Archive for the ‘Music Curriculum’ Category

Key Stage 3 Curriculum Mapping – Skills Over Content

May 31, 2013 Leave a comment

Having read a wide variety of articles around skills over content I have taken a look at redrafting and changing area’s of the Key Stage 3 Curriculum offered in the Performing Arts Department I lead. We have completely refreshed the curriculum this year and rather comfortingly only a few tweaks were needed.

Unit 1 – Vocal Coaching. (was singing) If your learning how to vocal coach you do it through singing. Therefore why not put the emphasis on being able to coach others. This also boosts independence

Unit 2 – Composing Soundscapes. This was introduced by my colleague last year and was by far my favourite thing to teach this year for music. I loved it. It’s quite a learning how to represent a particular acoustic environment using whatever you can find in a music room. We do storms, bus stops, the city, the forest.

Unit 3 – Staging Drama. We mix drama and music up at key stage 3 in order to more fully prepare learners for key stage 4 drama if they opt for it. It was also a strategy to boost numbers at key stage 4 which gave us our first ever key stage 4 drama class this year – 20 strong! It’s quite a skill coming up with a scene and then changing it if it’s going to be performed in the round, or on a proscenium arch stage. It also instantly helps bring to the forefront – face the audience not the action!

Unit 4 – Ensemble Performance. This used to be Samba but I’ve changed the name to represent the skill pupils learn. The skill is to stay in time and hit the drum and the right time. To not get faster. Then the skill is to take this a compose their own rhythmic piece on chairs. Can they all lead a whole class ensemble? Can they follow while playing in a whole class ensemble?

Unit 5 – Creating a Character. How to use stereotypes to create a character that the audience has a feeling towards. What stereotypes to ignore. Who are they? What do they do? Why do they do it?

Unit 6 – Guitar Skills. What is strumming. What are the patterns. Think of this as a one to one guitar lesson. Except it’s 30 to 1, they share guitars and test each other to see it they’re right. They also learn how to act as each other’s peri.

Unit 7 – Improvisation (Music). I’ve done Blues to death. 12 Bar Blues. Walking Bass Line with a Riff and Fill and then always ran out of time to do the improvisation at the end because we always seem to miss lessons. So let’s spin it around and do the improvisation first. If I treat the WBL or chordal riff as just a supportive after thought hopefully the kids will and instead of 2 weeks it may only take one. It’s not that hard after all!

Unit 8 – In at the deep end (Pop). Pupils learn to listen to pop music, independently seek out how to play the chords on whatever instruments they want and put it together while I play Candy Crush. (The last bit may be a little exaggeration but the point is THEY do it and NOT ME)Here’s another school’s results –

Unit 9 – Improvisation (Drama). Think Whose Line Is It Anyway. Brilliant fun. No content planned just skills practised with a lot of laughter and a flip cam/ipad to capture it all and allow pupils to instantly watch it back.

Unit 10 – In At The Deep End (Classical) – Pupils pick a piece and then learn it by ear. They either download the differentiated examples themselves or you have them available on a laptop/mobile device/tablet for them.

Unit 11 – Dramatic Form This is the skill of using Dramatic Conventions/Devices in rehearsal or Performances.

Unit 12 – Composing Without Limits Do you have to play the Guitar like that? How about if you didn’t

Download the document (not completed) here – FoxyMusicEd KS3 Curriculum Map


What Musical Skills…?

May 30, 2013 Leave a comment

So I was googling musical skills for a bit of light reading and I came across this:

“Twyla Tharp, the choreograph, has a brilliant book called The Creative Habit. Can’t recommend it enough. The book includes a number of exercises, one of which was to list the fundamental skills in your art form.  Here is my list:

Skills List 

Accompanying Affects   Analysis   Arranging   Articulation  Arpeggios   Chord recognition   Chord voicing  Clefs   Composing  Conducting   Copying scores   Concentration Counterpoint  Dancing   Dichords   Dictation   Ensemble playing  Ethnomusicology  Figured bass  Form recognition   Formal analysis   Harmonizing   Heptachord shift in real time Imitation  Improvising   Interpretation   Listening   Memorizing   Notating   Pitch vowels   Polyrhythms   Orchestration   Octaves   Repertoire  Satztechnik   Scales Score reading   Separating all parts Sight-reading  Sight singing   Singing   Solfège  Style recognition  Rhythm skills   Touch   Thinking multiple parts   Transcribing  Transposing   Tuning   Variations   Vocal coaching”

Got me thinking about what Musical Skills I would list? Which on here would I change? Which on here would I like to spend some time developing in myself? Which ones of these would I like to spend some time developing with pupils?

For your subject can you list key skills that are part of your subjects dossier of must haves? Do you teach to them?

Skills before content? Or content before skills?

Categories: Music Curriculum

Planning A New Key Stage 3 Music Curriculum

April 4, 2011 Leave a comment

For any Music Teacher’s with responsibility for writing a curriculum and planning here is a brilliant resource to get you thinking about exactly what it is you want the kids to learn, and planning to ensure you cover different kinds of learning and different styles/contexts etc.

Hit the file 5b Exemplar curriculum map showing breadth in types of learning


Categories: Music Curriculum