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    Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and life to everything. - Plato


    Mr M. Bartlett (Director of Music)

    Mr M. Schlamm


    To nurture and develop a sense of creativity, self-confidence and self-discipline within students, providing them with the opportunity to develop a new set of skills, both musical and personal, to prepare them for future education and the world of work.


    For a long time, Music has been seen as an elitist subject, only available to those who have the money, or who are privileged to have access to music lessons at primary school. The aim of this curriculum is to bring Music back to a point where everyone can access it, and anyone could do it.

    The Music Curriculum at DGGS has been created to develop competence, creativity, musical and cultural understanding, and critical interpretation in the areas of performance, composition and appraising. Students are encouraged to delve into the world of music, from Baroque to Modern, Classical to Popular to World Music, investigating the different styles, genres, composers and artists that make up the life experiences that surround us on a daily basis.

    The courses are carefully planned in order to allow, and support, students to progress across a 3-year programme, inspiring students along the way. This supports students’ development of musical understanding, and their ability to apply this new knowledge to their own practical work, in both performance and composition, and to be able to make critical judgements about their own, and others’ work. They are encouraged to evaluate their own work, growing as a musician and understanding that not everything works first time. By reviewing and refining their work, they have the opportunity to identify areas for improvement and will be given direction and incentives to address these areas, to become accomplished in their musicianship.

    Key Stage Three: In Year 7 students arrive to DGGS with a varying degree of musical understanding and skill, based on their experience and access to a music curriculum at primary school level. The Year 7 course is based on the foundations of music, developing and extending their understanding of the musical elements. This is taught through exploring the musical context and applying this to a combination of practical performance and composition tasks, learning and developing individual skills. Year 7 topics include: Building bricks; Keyboard skills; I’ve got rhythm; Form and structure; Sonority city; Folk music.

    In Year 8, Students build on top of the work from the previous year. This is structured in the same way, with a combination of understanding the context, performing, composing and appraising. Year 8 topics include: Hooks and riffs; Offbeat; Variations; All that jazz; All about the bass; Saharan sounds.

    Year 9 students complete the 3-year KS3 course, again built up on succession of units over the three years to develop musical and personal skills required for further independent study. Through this year, the focus is on understanding the concepts enough to explain how the musical elements have been used in a piece of music. Students will have access to the department instruments, and will continue to develop their own practical skills. Year 9 Dance music; Soundtracks; Computer and video game music; New directions; Samba; What makes a good song?

    Key Stage Four: In this key stage we build on existing knowledge developed through the Key Stage Three curriculum and introduce new concepts to facilitate stretch and challenge across a broad range of topics within all three components of the GCSE course – Performing, Composing and Appraising.  We follow the Edexcel board GCSE course, which sets out aims for these two years. The appraising component focuses on a broad range of music, ranging from Baroque Period music with Purcell and Bach, through to Popular Music with Queen, music from Stage and Screen with Defying Gravity and Star Wars, and Fusion music, including music from around the world. Students, therefore, are encouraged to listen to and explore a wide range of music. Developing links between the appraisal component and the practical components – performing and composing – is also strongly encouraged.

    Key Stage 5: For our A Level course we use the developments from KS3 and GCSE as a foundation for further learning, but there is more of a shift onto supported, independent learning. Students ability to analyse and appraise music is further developed along with the opportunity to explore and research the historical and musical contexts of the time period, style, and composers. There is more focus on their understanding on how the music and its development fits in with the overall context of the time. We follow the OCR course, which is split into the usual three component areas – performing, composing and appraising. Students get to choose if they want to weight their course towards performance or composition, whichever they feel they are strongest in. They are encouraged to delve into the background of their performance pieces, exploring authentic approaches to playing them and developing their interpretations for a more informed and accurate performance.

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