Key Stage 3
In music at Key Stage 3, pupils develop the skills, knowledge and understanding required to be a musician, through a series of practical units built around themes as diverse as The Beatles, Folksong, Music for Advertisements and Coldplay. A firm understanding of the standard conventions of staff notation underpins all of the practical work undertaken, and pupils learn to apply this to instrumental performance focusing on graded keyboard work. Singing is an important aspect of music at Key Stage 3 and all pupils take part in singing activities throughout the year, with regular whole-year group singing in worship. The skills which pupils develop in Key Stage 3 are designed to enable them to continue their study at Key Stage 4 without necessarily needing to have had private instrumental lessons (although many do).
Key Stage 5
The Edexcel Advanced GCE in Music is a stimulating and enriching course. As with GCSE, students will experience the three key areas of performance, composition and appraisal. 60% of the course is based on practical controlled assessment, much of which is internally marked; the remaining 40% is based on a written examination at the end of each year which focuses on a series of set works from a variety of musical styles, genres and cultures.
The full GCE course is excellent preparation for higher education courses in music, but is equally valuable for non-specialists as a second or third area of study. The AS units alone offer a broad and satisfying experience for those who want to conclude their musical studies at this point. For those wishing to develop their skills further, the full A level qualification can lead to a wide range of careers in performance, composition, primary and secondary teaching, music therapy, publishing, promotion and marketing, journalism, and many other areas associated with the music industry.
Throughout the course you will develop skills as a performer (leading to a recital at the end of each year) and composer (composing to a brief and technical studies). Listening skills are focused on through the study of familiar and unfamiliar music, and understanding how it works.