Music Curriculum

“The world’s most famous and popular language is music”

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Above: St. Bonaventure’s Choir performing at the October 2018 lunchtime concert

At St. Bonaventure’s, our aim is to provide a high-quality, diverse music curriculum which will enable every child to reach their full potential as young musicians in three main skills; performing, composing and appraising. Our students will have the chance to be creative, and will explore a variety of styles of music and different cultures. Every child will have the opportunity to perform in front of an audience both within and outside of school, be able to experience the joy of making music with other musicians during class time and in a variety of ensembles, and have the chance to attend trips to see live music being performed by professional musicians in world class venues.

KS3

All students in Year 7-9 have music lessons. We focus our learning around the three main skills in music; performing, composing and appraising (listening). 

Year 7

The pupils begin their music education at St. Bonaventure’s exploring singing. Pupils work in groups to perform their own arrangement of a pop song, write their own rap and eventually, their own song. The boys are encouraged to perform regularly to the class, improving their confidence in this essential skill. 

In the Spring term, pupils develop their Keyboard and music theory skills. By the end of the term, most pupils are able to play simple chord patterns for popular songs and read simple notation.

In the Summer term, pupils have the opportunity to learn the Ukulele. Through exploring chords and reading Ukulele notation, pupils are able to perform songs in many different music styles. Pupils also write their own short Ukulele piece and have numerous performance opportunities during lesson time.

Year 8

In the Autumn term, pupils learn about the world famous music group ‘STOMP’. Pupils explore how to create sound and music without using traditional instruments. All pupils are expected to create their own instruments using recycled materials, which is then used during group work. The groups compose their own pieces and these are performed to the class.

Above: Yusuf shows off his home made saxophone – made entirely from recycled materials! Best of all, the ‘saxophone’ works!

In the Spring term, pupils learn about the features of Reggae music and perform the song ‘Three Little Birds’ (Bob Marley) in small bands. Throughout this term, pupils have the opportunity to develop their keyboard, guitar, singing and drum kit skills.

In the Summer term, pupils develop their music technology skills further whilst learning about the style ‘minimalism’. Pupils will listen to and analyse the musical features of different pieces of minimalism and will use this knowledge to compose their own pieces of minimalism on Logic Pro.

Year 9

In Year 9, pupils begin the year by learning about the Blues. Pupils have the opportunity to listen to Blues music and build on their instrumental and band skills from Year 7/8, finishing in a performance of their own original Blues composition.

In the Spring term, pupils create their own piece of Disco music using Logic Pro software. This is an extended project which gives the boys experience of the type of composition level and detail required for GCSE Music whilst learning about one of the most important Dance music styles.

In the Summer term, the boys are encouraged to either create or cover a popular song either in bands or a solo performance. This allows the boys to develop their composition and performance skills with a final performance at the end of their KS3 Music education.

KS4

We currently offer two KS4 courses; GCSE Music and NCFE VCERT Music Technology.

GCSE Music – Eduqas GCSE Specification

Throughout the two years the students will cover three components; composing, performance and listening. Students will be required to submit two of their own compositions, two performances and sit a listening exam at the end of Year 11. 

Music Technology – NCFE Music Technology Specification

The Music Technology course is designed for students who enjoy creating and producing their own music on the computer. The course is run over two years and students study the following components; Using a digital audio workstation, creating music, studio recording, sound creation. Pupils will be required to complete tasks throughout the course which will be submitted as coursework (50%) and to sit an exam paper at the end of Year 11 (50%).

KS5

We currently offer the Eduqas A level Music course which is studied over the course of two years.

A Level Music – Eduqas A Level Specification

Students studying music at A Level must achieve a minimum of a Grade 6 in Music GCSE or be able to play an instrument to Grade 6 standard. Over the course of two years, the students will cover three components; composing, performance and listening. Students will have the option whether to specialise in performance or composition and will sit a listening exam at the end of Year 13.

Extra-Curricular

The extra-curricular life of the Department is varied and hugely important to the work that we do in the school. It gives the students a chance to develop their skills further outside the classroom and helps to create a strong sense of community amongst the boys who participate. If you pop up to Music on any given day there is always something going on! Our music clubs are inclusive and open to all students. 

We have four main concerts a year – Christmas Carol Service; Christmas Concert; Spring Concert; Summer MAD Showcase (Mad, Art & Drama).  Students are encouraged to perform in these concerts and we showcase soloists, ensembles and bands as well as the ensembles that are run in school.

We also host informal lunchtime concerts once every half term where staff and students are invited to watch performances of musical items that the boys have prepared in and outside of lesson time.

The music department has been on several tours abroad. In 2014 students went to Germany and in October 2016 we took students to Italy. The students also have numerous opportunities to see professional musicians perform in music venues, such as west end musicals, professional orchestra performances and workshops with professional musicians. 

Above: students outside the Lyceum Theatre in London’s West End, ready to watch The Lion King, April 2019

We work closely with Newham Music Service to provide instrumental lesson to our students. Students are currently able to take lessons in the following instruments:

  • Piano
  • Guitar
  • Drums
  • Trumpet
  • Violin
  • Vocals
  • Saxophone
  • Flute
  • Clarinet
  • Oboe

Please email Miss Warren, Curriculum Leader of Music, if you are interested in these lessons or have any other questions on g.warren@stbons.org