

Unit 3- Studio recording

Learners will plan and undertake a recording session for a given scenario. Learners will create a mixdown of their recording and review the final product.

Unit 4- Sound recording

Learners will explore sound creation and apply their knowledge to a given brief. They will create and review their own original sound creation project.

 

GCSE in Music 1-9  (Edexcel)

The school currently offers year 11 pupils GCSE Music, which is the second of a 2 year course where pupils develop and improve on the skills learned in the previous year and prepare for the June examination. Here pupils again follow the Pearson (Edexcel) syllabus. Please see the year 10 page for further curriculum details.

 

Year 12 

The centre offers pupils two vocational courses at Key Stage 5 that are designed to follow on from the courses offered at Key Stage 4. Both courses are level 3 qualifications aimed at 16-19 year olds and offer pupils excellent progression routes into further or higher education or work related learning. Pupils are assessed using assessment criteria and grading is awarded as: Pass- equivalent E grade (16 UCAS points); Merit- equivalent C grade (32 UCAS points); Distinction- equivalent A grade (48 UCAS points) and Distinction*- equivalent A* grade (56 UCAS points)

 

NCFE Level 3 Applied General Certificate in Music Technology

The NCFE Level 3 Applied General Certificate in Music Technology enables learners to develop their skills, knowledge and understanding of working in the music technology sector. It is suitable for learners who are motivated by applied learning and learning through hands-on creative experiences related to the work of a performing musician and music technologist.

This Applied General qualification is equivalent in size to an A-level. It is aimed at post-16-year-olds studying a Key Stage 5 curriculum with an interest in creative music production and performance. The qualification has been designed to sit within the Study Programme, alongside A levels and other qualifications. It is appropriate for learners wishing to continue their education through applied learning, equipping them with transferable knowledge and skills whilst giving them the opportunity to respond to contextualised industry briefs. Learners would typically progress onto Higher Education courses following this qualification.

 

What pupils study

This qualification shows learners how to:

  • Operate and effectively use a Digital Audio Workstation (DAW)
  • Understand and experiment with musical elements in different musical styles
  • Undertake recordings and successfully mix and master their audio
  • Create sound for a range of multi-media purposes
  • Manage sound for a live performance
  • Explore revenue and marketing within the digital music business
  • Reflect and build on their subject knowledge

 

What could this qualification lead to?

This qualification fulfils entry requirements for a range of Higher Education courses, either by meeting entry requirements in their own right or by being accepted alongside and adding value to other qualifications at the same level. Degree courses could include: Music Technology; Live Sound Production; Music Production; Creative Music Production; Creative Music Technology; Music Technology and Audio Systems; Music Technology and Popular Music.

Course content:

Unit 1 – Using a Digital Audio Workstation

The Digital Audio Workstation (DAW) has increasingly become the key tool that many muscians and producers use to compose and edit music. In this unit learners will understand underlying technical concepts in context, apply them creatively, and will be able to review their work to gain understanding of the process of music and manipulation using a DAW.

Unit 2 – Creating music

The ability to listen analytically and understand how pieces of music work underpins the techniques used in creating original compositions. In this unit learners will develop the skills to analyse music and use their findings to create their own original compositions. Learners will review their work to gain an understanding of the process of creating a portfolio of music.

Unit 3 – Multi-track audio recording, mixing and mastering

The availability of technology has allowed some areas of the multitrack recording, mixing and mastering process to become more widely accessible, but basic skills in capturing and balancing recorded sound have remained largely unchanged. In this unit the learner will understand technical concepts in context and apply them to a recording project. The learner will review their work to gain understanding of the process of creating a recording from the initial recording session to the final stereo master.

Unit 4 – Sound creation

In this unit learners will study the properties of sound and how sound is theoretically represented, perceived and relates to music. Learners will apply knowledge by creating sampled and synthesized instruments and will be able to review their work.

Unit 5 – Live sound performance technology

In this unit learners will plan and undertake a performance, which makes use of music technology. Leaners will undertake the performance in the role of performer or sound engineer.

Unit 6 – Digital music business

In this unit learners will release an original piece of music digitally. Learners will research ways in which music can be distributed, plan how they will undertake the release, and implement the plan. Learners will review the success of their plan to inform future engagement with the digital music business.

 

External Assessment

The external assessment consists of two exams, which will take place in year 13.

  • Written exam – 2 hours
  • Practical exam – 10 hours

Assessment Summary

Assessment component

Contribution to final grade

Internal assessment (Unit 1-4)

50%

External assessment (Exam – written test)

25%

External assessment (Exam – practical test)

25%

 

 

Pearson BTEC Level 3 Extended Certificate in Performing Arts (single A level equiv.) and the Diploma in Performing Arts (double A level equiv.)

The BTEC National in Performing Arts allows pupils to explore the multi-faceted world of performing arts by educating and training them in a range of skills, techniques and disciplines. The qualification gives them insight into the different career paths that someone interested in the performing arts may want to follow, and can help them progress in an existing career or move on to further study. These aims are met through:

  • Participation in practical workshops covering different disciplines and styles
  • Working individually on research tasks and portfolios and on practical tasks
  • Working as part of a group on practical tasks
  • Theatre trips, visits and workshops

 

COURSE CONTENT

The course consists of mandatory units which students take exams for at selected times of the year. They explore several practitioners through the year, while also developing new skills and techniques which them in performances and aid several other units. For the diploma pupils have more mandatory units and a choice of two optional units to complete.

 

Extended Certificate (360 GLH)

Three MANDATORY units must be completed by the students as seen below:

1. Investigating Practitioners’ Work (90 GLH) Exam
2. Developing Skills and Techniques for Live Performance (90 GLH) Coursework
3. Group Performance Workshop (120 GLH) Exam

 

Learners will also complete one optional unit from the selection below:

18. Interpreting Classical Text for Performance
19. Acting Styles
20. Developing the Voice for Performance
21. Improvisation
22. Movement in Performance
28. Variety Performance


Diploma (720 GLH)

Six MANDATORY must be completed by the students as below:

1. Investigating Practitioners’ Work (90 GLH) Exam
3. Group Performance Workshop (120 GLH)  Exam
5. Individual Performance Commission (120 GLH) Exam
2. Developing Skills and Techniques for Live Performance (90 GLH)  Coursework
4. Performing Arts in the Community (90 GLH) Coursework
6. Final Live Performance to an Audience (90 GLH) Coursework

 

Learners will also complete two optional units from the list below:

16. Writing for Performance
18. Interpreting Classical Text for Performance
19. Acting Styles
20. Developing the Voice for Performance
21. Improvisation
22. Movement in Performance
27. Musical Theatre Techniques
28. Variety Performance
29. Storytelling

Year 13 

In this year pupils develop their skills further and follow on from the work undertaken in the first year of study in either the BTEC Level 3 Extended Certificate in Performing Arts /Diploma in Performing Arts or the NCFE Level 3 Applied General Certificate in Music Technology. Please see the section on Year 12 for more details.

In this final year subject teachers assist pupils with giving advice as to appropriate universities and courses and assist with writing UCAS references for pupils.