Mrs R Maisey - Director of Music
Mr M Brimson
The Music Department at Astor College is a lively place to be with a busy schedule of performances throughout the year and rehearsals and activities weekly directed by Miss Aimi with the support of Mr Brimson teaching key stage 3 music and peripatetic teachers Mr Ashley Smith and Mr Lewis Boosey.
Music within the curriculum focusses on three key areas of performing, composing and appraising and at Astor we develop these skills by exploring a wide range of musical styles at key stage 3 inclusive of African drumming and singing, Reggae performance and composition, Blues improvisation and performance, popular song writing, Appraising and performing Folk music and also via our exciting ‘Musical Futures’ units where students are given the opportunity to learn guitar, drums, piano and voice in group situations developing skills, independence and team work.
The main teaching room is located next to the White Cliffs Theatre and is fitted with 14 computer work stations that run the music software program Cubase Essentials, which is used a great deal to enhance ICT skills and also develop composition skills. It has been particularly successful is assisting students gain higher marks through experimentation with their own ideas in their own time. There is a midi control keyboard connected to each work station and we work on developing piano skills gradually throughout key stage 3. Also throughout key stage 3 there is a wide range of percussion in use including genuine African drums and samba percussion and there is also a great deal of acoustic guitar use.
Students who choose to take music further beyond key stage 3 study GCSE Music with the exam board AQA. The course focuses on 5 areas of study that are based on the elements of music learnt at key stage 3. Students are required to complete the following units:
1) Listening to and appraising Music Exam worth 20% of the total marks. The exam tests your knowledge of the three strands Western Classical Music, Popular Music of the 20th and 21st Centuries and World Music.
2) Composing and Appraising Music worth 20% of the total marks. Candidates must submit a composition based on the strand set by the board each year and then appraise the whole process of the composition in a 2 hour written paper under controlled assessment conditions.
3) Performing Music worth 40% of the total marks inclusive of one solo performance and one ensemble performance.
4) Composing Music worth 20% of the total marks and can be in any chosen style.
Students are required to practice their chosen instrument or voice on a regular basis in their own time and many have tuition to aid with their development outside of lesson time.
Students who achieve a C grade or above at GCSE or equivalent qualification can choose to study music further in the 6th form. Students follow the Edexcel BTEC Music Performance Level 3 course and after 2 years achieve a Subsidiary Diploma in Music Performance equivalent to 1 A level. If students study the course for 1 year only then they can achieve a Certificate in Music Performance equivalent to 1 AS level. It is a very exciting course and the students are passionate about all the performance opportunities that they receive. Units are chosen each year depending on the individuals who opt to take the course, however below is an example of the content covered:
1) Unit 23: Music Performance Techniques (Mandatory)
2) Unit 40: Working and Developing as a Musical Ensemble
3) Unit 30: Pop Music in Practice
4) Unit 33: Solo Music Performance Skills
5) Unit 24: Music Project
6) Unit 28: Musical Theatre
More information can be found by following this link: http://www.edexcel.com/quals/nationals10/music/Pages/default.aspx