Music at St Thomas More is vibrant, enthusiastic and a key part of whole school life. All students study music throughout KS3 and then have the option to continue their studies into KS4/5. In 2017, we achieved our highest set of year 11 results with 87.6% pass rate and a progress 8 score of +0.96.
At Key Stage 3, students receive a lesson every fortnight. There is an emphasis on learning through practical activities, transforming students into musicians and promoting team work skills, self-confidence and self-discipline. The curriculum has been devised to encourage students to show initiative, take on challenge and to develop their creativity. Practical music making is most definitely at the heart.
In Year 7, students complete a musical baseline assessment from which we aim to build the necessary skills required for students to be able to create and perform their own music. Our KS3 curriculum is focused around musical and skill development through assessment objectives of solo and ensemble performance, composition and critical engagement. We deliver whole class singing to year 7, ukulele tuition to year 8 as well as keyboard skills and tuned percussion ensemble to all of years 7, 8 & 9.
KS3 Curriculum overview
- Baseline assessments through performing, composing and listening activities.
- The Power of the Voice.
- Tuned percussion ensemble workshop.
- Introduction to the keyboard and staff notation.
- The Blues - developing keyboard skills.
- The Four Chords - ukulele workshop.
- Tuned percussion ensemble skill development.
- Film Music Composition
- Riffs & Hooks - World Music Exploration
- Theme and Variations
Progression after Key Stage 3
Students can opt to study music at Key Stage 4 through studying BTEC Level 2 First Award in Music. KS4 Music students also receive instrumental lessons free of charge to support their learning.
They can then choose to progress further and specialise further in music at Key Stage 5.
Additional classes and extra curricular activities
We offer a wide variety of musical instrument tuition through our close links with Forest Arts Music Hub (http://www.forestartscentre.co.uk) and currently have seven visiting instrumental teachers delivering tuition on violin, cello, flute, clarinet, trumpet, trombone, drum kit, guitar (electric/bass/acoustic), ukulele, voice and steel pans.
Students are also welcome to rehearse and develop their skills within the department during break and lunch times.
The department also runs:
Junior Choir: Tuesday lunchtimes & Thursday 3pm - 4pm.
Senior Voices: Tbc
String Ensemble: Friday 3pm - 3:30pm
Through taking an active part in the extra curricular activities on offer in the Performing Arts department, students have many exciting performance opportunities and experiences open to them. As a catholic school, our instrumentalists and singers regularly contribute to whole school worship, presentation evenings, Christmas and Easter services as well as coffee mornings for our local parish and OAP community. They also give concerts in our local care home, soup kitchen, in assemblies as well as in annual whole school musical productions and concerts. Our music students form a vital part of the school's Catholic ethos.
We also take part in local events in partnership with our music hub. These include the Big Sing and Big Orchestra concerts which brings together musicians from lots of different primary and secondary schools from across Walsall to perform together. National events include Voice in a Million at Wembley Arena where choirs from primary and secondary schools across the country perform together in a mass concert.
We also engage our students in local professional concerts such as the CBSO KS3 Schools Concerts held at Symphony Hall. Students also compose and perform in professional masterclasses with musicians from the internationally renowned Orchestra of the Swan, based in Stratford, who work regularly with the Royal Shakespeare Company and the BBC.