Key Stage 3 Music
Welcome to the Blackfen School for Girls Music Department, a growing, vibrant and exciting hub of musical excellence where creativity and skill are nurtured and celebrated.
Our facilities include a state of the art ICT suite, a large recording studio with a separate control booth, an additional smaller recording room, 2 practice rooms, performance classroom and a large performance space with green room and sound and lighting booth, making us one of the biggest and most up to date music departments in the Bexley.
Our aim as a department is to:
- Ensure every student has an equal opportunity to have a valuable musical experience. Every student is to be taken on a musical journey around the world of music and have the chance to engage in different musical cultures
- Help students with previous and current musical experience to grow further, nurturing their skills, adding to their knowledge and skill set with a broad range of music provisions.
- Provide opportunities for students to grow as musicians as well as celebrate their musical achievements through concerts, showcases, talent shows, workshops and trips.
- Ensure that all students understand the different roles within music and their importance within the entertainment field and society at large.
We offer instrumental tuition for a wide range of instruments (from Piano to Trombone to Guitar), numerous bands, choirs, and ICT programmes to join, plus FREE additional support for courses. Extra-curricular experiences include overseas trips, seminars and master classes.
Pupils build on their previous knowledge and skills through performing, composing and listening. They develop their vocal and/or instrumental fluency, accuracy and expressiveness; and understand musical structures, styles, genres and traditions, identifying the expressive use of musical dimensions. They should listen with increasing discrimination and awareness to inform their practice as musicians. They should use technologies appropriately and appreciate and understand a wide range of musical contexts and styles.
Pupils should be taught to:
- Play and perform confidently in a range of solo and ensemble contexts using their voice, playing instruments musically, fluently and with accuracy and expression
- Improvise and compose; and extend and develop musical ideas by drawing on a range of musical structures, styles, genres and traditions
- Use staff and other relevant notations appropriately and accurately in a range of musical styles, genres and traditions
- Identify and use the inter-related dimensions of music expressively and with increasing sophistication, including use of tonalities, different types of scales and other musical devices
- Listen with increasing discrimination to a wide range of music from great composers and musicians develop a deepening understanding of the music that they perform and to which they listen, and its history.
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Exploring Songs & Singing
Everyone is born with an instrument so we will begin by exploring it.. your voice!
Students will learn songs in preparation for a year 7 showcase. During this time, they will explore different voice types -SATB, singing in harmony/unison, singing songs in rounds and explore different vocal textures.
The Elements of Music
The building blocks of music. Students will explore the elements of music. They will explore each one and through listening exercises learn to be able to identify and explain how they affect the music they listen to. Students will also look at how these can be displayed through graphic scores and staff notation.
Rhythm & Pulse
Rhythm, Structure & Form
Students will focus begin to focus on rhythm and how this is written in western notation. Students will learn about time signatures, rhythmic notation and rests and will compose and perform in groups.
Exploring Pitch & Rhythm
Students will take continue exploring musical elements by adding pitch to rhythm. Students will learn how to read notation on both the treble and bass clef and learn to play pieces on pianos.
Instruments of the Orchestra
Exploring Timbre and sonority
This unit develops pupils’ understanding about orchestral instruments and families/sections of orchestral instruments. Pupils are introduced to the modern symphony orchestra and learn about its layout, grouping and the instruments which belong to each section including their individual and characteristic timbres.
Form & Structure
Exploring Binary, Ternary and Rondo form
Pupils begin with an exploration into Question and Answer phrases as one of the simplest types of musical structures, relating this to Call and Response singing and how musical Question and Answer phrases balance with each other to form a complete structure. Binary and Ternary Forms are then explored with an emphasis on how musical contrast is achieved between “A” and “B” sections revising the Elements of Music. Rondo Form is explored as a type of recurring musical structure with pupils adding pentatonic improvisations as “Episodes” between a whole-class “A” section.
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West African Drumming
Exploring cyclic patterns, texture and structure
Pupils will learn about the history of djembe drums and origins of other African percussion and musical genres. Through whole class performances and small ensembles performances, pupils will learn and write their own cyclic patterns.
Feeling the Blues
Exploring Blues music and the 12 bar blues chord
This unit takes pupils on a musical journey to the southern states of America and the influence that Blues music had in the early 1930’s and how Blues music has influenced other genres of music. Pupils will learn how to play the 12 Bar Blues chord sequence and the blues scale to perform in class.
Exploring ways to develop musical ideas
This unit develops pupils’ ability to recognise, explore and make creative use of the elements of music found in variation form. Finally, pupils learn about the concept of Ground Bass, as a type of Variation Form, performing Pachelbel’s “Canon” and composing their own Ground Bass Variations before looking at how Ground Bass has been used in popular songs.
Exploring Reggae & Syncopation
This unit explores reggae music and the culture it comes from. After exploring the origins of reggae music as one of a number of different styles of Caribbean music. Pupils explore the strong and weak beats of the bar, syncopation and the effect that this has on reggae music, before looking at how “fragmented” melodic parts can be used as bass line riffs and melodic hooks.
All That Jazz
Exploring Jazz Improvisation
This unit develops pupils’ understanding of bass lines and chords as a harmonic foundation upon which a melody can be constructed upon and as a foundation for improvisation. Pupils explore Ragtime Music as a type of jazz examining how chords have been used differently in a “vamp” style and then work towards creating their own vamps.
Hooks and Riffs
Hooks and Riffs explores music based on repeated musical patterns through the genres of Popular Music (Hooks and Riffs) and Music from the Western Classical Tradition (Ostinatos).
Students will explore how these are used in different genres and will work on wither performing these live or creating arrangements of these using music production software.
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Repetition, theme and variation, texture and structure
This unit develops pupils’ understanding of polyrhythmic music and contemporary minimalist styles exploring how different polyrhythmic textures and musical conventions are used by minimalist composers including the use of repetitive and changing rhythmic and melodic motifs in different styles of minimalist music. The main focus of this unit is rhythm: cyclic rhythm, polyrhythm and moving in/out of phase and also looks at structure including cyclic structure and motivic transformation. Pupils explore a range of minimalist music including “Clapping Music”, “Tubular Bells” and “Oxygene (Part IV)”.
Film music, compositional devices, musical elements
Pupils will be given the experience of being “film soundtrack composers” and explores the challenges and musical devices used in film soundtrack composition. The unit focuses on three genres of film soundtrack: Action/Thriller Soundtracks, ‘Western’ Soundtracks and “Horror Movie” Soundtracks. Pupils will learn about leitmotifs and how they have been used to represent characters and situations. The will also look at other compositional devices and techniques working towards creating a piece of music for a film trailer.
Battle of the bands 1
Playing in an ensemble, listening skills
All pupils will work through different musical stations where they will learn the basics of each of the band instruments – electric guitar, drum kit, bass guitar, vocals and keyboard. Once they have gone around these different stations they will then form bands and learn a pop song to perform to the class learning and developing their own instrumental skills but also ensemble music skills.
4 chord song, chord sequence
Pupils explore the genre of popular song, learning how different artists and groups have created different musical arrangements of the same song. Pupils learn about different musical devices used in popular songs including how the different structural elements are sequenced horizontally to produce the classic form of a popular song, as well as how different textural layers combine vertically showing awareness of the different parts used in a popular song. Pupils explore hooks and riffs and learn about their function within popular songs.
Battle of the bands 2
Playing in an ensemble, listening skills
Pupils will build upon their experiences from their previous BOB sessions and work on towards a lunchtime concert battle of the bands… Who will be victorious and be crowned the winner?
Chord sequence, music technology
Pupils will draw on skills they have learned from previous terms to create their own songs. Pupils have the choice of using live instruments or using music technology to create their songs. Once completed, all songs created will be uploaded t our SoundCloud account.
GCSE Music (Eduqas/WJEC)
Why should I choose Music?
Music is a fun, rewarding and inclusive course to study at GCSE, but it can also be very challenging. It is a
subject that any student can study, whether you play the piano, guitar or sing. It can also appeal to
rappers, drummers, beat-boxers and those who enjoy mixing samples with sequencing software. The
course teaches you skills such as teamwork, listening, problem-solving, creativity and communication skills,
which are transferable and useful in all subjects and future careers.
What will I study?
The course is divided into four areas of study: -
AoS1: Musical Form and Structure – you will learn how a composer structures their music by studying
examples from classical and popular genres.
AoS2: Music for Ensemble - You will learn all about music written for groups of musicians, from string
quartets to musical theatre and rock n roll bands.
AoS3: Film Music – You will learn how composers use music to describe the acting and affect emotion and
atmosphere in film music. We will study famous movie soundtracks such as Star Wars and The Dark
Knight, and you will compose your own music for these movies.
AoS4: Pop Music – you will experience an eclectic mix of popular music, from rock n roll to bhangra and
How will I be assessed?
Performing (30%) – You will be assessed on your chosen instrument, performing on your instrument or
voice, or you can use sequencing packages such as GarageBand or Logic.
Composing (30%) – You will compose two different compositions throughout the course.
Listening & Appraising (40%) – you will complete a listening exam testing you on your understanding and
How will GCSE Music benefit me in the future?
Music gives you an edge over many candidates in the job market, as well as UCAS university applications,
as you will be able to offer skills and experiences that employers are looking for. You will be creative,
communicative, expressive individuals, all of which are extremely attractive to employers.
Which careers can I access with GCSE Music?
You can access careers in the Music Industry, but also Business Management, Broadcasting, Teaching and Arts Management.