Students are taught one hour of music per week throughout KS3 (Years 7 – 9). At GCSE, music is an option subject with five allocated hours of teaching across a two-week timetable.
The curriculum is based around the three core music skills:
- Performing Music
- Composing Music
- Listening & Appraising Music
Key Stage 3
- The Elements of Music. Students learn key words, fundamentals of music theory and start exploring features of music through listening activities. Listening & Appraising.
- Find Your Voice. A 12-week programme of singing practical lessons, culminating in the performance of two songs. Students learn about singing as part of a group, singing in a round and two-part harmony. Performing.
- Instruments of the Orchestra. Exploring classical music through studying string, woodwind, brass and percussion instruments. Listening & Appraising.
- Programme Music. Application of the IOTO topic through studying pieces of programme music, with students learning to play famous motifs and creating their own. Listening & Appraising/Composing.
- Ghanaian Drumming. A 12-week programme where students learn the techniques of playing a Ghanaian drum, explore features of Ghanaian drumming as a group before composing their own piece of Ghanaian drumming music. Performing/Composing.
- Staff Notation. Students learn to read music and understand the difference between treble and bass clef notation. Listening & Appraising.
- Keyboard Skills. Students apply their knowledge of staff notation through a practical topic, learning keyboard pieces by reading music. Performing.
- Students study the history of blues music (including its historical and socio-political context) and learn to play a piece of blues music in pairs or small groups. Performing.
- Hip-Hop. In partnership with the English department, students learn about the features of hip-hop and the connection with poetry. Students then compose their own piece of hip-hop music using computer software BandLab, using a classical music ground-bass and creating their own rap in the style of iambic pentameter.
- Film Music. Students explore the features of film music and the role it plays, before creating their own piece of music based upon a short Pixar film. Listening & Appraising/Composing.
- Taiko Drumming. Using authentic Japanese taiko drums, students learn about the historical significance of this art form, learn features and techniques before composing their own piece of taiko drumming. Composing.
- GCSE Study pieces. Students are given a taste of GCSE music through studying popular songs which appear on the GCSE syllabus. Students will apply their knowledge of the elements of music to appraise songs and answer GCSE-style questions. Listening & Appraising.
- Band Project. Students form bands of 4-5 people and learn to play a popular song from a select choice of styles. Students first work with those also learning their instrument, before moving into their bands and performing their pieces live. Performing.
- This topic introduces the neo-classical movement of the 1960’s, encouraging students to comment musically and develop opinions of different music and styles. Students then create their own piece of minimalism, either through a performance or BandLab composition. Listening & Appraising/Composing.
- Songwriting with Sibelius/FL Studio/BandLab. Students’ final topic of KS3 is to write their own popular song in a style of their choice. Compositions are created using one of the pieces of computer software available to students. Students then perform their song, either live or through their chosen software.
There are a number of extra-curricular opportunities for students at Ridgeway Academy. Every year, the school puts on a musical production, as well as performing arts concerts and shows. A list of our most recent shows can be found below:
- 2017-2018: Station Road (a new musical written for, and premiered by, Ridgeway Academy).
- 2018-2019: Oliver!
- 2019-2020: We Will Rock You
- 2020-2021: Grease
The music department also runs a seasonal Christmas choir, a guitar club, KS3 Rock School (for higher and lower ability) and a KS4 ensemble club. The music department is well-equipped, with two full-sized teaching classrooms, a further two practice rooms and a music-specific computer suite.