Music

The Music Department is part of the Performing Arts Faculty where the teaching staff are dedicated and committed to sharing their passion for the arts which, in turn, results in the engagement and motivation of our students. We are a busy and active department both in and out of the classroom, and we offer many opportunities in the way of enrichment activities.

Music is a successful curriculum area and one which strives to ensure that students of all abilities are given every possible opportunity to succeed. We have two classrooms; one consisting of keyboards and other acoustic instruments and the other holding a suite of eighteen apple macs. We also have two practice rooms which are used by the peripatetic staff and also by pupils either as part of the classroom activities or during lunchtime for their own rehearsals. The classrooms are well resourced with eighteen keyboards, three drum kits, an electric drum kit in the recording studio alongside a synthesizer, plenty of electric guitars and bass guitars, and thirty classical guitars. In one music room there is also a baby grand piano. All pianos are tuned regularly and we have a new electric piano. There is also a lovely electric piano in the main hall which we use in our concerts.

Key Stage 3

The course is designed to develop the students' musical skills and to become more confident in their performing abilities. In year 7, the students study how to read music and then transfer that skill into playing melodies on the keyboard. They also develop their understanding of rhythms by using percussion instruments to compose a polyrhythmic piece. Students will also learn about instruments of the orchestra as well as understanding how to change a piece of music using variation techniques. In the first project using the apple macs with 'Garage Band' software, they design their own product and compose music for an advert using vocal skills with the help of a microphone to record their work. They are also introduced to world music by learning about West African culture and drumming.

In year 8, students learn about chords and bass riffs and compose using ternary form. They learn to play the guitar which then leads into a music futures project of creating their own bands. The pupils study musicals and compose their own versions on the macs. In the summer term they perform music in the style of the blues and become aware of the huge impact the blues has had on the music of today.

In year 9, students begin with composing and performing samba followed by a cultural experience of hip-hop and composing their own song. Once again, but at a higher level, the pupils encounter another musical futures project of creating their own bands and finally, in the summer term, they learn about Glastonbury Festival, not only about the music but how it is operated and managed. In all year groups we offer a gifted and talented workshop for the day to allow composing and performance skills to be developed.

Topics Covered this Academic Year

Year 7 Year 8 Year 9
Half Term 1 Staff Notation Chords & Bass Riffs in Ternary Form Samba
Half Term 2 Rhythms Learning to play the guitar Hip-Hop
Half Term 3 The Orchestra/Theme & Variations Rock Band Project Rock Band Project
Half Term 4 Adverts Musicals Film Music
Half Term 5 Major & Minor The Blues Glastonbury Festival
Half Term 6 West African Music The Development of the Blues Summer Project

Key Stage 4

The department consistently achieves successful results at Key Stage 4. We are currently following the OCR board. The course is divided into three main areas; performing, composing, and studying the history and theory to be able to complete the listening paper.   

In year 10, pupils complete three solo performances to give them the experience and confidence when they perform for the exam at the beginning of year 11. They complete a composing course in the autumn term before starting their first piece of coursework which should be completed at the end of year 10. The students will study theory and various style of music such as the conventions of pop, the development of the concerto, and film music.

In year 11, students complete their solo performance exam and prepare for their ensemble performance to be completed later on in the year. They complete a second composition which will be based on the brief sent by the exam board and finish off the course by studying rhythms from certain areas of the world. During their studies, they will continue to focus on developing their skills on their instrument/voice.

Extra-Curricular

We offer a wide range of instrumental and vocal lessons; brass, strings, woodwind, percussion, acoustic and electric guitar, piano, and vocals. We are lucky at Crispin in that the governors subsidise toward the lessons which allows them to become more accessible. 

The full school choir has over one-hundred pupils, whilst also having a senior choir branch, and an orchestra of thirty-five pupils. From this, we also have smaller ensembles; a string group and a woodwind group who rehearse on different days. We're delighted to have a strong tradition of pupils forming their own bands and using the facilities to rehearse. There are many events and opportunities for the pupils to perform, including; a carol Service held at Wells Cathedral, joint Christmas concert with Brookside Primary School, carol singing at Clark's Village raising money for charity, performing at local residential care homes, spring concert normally held in May, and the performing arts show in Strode Theatre in July. The pupils are given many opportunities to experience live music such as regular trips to the Royal Albert Hall, Bristol’s Hippodrome, and the Colston Hall as well as many other events throughout the year.

Last Updated: July 2017