All girls from Year 7 to Year 9 receive one hour of class-based music teaching each week as part of an enquiry based curriculum. In these sessions we aim to give girls a secure grounding in the skills of listening, analysis and composition that they will need if they decide to opt for music GCSE in Year 10.
In the classroom this is done through singing and playing, composing and listening using a variety of traditional and multi-media approaches including composition software. Opportunities for self-directed study outside the classroom include membership of Theta Music with the challenge to become an International Theta Black Belt. This is an interactive online resource which develops aural ability as well as knowledge and understanding. It will support the co-curricular side of music helping to forge links between the classroom and individual lessons, choirs and ensembles.
Year 7 (IV)
In the IV girls begin their Benenden Diploma. They respond to a variety of questions such as “what is the biggest piece of music I’ve experienced?” and “how can I express my individuality through a musical self-portrait?” following in the footsteps of well-known 19th Century Romantic composers. Girls explore the building blocks of music in order to express their responses to music in articulate and imaginative ways, both traditional and non-traditional.
Year 8 (UIV)
Continuing into the second year of the Benenden Diploma, the UIV girls explore ideas such as “was the teenager a 1950s invention?” and “Vivaldi’s got talent!” We move on to look at intervals, chord sequences and music with more complex rhythms. Practical tasks are varied - from performing a 1950s DooWop classic track to composing in styles as diverse as Baroque dances to Folk Jigs and Reels.
Year 9 (LV)
In the LV the music is aimed at engaging the young music enthusiast, whilst signposting ahead to GCSE with projects such as Instrumental Music 1700–1820, Vocal Music (including popular song), Music for Stage and Screen, Dance Music and Fusions. Questions this year include “Would Queen Elizabeth have danced the Macarena?” “Is it ‘ok’ to steal music?” and “How does a great film soundtrack communicate with its audience?”
Each set of eight lessons provides girls with the opportunity to perform, compose and find out more about music from within that area of study, leading to an informed understanding of what is required if they choose to carry on to GCSE level.
Years 10 and 11 (V and UV)
We follow Edexcel’s GCSE course with two hours allocated each week to preparing compositions and working towards the final listening paper. We expect girls to discuss the requirements of the Performance paper with their instrumental/singing teachers. In order to build up the necessary portfolio, girls should aim to perform once a term over the two years in the Friday Lunchtime Concert series, an approach which enables us to monitor each girl’s progress very effectively.
Years 12 and 13 (VI1 and VI2)
We also follow the Edexcel AS and A2 music courses with five hours allocated to the course each week. Class sizes at this advanced level are normally quite small, enabling us to offer a great deal of one to one support to each student as they refine and develop their individual musical identities.
If your daughter is approaching Grade 4 or 5, she may wish to take advantage of extra music theory lessons. These prepare students for success in the ABRSM Grade 5 Theory exam which needs to be passed in order to progress to the higher practical grades. Girls have a choice of attending the free lunchtime clinics, or they can sign up for individual or paired lessons which carry a modest charge.