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Music

Introduction

Music is an integral part of school life at St Benedict’s. We aim to foster an approach of independent learning and practice through the study of performance, composition and critical analysis. Through the study of musical history and form, pupils have the opportunity to discover the wider context and origins of different genres of music.  

Weekly individual instrumental and voice lessons are offered by a team of specialist visiting music teachers, and opportunities abound for solo and ensemble performance. Co-curricular groups include School Orchestra, String Group, Wind Band, Concert Choir, Percussion Ensemble, Guitar group, and many others. Pupils are encouraged to form their own bands and ensembles with the full support of the Music Department.

Formal and informal concerts take place throughout the year both within school and at public venues such as Ealing Abbey and St John’s, Smith Square. Recent major concerts include Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana, Fauré’s Requiem, Harvey Brough’s Requiem in Blue (2014) and Mozart’s Requiem. The Music Department is currently involved in a long-term partnership with the professional ensemble Voces 8, providing workshop, leadership and performance opportunities for pupils of all ages, including the Junior School.

Form 3 to Upper 4th(years 7 to 9)

Music is part of the curriculum, and pupils develop their performance, composition and analysis skills through the study of a wide range of topics, such as Jazz/Blues, Film Music, Reggae, Samba and Programme Music. There are many opportunities for composition using both Sibelius and Mixcraft software, and pupils gain vital skills required to compose successful pieces of music which demonstrate strong melodic, structural and harmonic content. During these Middle School years pupils are encouraged to engage in the many ensembles on offer as well as embracing opportunities for extended study.

GCSE

Approximately 25-35 pupils study Music at GCSE, following the Edexcel syllabus. The course content is divided into Solo and Ensemble Performance (30%), Composition (30%) and Appraising (40%). Areas of Study are divided into Instrumental Music, Vocal Music, Music for Stage and Screen and Fusions. The study of these genres gives pupils the opportunity to reflect on, analyse and evaluate music using their knowledge and understanding of musical elements, musical contexts and musical language. This will enable them to make critical judgements about the repertoire and context of music within each area of study.

A level

As part of the Edexcel A level course, students will learn the musical elements, context and language in depth through the six compulsory areas of study, each of which consist of three set works and wider listening pieces. As with GCSE, there is also a performance element (30%) and a composition unit (30%).

The study of set works form a selection of genres (Music for Film, Popular Music and Jazz, Fusions, New Directions) give students a focus to demonstrate in-depth knowledge, understanding and

skills. These set works will facilitate development of students’ knowledge and understanding of musical elements, context and language in depth. Students benefit from frequent visits to recitals and concerts, as well as masterclasses and talks from prominent musicians.