The Music Department plays an important part in working toward the aims of the school. In accordance with the school’s stated aims Music Education strives to:
- develop the full potential of all students
- develop pride in achievements in an atmosphere which encourages respect for one another
- provide appropriate and varied challenges for all.
Above all, the Music Department aims to encourage creativity through a musical education which is broad and varied, encompassing music of many styles, periods and genres.
The Music Department is housed in the Charles Read Music Suite which was built in 1993. This purpose-built accommodation consists of a main teaching room for whole class teaching, an ensemble room with Bechstein grand piano and four tutorial rooms for individual and small group work.
In all music lessons at Queen Elizabeth's pupils are encouraged to explore the expressiveness and spirituality of music through listening and appraising, composing and performing. It is the aim of the department to help every pupil to develop his or her musical ability by providing a broad range of activities. Work done in the classroom and in extra-curricular groups is drawn upon for school assemblies. Also, concerts and musical productions are performed to members of the public both at the school and at other venues in the community.
Key Stage 3
All pupils will be introduced to the skills and knowledge of music as outlined in the programmes of study in the National Curriculum for music. Teaching will ensure that areas of listening and applying knowledge and understanding are developed through the following skills:
- performing skills - controlling sounds through singing and playing
- composing skills - creating and developing musical ideas
- appraising skills - responding and reviewing music by listening and applying knowledge and understanding.
During the key stage, pupils will be taught the knowledge, skills and understanding of music through:
- a range of musical activities that combine performing, composing and appraising
- responding to a range of musical and non-musical starting points
- working on their own, in groups of different sizes and as a class
- using ICT to create, manipulate and refine sounds
- a range of live and recorded music from different times and cultures including music from the British Isles, the 'Western classical' tradition, folk, jazz and popular genres, and by well-known composers and performers.
Key Stage 4
The course studied is the Edexcel GCSE Music. It is designed to offer candidates opportunities to develop their knowledge, understanding and skills in Performing, Composing, Listening and Appraising.
There is considerable flexibility in the course, allowing candidates to follow their own musical interests and aptitudes, including popular as well as classical styles.
The aims of the course are:
- To give candidates opportunities to develop their understanding and appreciation of a range of different kinds of music, extend their own interests and increase their own ability to make judgments about music quality
- To give candidates opportunities to gain the knowledge, skills and understanding needed to:
- Make music both individually and in groups
- Develop a lifelong interest in music
- Progress to further study
All candidates will be assessed on their performance on the instrument of their choice (including voice). They will be expected to develop their skills in playing or singing, showing technical control and good interpretation.
Candidates will produce a folio of compositions. Each of these will be based upon a brief provided by the teacher.
Listening and appraising
Candidates study a series of twelve set works, developing their understanding of musical history and technical aspects of music. It is expected that knowledge gained in this area will provide a stimulus for composing and performing.
In Years 12 and 13 students are prepared for the Edexcel A level in music. As with GCSE, there is considerable potential for students to develop skills in their own preferred style of music, and there is the opportunity to explore new, exciting areas. The units of work are as follows:
The Advanced Subsidiary GCE
Unit 1: Performing (30% AS 15% A2)
This unit gives students the opportunities to perform as soloists and/or as part of an ensemble. Teachers and students can choose music in any style. Any instrument(s) and/or voice(s) are acceptable as part of a five-six minute assessed performance. Notated and/or improvised performances may be submitted.
Unit 2: Composing (30% AS, 15% A2)
This unit encourages students to develop their composition skills leading to the creation of a three-minute piece in response to a chosen brief. Students also write a CD sleeve note to describe aspects of their final composition and explain how other pieces of music have influenced it.
Unit 3: Developing Musical Understanding (40% AS, 20% A2)
This unit focuses on listening to familiar music and understanding how it works. Set works from the anthology provide the focus for the first two sections, through listening and studying scores. It is recommended that students familiarise themselves with each work as a whole, before learning how to identify important musical features and social and historical context. In the third section, students use a score to identify harmonic and tonal features and then apply this knowledge in the completion of a short and simple passage for SATB.
For students who opt to continue their studies in music in Year 13 the requirements are as follows:
The full Advanced GCE qualification consists of the AS units plus three more studied at a higher level. These are:
Unit 4: Extended performance (15% A2)
This unit gives students with opportunities to extend their performance skills as soloists and/or as part of an ensemble. Teachers and students can choose music in any style. Any instrument(s) and/or voice(s) are acceptable as part of a 12-15 minute assessed performance of a balanced programme of music. Notated and/or improvised performances may be submitted.
Unit 5: Composition and technical study (15% A2)
This unit has two sections: composition and technical study. The composition section further develops students’ composition skills, leading to the creation of a final three minute piece in response to a chosen brief. The technical study section builds on the knowledge and awareness of harmony gained in Unit 3 section C through the medium of pastiche studies. Students must complete two tasks in this unit choosing from either:
one composition and one technical study or two compositions or two technical studies.
Unit 6: Further musical understanding (20% A2)
This unit focuses on listening to music, familiar and unfamiliar, and understanding how it works. Set works from the anthology provide the focus for much of the unit. It is recommended that students familiarise themselves with each work as a whole, before concentrating on important musical features, context and/or elements of continuity and change. Between works students should also listen to a wide range of unfamiliar music which relates to the two compulsory areas of study. They should learn how to compare and contrast pairs of excerpts, contextualise music and identify harmonic and tonal features.
Tuition is offered in singing, piano and orchestral stringed, woodwind and brass instruments to those pupils who show the required potential. Queen Elizabeth's is a major contributor of members of the Lincolnshire Youth Orchestras, Band and Choir.
Parents are required to make a contribution of £85 payable three times a year for lessons (in September, January and April), though in cases of financial hardship parents may apply to pay in smaller instalments or contribute a reduced amount.
Pupils are expected to join the school orchestra and brass, string or woodwind group when they reach the appropriate standard – this is a condition of receiving instrumental tuition in school. They are encouraged to take examinations of the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music.
Music groups and clubs
The school has its own orchestra, jazz band and also separate string, woodwind and brass groups. There are, in addition, recorder and handbell clubs. Vocal music is strong at Queen Elizabeth's, there are junior, senior and chamber choirs.
The Music Department has an important public relations role. Concerts are given both in school and at various venues in the local community. It has a particularly good reputation for the quality of its Christmas Carol Concerts and productions of stage musicals and light opera.
All music classes are taught by the Subject Leader for Music Mr S Wray