The music curriculum at the West London Free School has been carefully thought through to give our pupils the knowledge and skills to engage with music throughout their lives as listeners, performers and composers.
Key Stage 3
The main areas we seek to develop at Key Stage 3 build a foundation for later stages:
- Developing keyboard skill: the ability to work with chords and melody on the piano with a degree of fluency lets students accompany singers, play a few pieces, experiment with ideas when composing in Notation and play all the parts for different instruments when composing using Logic.
- Developing part-singing: being able to sing in harmony builds up pitch perception, awareness of ensemble, vocal tone quality and a stronger understanding of writing for voices.
- Theory: Year 7 pupils study the fundamentals of reading notation so they can learn more independently. Through Years 7 and 8 we work on the understanding of tonality so they can start to compose simple pieces with key changes.
- Composing: Throughout KS3 pupils learn how to order sound across a variety of media and apply what they have learnt from listening and performing.
Key Stage 4
The OCR specification that we study helps pupils to make a big leap forward in their performing and composing skills. They perform two pieces; one solo and one in an ensemble. At West London Free School they can participate in a range of high-quality ensembles to help gain high marks in this part of the GCSE.
Pallingswick House’s iMac-based music suite gives the pupils first-class equipment for developing their own compositions. Genres range from urban dance music to ballads and orchestral works.
The third part of the course is a written paper which broadens pupil knowledge of a range of styles of music and helps prepare them for the academic elements of A-level music.
Key Stage 5
Our aim at this stage is that pupils should become versatile and accomplished young musicians. They have the opportunity to perform at a high standard in a range of styles and develop their ability to compose and arrange music using both notation and sequencing software.
The Eduqas specification gives them the option of free composition as well as composing to a brief and the opportunity to complete their performance in front of a visiting examiner (instead of a recorded performance). There is also a rigorous written paper to assess their aural skills and ability to write about music.