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Welcome to Music

Music Staff

Mr Jimmy Stubbs (Faculty Head)

Mr John McCulloch

Miss Kate Manzor

Mr Craig Moran

Mr Joe Smyth

Mrs Aileen Lowdon (0.5 Area Cover)

How will Music help me in the future?

You do not have to become a Music Teacher or sign up for X Factor just because you have decided to take Music! However, it will show employers you have a wider range of interests and skills than most. Also, that you have shown dedication and commitment to learn a musical instrument and to study Music. Music is hard work, but equally one of the most enjoyable subjects to learn and succeed in.


Career Progression?

The music industry is a big business and offers a huge range of opportunities in many different careers. Students who study Music will find plenty of options when it comes to choosing a future path. Equipped with an awareness of musical genres and styles; performing, listening and composing skills; and music technology proficiency, students will be well equipped to pursue a musical profession.
But Music also offers a wealth of transferable skills relevant to ongoing musical and non-musical study as well as to future career development, including literacy, critical thinking, social skills and team working, leadership and communication, and time management and organisational skills.


Why Study Music? A summary….

It enables creative learning
It allows communication in a unique language
It enables students to express themselves
It broadens horizons
It is varied and interesting, and a journey of discovery
It has links to real life
It is academically rigorous
It is well respected by top universities
It is fulfilling and challenging
It is respected by top universities


The Social Value of Music

A number of studies have demonstrated the positive impact music can have on personal and social
development, including increased self-reliance, confidence, self-esteem, sense of achievement and ability to relate to others. Other studies have shown different benefits from participating in music groups and needing to work together towards a common goal. These include discipline, teamwork, cooperation, self-confidence, responsibility and social skills. 


The Benefits of Music

Music can make a powerful contribution to the education and development of children, having benefits which range from those that are largely academic to the growth of social skills and contribution to overall development. It is a unique form of communication that can change the way pupils feel, think and act. 

Pupils will develop skills in performing on a variety of classroom instruments that may include the following:

  • keyboard: the department uses both Casio and Yamaha keyboards. Skills are developed in hand co-ordination and musical literacy
  • tuned percussion: pupils develop skills using glockenspiels in S1 and S2, moving onto the larger xylophones in S3
  • drumkit: pupils learn to perform using 3 way and 4 way independence in a variety of different styles
  • acoustic guitar: both chordal and finger picking styles are taught
  • bass guitar
  • voice: this option is available to pupils in S2 and S3 and is optional
  • ukulele: both chordal and finger picking styles are taught

If pupils receive instrumental tuition, they can perform their instruments in class to further enhance their learning (these could include flute, saxophone, clarinet, trumpet, trombone etc).

Pupils will perform in both solo and group scenarios. In S2 and S3, they will focus on developing skills in only two instruments, thus preparing them for Music in the senior phase, should they select the subject.

Pupils will develop their knowledge and understanding of music literacy and theory. This will enhance their learning in all areas of the courses at all levels. This skill is essential in reading music and composing music.

As well as performing and literacy skills, pupils will learn to comment on music they listen to through learning key vocabulary and terminology to help them explain features of the music. By the end of S3, pupils will have learned the concepts relevant to National 3 and National 4 Level Music Qualifications, thus preparing them for National 5 Level Music in the Senior Phase. 

Pupils will develop skills in composition and create their own pieces of music through structured programmes of work using chord progressions and improvisation.

There is no upper limit in Performing and, if pupils are able, they can perform pieces at levels appropriate to their skills and abilities. Many pupils can reach National 5 level standards by the time they are in S3.

Pupils in the Senior Phase have the opportunity to study Music at various levels including:

National 3, National 4, National 5, Higher and Advanced Higher. Certain courses are only offered at specific years. Pupils are set at the appropriate level based on individual skills and ability and the knowledge and experience of the teachers. This ensures that pupils are attaining at the level appropriate to them.

All courses are similar in structure. All levels include study of two different instruments, understanding Music and compositional skills. All aspects of the coursework are externally assessed by the SQA.

National 3

Course structure 

The Course has an integrated approach to learning and includes a mixture of practical learning, and appreciation and understanding of music. In the Course learners will draw on their understanding of music styles and concepts as they experiment with and use these when performing and creating music. 

To achieve the Course, learners must successfully complete the three mandatory Units. Each of the component Units of the Course is designed to provide progression to the corresponding Unit at National 4. 

Units are statements of standards for assessment and not programmes of learning and teaching. They can be delivered in a number of ways. 

Music: Performing Skills (National 3) 

In this Unit, learners, with guidance, will develop performing skills on two selected instruments, or on one selected instrument and voice. They will play level-specific sections of music with sufficient accuracy while maintaining the musical flow. Learners will, with support, reflect on their own performing skills. 

Music: Composing Skills (National 3) 

In this Unit, learners will use their knowledge of music styles and concepts when creating their own music. They will experiment with and use straightforward compositional methods and simple music concepts in imaginative ways. Learners will, with support, reflect on their own creative choices and the creative choices of others. 

Understanding Music (National 3) 

In this Unit, by listening to a range of music and music styles, learners will develop their understanding of level-specific music concepts. They will develop the ability to distinguish between different music styles and sounds, and will be able to identify and recognise simple music signs and symbols used in music notation.

National 4

Course structure 

The Course has an integrated approach to learning and includes a mixture of practical learning and underpinning understanding of music. In the Course, learners will draw on their understanding of music styles and concepts as they experiment with using these when performing and creating music. 

To achieve the Course, learners must successfully complete the three mandatory Units and the Added Value Unit. Each of the component Units of the Course is designed to provide progression to the corresponding Unit at National 5. 

Units are statements of standards for assessment and not programmes of learning and teaching. They can be delivered in a number of ways. 

Music: Performing Skills (National 4)

In this Unit, learners will develop performing skills on two selected instruments, or on one selected instrument and voice. They will perform level-specific music with sufficient accuracy while maintaining the musical flow. Learners will, through regular practice and reflection, develop technical and musical performing skills. 

Music: Composing Skills (National 4) 

In this Unit, learners will experiment with and use compositional methods and music concepts in imaginative ways when creating their own music. Learners will reflect on their own creative choices and decisions, and develop a basic understanding of how musicians develop their ideas and create their music. 

Understanding Music (National 4) 

In this Unit, through listening, learners will develop knowledge and understanding of a variety of level-specific music concepts and music literacy. They will listen to music extracts and identify which specific music concepts are used and where these appear in the music. They will develop an understanding of the distinctive sounds of specific music styles and common music signs, symbols and terms used in music notation. 

Added Value Unit: Music Performance (National 4)

This Unit adds value by introducing challenge and application. In the music performance, learners will draw on and extend their performing skills in a new context. Learners will prepare and perform a programme of music in a solo setting and/or as part of a group. 

National 5

The course assessment has four components. 

Component 1: question paper 

Component 2: assignment 

Component 3: performance — instrument 1 

Component 4: performance — instrument 2 

Entry to this course is at the discretion of the centre.

Candidates should have achieved the fourth curriculum level or the National 4 Music course or equivalent qualifications and/or experience prior to starting this course. 

Question paper  

All candidates draw on skills in aural discrimination and perception, knowledge and understanding of level-specific music concepts, music literacy and analysis of music. These skills are developed throughout the course. This part of the course is worth 35% of the overall award and, although the level is National 5, pupils must have a thorough knowledge and understanding of National 3 and 4 level concepts too.

Assignment 

The assignment draws on candidates’ skills, knowledge and understanding of music composition. Candidates demonstrate their skills in the use of at least three of the following elements of music (melody, harmony, rhythm, timbre and structure) when creating their piece of music. They show their understanding of these elements of music through the creative and effective development of a range of musical ideas. They also self-reflect on their own original music and identify areas for improvement. This part of the course is worth 15% of the overall award.

Performance 

Candidates demonstrate their performing skills by presenting a prepared programme of music. The following aspects of performance are assessed: 

  • melodic accuracy/intonation 
  • rhythmic accuracy 
  • maintaining tempo and flow of the music 
  • conveying mood and character 
  • instrumental/vocal tone 
  • dynamics 

The programme of music must be a total of 8 minutes in length and will be externally assessed by an SQA visiting assessor in February/March.

Higher

The course assessment has four components. 

Component 1: question paper 

Component 2: assignment 

Component 3: performance — instrument 1 

Component 4: performance — instrument 2 

Entry to this course is at the discretion of the centre.

Candidates should have achieved the fourth curriculum level or the National 5 Music course or equivalent qualifications and/or experience prior to starting this course. 

Question paper  

All candidates draw on skills in aural discrimination and perception, knowledge and understanding of level-specific music concepts, music literacy and analysis of music. These skills are developed throughout the course. 

Assignment 

The assignment draws on candidates’ skills, knowledge and understanding of music composition. Candidates demonstrate their skills in the use of at least three of the following elements of music (melody, harmony, rhythm, timbre and structure) when creating their piece of music. 

They show their understanding of these elements of music through the creative and effective development of a range of musical ideas. They also self-reflect on their own original music and identify areas for improvement. 

Performance 

Candidates demonstrate their performing skills by presenting a prepared programme of music. The following aspects of performance are assessed: 

  • melodic accuracy/intonation 
  • rhythmic accuracy 
  • maintaining tempo and flow of the music 
  • conveying mood and character 
  • instrumental/vocal tone 
  • dynamics 

The programme of music must be designed to allow the candidate to demonstrate a sufficient level of technical and musical skills. 

Advanced Higher

Course structure 

The Course consists of three mandatory Units and the Course assessment. Each of the component Units of the Course is designed to provide progression from the corresponding Units at Higher. It has an integrated approach to learning. 

Units are statements of standards for assessment and not programmes of learning and teaching. They can be delivered in a number of ways. 

Music: Performing Skills (Advanced Higher) 

In this Unit, learners will develop a range of advanced performing skills appropriate to their two selected instruments, or to their one selected instrument and voice. Through regular practice and reflection, learners will develop and creatively refine their performing skills while exploring a variety of musically and technically challenging music. 

Music: Composing Skills (Advanced Higher) 

In this Unit, learners will develop a range of advanced skills in creating music. They will experiment with and apply a range of compositional techniques and devices in refined and sophisticated ways when creating their own original music, drawing on their understanding of composers’ work and approaches and the creative process.  

Understanding and Analysing Music (Advanced Higher) 

In this Unit, through listening, learners will develop their understanding of music styles, music concepts and musical literacy. Learners will work independently, demonstrating aural skills and an in-depth understanding of music and music concepts when investigating, analysing and commenting on sections of musical movements or works.

Unit assessment 

All Units are internally assessed against the requirements shown in the Unit Specification. 

They can be assessed on a Unit-by-Unit basis or by combined assessment. 

They will be assessed on a pass/fail basis within centres. SQA will provide rigorous external quality assurance, including external verification, to ensure assessment judgments are consistent and meet national standards. 

The assessment of the Units in this Course will be as follows. 

Music: Performing Skills (Advanced Higher) 

In this Unit, evidence will be required that the learner has developed a range of advanced performing skills and that they can apply them sensitively and creatively. This will be demonstrated by performing a variety of musically and technically challenging music, on their two selected instruments, or on one instrument and voice, and critically reflecting and evaluating the quality and accuracy of their performing skills. 

Music: Composing Skills (Advanced Higher) 

In this Unit, evidence will be required that the learner has analysed the impact of composers’ creative choices and the contexts which have influenced their work and approach. Learners will critically reflect on their developing ideas and will use a range of compositional techniques and devices in creative ways to produce musically coherent and original music.  

Understanding and Analysing Music (Advanced Higher) 

In this Unit, evidence will be required that the learner can demonstrate a breadth of knowledge and understanding of music, music concepts and musical literacy. Learners will analyse sections of musical movements or works, demonstrating detailed understanding of the music. They will also demonstrate the ability to analyse the impact of social and cultural influences on their selected music.

Other courses offered within the Music Department include:

Skills for Work: Creative Industries National 5

The Creative Industries Course is designed to provide a qualification which reflects the knowledge and skills required for employment/further study in the wide range of sectors in the Creative Industries. It also develops an awareness of the opportunities and range of employment within a chosen sector. The Course will enable candidates to develop practical skills together with employability skills and attitudes needed to work in the Creative Industries. 

Summary of Unit content 

Creative Industries: An Introduction 

The Unit introduces candidates to different sectors of the creative industries and the career paths, job roles and responsibilities of those working within the industry. The Unit will raise awareness of the employability skills and qualifications required by the industry. It also focuses on the generic skills and attitudes valued by employers and provides opportunities for candidates to evaluate their own progress, taking into account peer and teacher/lecturer feedback, and to set targets to improve their employability profile. 

The Unit allows candidates to work on practical tasks such as gathering industry and career information, matching their career interests to job requirements and evaluating their personal employability skills for the creative industries. 

Creative Industries: Skills Development 

The focus of this Unit is primarily on practical activity. It is designed to allow candidates the opportunity to practise and develop their craft and improve practical skills associated with a chosen job role in the creative industries. The candidate will be required to set targets, plan and use a variety of approaches to develop their practical skills in a creative working environment. 

The Unit requires candidates to seek feedback from others and evaluate the effectiveness of the approaches used. 

Creative Industries: The Creative Process 

The focus of this Unit is creative thinking and collaborative working. The Unit will provide candidates with an awareness of the key stages of a creative process. Candidates will be given a brief to interpret and they will contribute their own creative ideas to an overall team response. 

Candidates will be encouraged through discussion to explore different solutions to the given brief. They will work collaboratively to prepare and present a team response to the given brief. Candidates will also evaluate the team response to the brief. 

Creative Industries: Creative Project 

The focus of this Unit is primarily on practical activity carried out in a creative context. Candidates will work as part of a team throughout the planning and implementation of a creative project to a given brief. Candidates will contribute to, and participate in all stages of the implementation of a creative project and evaluate the completed project and their contribution to it. This Unit encourages the candidate to use creative processes to plan, implement and evaluate a creative project. 

This Unit will give candidates the opportunity to develop their creativity alongside key employability skills such as working with others and problem solving.

The Department offers a wide range of extra-curricular activities that may include the following:

  • Junior Vocal Group
  • Senior Vocal Group
  • Concert Band
  • Taiko
  • Wee Big Band
  • Ukulele group
  • Brass Group

Opportunities are available for pupils to perform at various concerts throughout the year.

Theatre and concert trips are organised for pupils enabling them to experience live theatre and live orchestras.