Music

Welcome to the Music Department! We are a thriving Department, offering music activities for all.

We offer individual instrumental lessons in a variety of styles. From all the orchestral instruments including the harp, to Rock guitar and bass. Musical Theatre vocal studies to classical and operatic styles. One of our most popular instruments is the classical guitar.

We have a busy extra curricula program of events from large scale events such as our Summer Music Festival ‘Cadence’ and our traditional Christmas candle lit concert at Cheltenham College Chapel; to smaller teatime concerts giving pupils the chance to learn to perform or perfect their exam pieces. We believe in encouraging all pupils of every musical taste to get involved and thrive.

In the curriculum, pupils study music as part of Performing Arts in Year 7. In Year 8 and 9 pupils rotate between Music and Drama every half term. In the Music curriculum we cover a variety of topics and skills. Throughout the three years in Key Stage 3, pupils learn piano, ukulele, singing and to use tuned and un-tuned percussion. Composition, listening and analysis are also a major part of curriculum allowing pupils to write their own music and understand the pieces of others. These skills all lead forward into supporting GCSE level and A level.

Pupils are assessed on skills in the following areas: Composing, Listening, Apprising and Performing.

In Year 7, pupils study musical notation starting with using graphic score before moving onto topics covering traditional notation. We try to make these topics fun and engaging, so create raps and potions as the witches to learn rhythmic notation. We have topics on Charlie and the Chocolate factory where we learn pieces from the films helping to develop notation reading and keyboard skills. Within each year group we also cover music from around the world. In Year 7 we cover Indonesian Gamelan learning about the culture and instruments, structure and texture, whilst developing our ensemble skills as a whole class and in smaller groups. We compose using pentatonic and major scales and perform these pieces along with our own shadow puppet shows. We extended pupils knowledge of the world, looking at Chinese and Indian music too.

In Year 8 we start the year with African drumming, Blues and Reggae. Here we develop our understanding of rhythm to include more complicated ideas. We also discover controlling harmony both in performance and in composition. The Jewish Jazz style, Klezmer, is our next port of call around the world. It combines skills in improvisation, rhythm, fluidity of performance, modes and more unusual scales. In our final topic we look at Instruments of the orchestra. Pupils have to opportunity to try instruments from each of the four families, learn their individual sounds and typical styles and pieces they perform. We continue to work on our keyboard and notation skills though out the year.

In Year 9 we have split the curriculum into the three units that are studied at GCSE. This allows pupils to understand how each of these skills will be assessed at GCSE and the standards they need to work toward. In the first term we look at using our musical terminology for more detailed and extended analysis of music in a variety of styles, from classical to popular. We look at more extended music theory that we can find out from scores. Pupils tackle famous classical pieces on keyboard to develop their playing techniques. In our second topic we look at the skills of composing; taking chord sequences and learning how to create a melody from these; film composition; and instrumental capabilities. In our final topic pupils produce an ensemble performance from a selection of pieces. They can use the skills they have developed in curriculum or from their own instrumental lessons. We perform these to their peers and mark them using the GCSE mark scheme.

Ways to Revise Music

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Ways you can support your child with GCSE music revision

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Music Groups and Events

We have various groups in school that pupils are encouraged to take part in. All held in late lunch at 1.30 pm.

Monday – Choir

Tuesday – Lower School Choir (starting Sept 2019)

Thursday – String Group, Chamber Choir and Wind Group

Friday – Saxophone Group

Choir and Chamber Choir run in late lunches on Monday and Thursday by Miss Fifield. There are 60+ pupils from various year groups who perform in Choir singing at various school events. The Choir is a drop in session but we like regular attendance to qualify to perform in concerts

Chamber Choir is by invitation only and is a mixed voices choir who tackle music written for up to 8 parts, both accompanied and unaccompanied. They perform at school events, and external events such as being invited to perform at premiers of new music.

Since 2016 the Orchestra has grown rapidly, performing arrangements of both classical and pop music. It is headed by Miss Thomas who runs workshops in the lead up to performances/ events. Pupils are generally Grade 4+ and auditions to join Orchestra are held at the beginning of each school year.

Run by Mrs White our Cello Teacher. It is a small group incorporating violin, viola and cello. We cover music from the string quartet and string orchestra repertoire. Music is arranged especially for the group.  We welcome pupils from Grade 4 upwards.

Run by Mr Adlington and runs each Friday in late lunch. We explore many styles of saxophone ensemble music with parts suitable for all abilities. The group is open to all Saxophonists.

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Instrumental Lessons available in School

We offer a variety of instruments to learn in school by a dedicated team of Peripatetic Music Teachers. We can offer lessons in:

Cello, Clarinet, Classical Guitar, Double Bass, Drum Kit, Electric Bass, Electronic Keyboard, Flute, Harp, Piano, Rock Guitar, Saxophone, Theory of Music, Trombone, Trumpet, Violin, Vocal Tuition

Lessons are £16 per 30 minute lesson and are taught during the school day. Lessons are timetabled on rotation, so pupils don’t miss the same lesson each week. Please see attached letter for further information and an application form.

Application - Instrumental Lessons

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Concerts, Events and Trips

Our Christmas concerts are a lovely festive end to the term. We hold 2 concerts in the local area. This year we will be performing at Bourton Church with a lower school emphasis and in Cheltenham with an upper school emphasis.

We hold three small tea time concerts in November, March and June at 5 pm in the Music Department. These concerts are an opportunity to perform in front of a small audience. We also provide tea and biscuits.

These are offered to pupils having instrumental lessons in school but please put your name forward to Mrs Powell, musicadmin@thecotswoldschool.co.uk if you are learning an instrument outside school and wish to take part.

We hold an Annual concert at the Church of St Mary Magdalene in Sherborne just before we break up for the Easter Holiday. This is a lovely event showcasing Choir, Chamber Choir, Orchestra, Wind Group, String Group, guitar and selected soloists.

We hold a musical production with the Drama Department in November each year. Previous performances have been Mary Poppins, Into the Woods, Billy Elliott. We are currently working towards Sister Act.

Every year we rotate our UK and Overseas trips. We hold a London Music/Drama Trip before Easter and an overseas Music Tour in July. We are currently planning our Music Tour to Prague in 2020, previous Music Tours have been to Lake Garda and Norway.