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Key Stage 5

What can students do to develop their skills in this subject area?

Music is not just learning to play an instrument or singing. Music links to every curriculum subject and naturally the subject itself encourages students to stretch and challenge themselves on a daily basis when they engage with it. At A Level students should have already achieved a high standard of musicianship. However, even though there is acknowledgement of high levels of music-making skills evident, some universities are stressing that students do not have a holistic and contextualised understanding of music throughout the periods.

In Tollbar MAT Sixth Form College:

  • Some A Level Music students are not pianists; however, it is imperative that students have a firm understanding of harmony and this can be taught through keyboard techniques. If students feel they would like to develop these skills, which will have a large impact on compositional and analytical skills, they need to consult with Mr. Longden.
  • Lots of lunchtime and extra-curricular clubs are available in the Curriculum Area for all tastes and genres in Key Stages 3 and 4. At Key Stage 5 it is a perfect opportunity to help run these ensembles, developing your own musicianship and leadership skills.
  • Students do not just contribute musically to the concerts at Waltham Toll Bar Academy; students also help with the logistics of putting on a concert: lighting, sound desk, choreography, etc.
  • The Music Curriculum Area has a wealth of instruments that students can explore. They range from common instruments found in the west, to rarer eastern instruments. It is exciting for students to have the opportunity to challenge themselves to play a variety of instruments, including those similar to their own, as well as those which are vastly different in order to develop new skills.
  • As well as instruments, we have a very large collection of scores (sheet music) and CDs from genres ranging from the Renaissance period right up to Contemporary music. This gives our students the opportunity to consider how music has evolved through the centuries.

Out of Tollbar MAT Sixth Form College:

  • 'Set Works' are the staple of the curriculum at A Level; it is so much more beneficial if you can experience these pieces performed live.
  • In North East Lincolnshire, there is lots of music making taking place. An obvious venue where a variety of music events take place is Grimsby Auditorium (also the venue for our MAT concerts). The Auditorium features acts ranging from 'The Foo Fighters' to Big Jazz Bands to 'The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra'.
  • The area has lots of established musical groups that you can join, meet new people and make music together.
  • As a Sixth Form College, we encourage students to take part in musical activities outside of the curriculum that we feel students will enjoy, helping them to engage in the wider music scene of our local area. This opens doors for our students into many other musical activities, which consequently benefits their learning within school, through development of musicianship.
  • If there is nothing already out there that takes your fancy, why not make your own band/music group?

What else can be accessed to support the curriculum?

Some Music apps are particularly useful:

  • Garageband.
  • Figure (Make Music and Remix Beats).
  • EarWizard.
  • Yousician.
  • ABRSM Sight-Reader Trainer.
  • ABRSM Aural Trainer.
  • ABRSM Practice Partners (Piano, Violin, etc.).

What websites could students visit to support the curriculum?

www.naxosmusiclibrary.com - (speak to Mr Longden regarding logon information)
www.imslp.org - IMSLP (huge database of sheet music out of copyright laws)
www2.cpdl.org - CPDL (choral version of IMSLP)

What wider reading could students complete?

  • The Study of Orchestration - Samuel Adler.
  • A Guide to Musical Analysis - Nicholas Cook.
  • Music: A Very Short Introduction - Nicholas Cook.
  • New Grove Music Dictionary - full set in the Sixth Form College.
  • Harmony in Practice - Anna Butterworth.
  • 371 Chorales and 69 Chorale melodies with Figured Bass - J. S. Bach - edited by Albert Riemenschneider.
  • The Oxford School Harmony Course - J. Denny.
  • Rock, Jazz and Pop Arranging - Daryl Runswick.
  • Mozart and His Operas - David Cairns.

Increasing familiarity with the following software will be useful:

  • Sibelius.
  • Aurelia.
  • Protools.
  • Cubase.

How can parents/carers help and what can be done at home?

  • Speak to your son or daughter about how music has evolved in your lifetime. Music is so accessible now and it is difficult for them to understand when music was not instantaneous.
  • Encourage your son or daughter to get involved in supporting music classes for Enrichment at Waltham Toll Bar Academy.
  • Attend a variety of local and wider field concerts. Encourage your son or daughter to research the contextual background behind the pieces they have experienced at the concert - even better do it retrospectively, then they can engage more with the music.
  • Encourage your son or daughter to involve themselves musically in the community. MAPAS are specialists in this field.
  • Share likes and dislikes in music and justify them.
  • Most importantly, have a variety of music playing in the house.

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Mr N J Whittle