The aim of the Music Department is that whatever musical interest pupils have, we will provide a stimulating and exciting environment for them in which to nurture their skills and talents.
Whether it is with voice or instrument, music plays a big part in the life of the School. Pupils have the opportunity to join a variety of ensembles, including but not limited to: Chamber Orchestra; String Ensemble; Brass Ensemble; Jazz Band; Blues Band and the Schola Cantorum, the School Choir. A wealth of concerts and recitals are given throughout the year, allowing pupils the opportunity to share their music with friends, staff and parents, whilst also gaining experience and confidence in public performance.
The Department consists of four full time teachers supported by fourteen visiting instrumental and voice teachers accommodated in two large teaching and rehearsal rooms and six smaller practice rooms. The twenty station Mac Suite also gives pupils the experience of industry standard notating and sequencing software for their compositional tasks.
At the heart of the Department lies a core of academic musical study; the small class sizes allow for individual support, tailoring help and advice to each individual’s needs and requirements. Music students leaving Cokethorpe at the end of the Sixth Form have continued their studies at many top universities and conservatoires. In recent years students have gained places at Birmingham Conservatoire, Goldsmiths’ University of London and Durham.
First Form to Third Form
From First Form to Third Form, pupils study a wide selection of half-termly topics. These change from year to year and cover a diverse selection of theoretical, modern and traditional musical threads. Pupils are assessed in the areas of composition, performance, aural and theory.
The First Form explore many of the fundamental aspects of Music, this year through the topics of Night and Day, Rhythm and Pulse, Instruments of the Orchestra and Folk Music. The Second Form branch out into a wider range of genres and composers, covering the following in this year: Variations, Caribbean Music, Music and Space and Pictures at an Exhibition.
In the Third Form, pupils continue to build on their skills whilst we look towards preparing those pupils looking to study the subject at GCSE. The topics covered are more style-specific: Minimalism, Film Music and Soundtracks, Rock ’n’ Roll and Popular Song. Each pupil has a bespoke work book collated by the Music Department which supports the practical tasks and composition work which they complete on our suite of iMacs.
Fourth Form to Fifth Form
Pupils will have already gained many of the basic skills needed for Music GCSE. To take this course, they must be able to play at least one instrument, or voice. The GCSE course encourages the performance of music not only of their choosing and in any style, but also as a soloist and in a group.
As a part of the course, pupils are able to choose two topics for composition. For example, this could be a popular song, dance track, a classical piece or some world music. There is a wide choice which can be tailored to suit musical interests and strengths. Pupils will also study some set pieces taken from the classical, 20th century, popular and world music areas of study.
The aim of the Department is to enable pupils to:
- improve their performing skills
- construct music from initial ideas through to the finished product
- analyse music in a variety of styles and discover the social and historical context in which music has been composed over the last 400 years
Listening skills will enhance the aural perception needed in language examinations. Performing skills give confidence in playing to an audience which can be useful for anyone wishing to pursue, for example, Drama or Law.
Head of Music: Mr J E Hughes
Every term the highly successful Gig Night allows musical hair to be let down and gives a chance for the thriving school rock bands to take to the stage. With an eclectic and diverse mixture of acts, Gig Night has quickly established itself as one of the most anticipated events in the Cokethorpe calendar.
Concerts, Performances and The Schola Cantorum
The Schola Cantorum perform throughout the school year, including Evensong and May Day Madrigals. The Choral Society stage a large musical venture every year where parents and staff to join the School Choir to perform together. In celebration of the Patron Saint of Music, the St Cecilia Concert is a showcase of solo and ensemble music, with performances from our Music Award Holders, who also perform another concert later in the year to showcase their talents. In the Lent Term, the Drama and Music Departments join together to produce a musical.
The Arts Academy which is open to all pupils is a three hour workshop on a Saturday morning offering pupils an opportunity to improve their dramatic or musical skills. At the end of term pupils in the Arts Academy perform in the Arts Academy Showcase.
Bi-termly lunchtime music recitals are held where pupils from any age group are invited to perform to an audience. From rock bands, to vocalists, to classical musicians playing their own compositions, all are welcome and encouraged to hone their performance skills alongside fellow musicians.
Alongside the lunchtime music recitals, the Music Department offer a range AOB Options which change on a termly basis. Current and previous options include The Jam Jar, a jam session open to any musician of grade 5 and above standard in their chosen instrument, A Capella for those using their voice as their instrument, GarageBand, where pupils could learn how to create, edit and produce music using the latest version of GarageBand, the renowned Apple Inc. music tool and Music Improvisation.
The annual Inter-house music competition sees Houses battle it out against one another in an afternoon of hotly fought classes. The event begins with the hugely exciting solo and vocal ensemble classes, followed by the whole-house singing event. Each year there is a different theme for the whole house, this year was Simon and Garfunkel.