Music is the only international language that needs no translation.
Music is a thriving department that focuses on the development of practical skills in order for music making to be at the centre. Students require independence and resilience in order to develop these skills as well as the ability to work collaboratively so as to benefit from the enjoyment that comes from making music as part of an ensemble.
Creativity is at the heart of the curriculum with students having the opportunity to discover through listening how music across all genres and cultures is a powerful means of communication. Students will also explore how they themselves can create and use music to portray their feelings and opinions.
‘Music puts everything you wish you could say into words and melody, and takes the moments you’ll never forget and makes them permanent’ (Stephen Gomez)
Year 7 and 8: Key Stage 3
Students have a weekly music lesson in both year 7 and year 8. Over the two years, the foci are very much the development of practical instrumental skills and class singing. Students are encouraged to perform regularly to their peers in order to gain confidence and presentation skills. Students will sing, learn to read music notation and will focus primarily on keyboard, ukulele, guitar and drumming skills with a wide range of musical genre based topics including: The Blues, Reggae, Film Music and World Music.
Year 9: Option subject
Students who choose to continue to study music in year 9 have three lessons per fortnight. Over the year students continue to work on their performance skills as well as developing composition and listening skills further in preparation for GCSE music. Music theory also features as an important preparation tool for further study.
GCSE Music is an option subject. The course is divided up into three units: Unit 1 Performing (30%) requires students to perform both as a solo and as port of an ensemble. Unit 2 Composing (30%) culminates in the students creating two original compositions for instruments/voices of their choice. Unit 3 Appraising (40%) involves the study of eight set works of varying musical styles ranging from Classical Music to Musical Theatre to Fusion Music. The students’ knowledge and understanding of these set works as well as other related music is tested in a written exam at the end of year 11.
A Level: AQA
This is a highly challenging and demanding A Level option and one that pushes students to develop the three assessed skill areas from GCSE (Performing, Composing, Listening). Students again have the opportunity to demonstrate their practical skills on their chosen instrument(s) whilst also composing in response to a chosen brief. The musical analysis of set works and unseen harmony requires a thorough understanding of music notation and theory.
Progression and Career Opportunities
Following A Level music, students may wish to continue studying music at Music College or University, though students are by no means restricted in only being able to use this qualification for further music based study. A Level music is an academic qualification respected highly by all universities. In addition, the ability to present yourself confidently and communicate with others expressively as demonstrated regularly as a performer are skills that are transferable to any further education or employment environment. Most recent A Level music students at Longbenton High School have been extremely successful and have gone on to study Composition (Royal Northern College of Music, Manchester), Medicine (King’s College London), Maths (Leeds University), Midwifery (Middlesex University), Musician Actor Performance (Mountview Theatre Arts, London), Musical Theatre (Chichester University) and Music (Newcastle University).
A rich extra-curricular music programme is undoubtedly of equal importance to an inclusive and challenging curriculum. Providing students with opportunities to extend and develop their skills beyond the classroom is vital and is a very powerful tool in fostering a sense of belonging and team work as well as important life skills such as commitment. Within the department, clubs include: Junior Choir, Senior Choir, Guitar Legends and Orchestra as well as the tutoring of individual rock bands. There are a number of significant performance opportunities during the course of the year including the Christmas Carol Service, Christmas Concert, the Pyramid Schools’ Music Festival and the annual musical which is performed at the Whitley Bay Playhouse. It is our aim to provide a wide ranging programme that encourages as much involvement as possible. We operate an open door policy whereby students are welcomed and encouraged to rehearse at lunchtime or after school in the department. Similarly, additional help beyond timetabled lessons is always available for GCSE and A Level students as required.