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Music (GCSE)

Year 11 Music

Guidance for parents

What will students be learning in Music this year?

Students will analyse the remaining three of the eight set works required for the Appraising exam.  In addition, students will study other pieces of music related to these set works, which will act as preparation for analysing unfamiliar music which is required in the exam. They will continue to practice their skills at writing comparison essays between different music. Students will learn how to apply the composition skills they learnt in year 10 to the year 11 composition briefs set by the exam board. Students will continue to make recordings for the performing component, responding to the feedback that they have been given, and select the recordings they will submit as part of their coursework portfolio.

Expectations of students in Music

In year 11, students will have two periods of Music a week. Students will learn the skills to listen and appraise music independently in one of these lessons. In the other, students will learn composition skills, using Sibelius notation software. Students are expected to continue to complete the majority of their performance work independently with their instrumental teachers. Students should supply a folder and dividers in which to keep their work organised. They will receive regular homework which they will be expected to complete on time. Any feedback given to students should be acted upon.  Students should listen to as much unfamiliar music as they can in their own time (at least one piece a week) and practice completing an aural analysis for each using the methods learnt in class. Furthermore, students should take part in one extra-curricular musical activity in school each week to develop their musicianship skills.

What are the major assessments this year?

At the end of each unit, students will be assessed on their understanding through a short listening test based on the set work and a related piece of unfamiliar music. Students will also be set an essay question once analysis for each set work has been completed. Students will complete solo and ensemble performances throughout the year, which are recorded and kept in the department.  Students will also be expected to have completed a draft of their composition to a set brief by the end of the Autumn term. Students will receive verbal and written feedback on their work throughout the year.

During the Autumn term, students will sit a full Music GCSE mock exam.

What will the current performance grade be based on?

The current performance grade will be based on a combination of performance and composition work completed so far in the year, alongside their mock exam and any other past exam papers completed.

What should my daughter do if she feels she is struggling in the subject?

Your daughter should speak to her Music teacher as soon as possible if she feels like she is struggling. A discussion between the teacher and student will result in a decision about the best way in which the department can support her work in the subject. She may be offered supporting activities and additional reading to help her understanding of a topic, or small group support during a lunch time. She could also be paired with a sixth form student subject leader who will be able to support her on a more long term basis having had the benefit of doing the GCSE exam already.  There are also a huge amount of resources that the Music department have put onto the year 10 and 11 Music Moodle pages, so she should also look there to see if there is anything that might help her. Remember, it is a normal part of the learning process to experience difficulties sometimes. Above all, don't give up!

How can I support my daughter in Year 11?

Taking an interest in what she is doing and showing that you value what she is learning makes a tremendous difference.

Encourage her to practise her musical instrument every day and ensure she is having ongoing conversations with her instrumental teacher about the music she is going to play for her GCSE recordings. Information is given to students at the beginning of year 10 and again in year 11 which is designed to be taken to their instrumental teacher so they are also aware of the exam board requirements. This information should help guide a conversation about appropriate repertoire choices, especially regarding the difficulty and lengths of pieces. The department advises against taking additional graded instrumental examinations in year 11 so their focus is on their GCSE performance work, but of course this is always dependent on the individual.

Students should make sure they are regularly listening to recordings of all the set works that they are studying in class to increase their familiarity with particular extracts. Students should be encouraged to listen to unfamiliar music, whether it be those suggested to them by their teacher or independently finding and listening to other pieces themselves that link to the areas of study. Putting Radio 3 on in the car is an excellent place to start!

To help develop composing skills, students should be encouraged to complete short composition tasks independently at their instrument – composing is a skill that students need to practice just as much as performing. Students should be encouraged to complete homework in a quiet area of the home without the distractions of siblings, television or mobile phones/tablets.  It is vital that all homework is handed in on time and presented to a high level.

Helpful/interesting websites:

Whom can I contact for further advice and information?

Please feel free to contact the Head of Music at music@newsteadwood.co.uk if you have any queries about your daughter’s progress in Music.

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