The music department at ContinU Plus Academy is an energetic and exciting one where all pupils study the subject in KS3 for one lesson per week, and two lessons a week if chosen at KS4. The core aim in music at CPA is to inspire pupils to be more confident individuals, where the teaching of music is adapted to the varying abilities and overall learning, with the belief that all students should experience all aspects of music, where this will ultimately nurture them to be better team players, communicators and analysts in all areas of their studies. The teaching of music is approached using a range of modern and innovative ways, offering pupils opportunities to follow a personalised curriculum, whilst having the opportunity to use cutting edge music technology to create their own compositions and express themselves through a variety of media from composing film music to writing songs performed by themselves. Music provides pupils with the opportunities to develop various skill sets, and particularly, develop confidence. There is a strong emphasis on team learning and developing interpersonal skills throughout music at CPA.

At KS3, the students follow thematic based schemes of work as part of the Linked Learning Curriculum. This emphasises the use of a ‘big idea’, which is incorporated within the entire scheme. Lessons are inspired by the Musical Futures programme of study, believing music learning works best when young people are making music, and when their existing passion for music is reflected and built-upon in the classroom. Musical Futures gives pupils the opportunity to learn through practical exploration, appealing to kinaesthetic learners. Lessons are planned to satisfy for all needs and enable pupils to have achievement through an informal learning model inspired by Music Futures, emulating as closely as possible the real-life learning practices of young, beginner popular musicians. The informal learning in the music classroom model aims to enhance pupil motivation, enjoyment and skill- acquisition in music lessons by tapping into the real-life learning practices of popular musicians. At the heart of popular music’s transmission processes lie informal learning practices, through which all-popular musicians pass in one way or another, based around five key principles:

  1. Learning music that students choose, like and identify with, as opposed to being introduced to music which is often new and unfamiliar, and chosen by a teacher
  2. Learning by listening and copying recordings, as opposed to learning through notation or other written/verbal instructions
  3. Learning alongside friends, instead of learning through instruction with continuous adult guidance
  4. Assimilating skills and knowledge in personal ways according to musical preferences, starting with whole ‘real world’ pieces of music, as opposed to following a designated progression from simple to complex, involving specially-composed music, a curriculum or a graded syllabus
  5. Maintaining a close integration of listening, performing, improvising and composing throughout the learning process, as opposed to gradually specialising and differentiating between listening, performing, improvising and composing skills

Pupils are assessed regularly throughout lessons focussing on skills in the 3 strands of performing, composing and appraising.

KS4 pupils study the NCFE Creative Studies: Performance Skills in the subject specialism of music.

This qualification shows learners how to:

  • use a variety of techniques
  • experiment with ideas and practical skills
  • work safely and securely
  • rehearse effectively
  • demonstrate technical performance skills.

Learners will know about: planning requirements, rehearsal techniques and improving techniques. They will develop skills:

  • in projection techniques
  • rehearsal schedules
  • in adapting their own ideas and responding to feedback
  • when working in a safe working environment
  • in literacy, numeracy and ICT, that are essential for the modern workplace, such as team working; presentation skills; independent working; working to deadlines; efficient use of resources.

Successful completion of this qualification will fulfil the entry requirements for relevant academic and vocational study post-16.

Music is taught by Tracey Roberts, a qualified and experienced music specialist. Tracey has taught music in a mainstream setting for 7 years before moving to AP settings alongside several years experience as a member of a musical ensemble, performing across the Midlands.

Music can play an important role in our pupils later in life and offers many benefits outside of the subject within the learnt skills; development of listening skills, promotion of self-discipline, supports independent learning, develops creative thinking, and encourages reflective learners. Music is a unique form of communication that can change the way pupils feel, think and act, we believe that music forms part of an individual’s identity and positive interaction with music can develop pupils’ competence as learners and increase their self-esteem. Music is an integral part of the curriculum at CPA bringing together intellect and feeling, enabling personal expressions, reflection and emotional development. Music education at CPA encourages active involvement in different forms of music-making, both individual and communal, helping to develop a sense of group identity and togetherness.  Music can influence pupils’ development in and out of school by fostering personal development and maturity, creating a sense of achievement and self-worth, and increasing pupils’ ability to work with others in a group context.

On entry to CPA our pupils have encountered a range of experiences when it comes to music both positive and negative. As pupils are often disengaged from music we want their experience to be a positive one, where lessons are planned to be appealing and understanding of their musical preferences.

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