To date, most pupils in the Secondary Department have one classroom music lesson each week. The work covered follows the guidelines within the National Curriculum and is taught in ½ term blocks. The Programme of Study ensures that pupils “build on their previous knowledge and skills through performing, composing and listening” (The National Curriculum for England 2014).
Topics would include:
- Inter-related Musical Dimensions (previously known as the musical elements)
- Beat, Pulse and Rhythm
- Tuned/Non-tuned Percussion Instruments
- Ostinato/Ground Bass
- Keyboard skills
- Preparation and rehearsal for Young Voices
- Preparation and rehearsal for Christmas Concert
It has been a conscious decision of the Music Department not to include a regular programme of written work but instead we positively use all lesson time involved in some kind of practical music making activity in which all contributions are valued equally on merit. Over the years, this approach has created a very safe environment for pupils to explore and experiment, independently wherever possible, without the worry of being graded against others.
To date, we have 3 peripatetic teachers visiting each week providing instrumental lessons in Woodwind, Keyboard and Singing, and recently we have had a number of pupils that have achieved certificates/awards and had opportunities to perform at Symphony Hall and the Town Hall.
In-line with many other schools, there is a charge made to parents for these extra-curricular lessons.
Over the school year, the Music Department endeavours to provide both small and large scale performance opportunities, including a Christmas Concert involving all students and occasional themed, cross-phase performances. Outside of school, we have been taking part in the “Young Voices” concerts for over 20 years, we regularly organise trips to concerts and we have a very healthy relationship with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and Symphony Hall.
There have also been many projects we have taken part in as a result of these connections where the pupils have benefited from working alongside professional musicians/artists. We have also enjoyed a number of professional performances within school, including small ensembles from the CBSO and Live Music Now.
Some of our own pupils have taken part in high-profile concerts including the Special Schools Cluster Concert at the Midlands Art Centre, the Music of Life Celebration Concert at Birmingham Town Hall and The Birmingham Music Service Gala Concert at Symphony Hall.
A high-quality music education should engage and inspire pupils to develop a love of music and their talent as musicians, and so increase their self-confidence, creativity and sense of achievement. (The National Curriculum for England 2014).