In Music, key stage 3 pupils concentrate on building confidence and creative capacity to develop their own ideas effectively so as to lead them to success should they choose to study GCSE Music. The GCSE course begins with skills building and culminates in the pupils developing and recording two contrasting original compositions, performing both solo and as part of an ensemble, and the demonstration of knowledge in a written examination.
In Drama, key stage 3 pupils develop skills in group work, leadership and confidence. This is effective in raising self esteem and self awareness as the pupils mature into young adults and builds the foundation for creative performers at GCSE level. The GCSE course begins with acting workshops to develop technique and understanding of practitioners and conventions. The pupils are assessed through performance, written evaluation and creative exploration of ideas.
Key Stage 3
Pupils learn how to work effectively in a group and create performance work through the study of African Music and The Orchestra in music, and through topics such as ‘Refugees’ and ‘Spy School’ in Drama.
Pupils spend time developing the basic skills of composition and performing music through projects such as ‘Music for Advertising’ and ‘Reggae’. In Drama the pupils discover Shakespeare through the study of a play text, develop their comic timing in the ‘Clowning’ project and explore other performance disciplines in ‘Musical Theatre’ study.
In the lead up to pupils making decisions about GCSE options both Music and Drama step up the challenge to ensure pupils have a clear idea of what is expected at GCSE level. Pupils study Songwriting and Minimalism in preparation for the composition elements of the GCSE qualification. In Drama pupils develop more advanced skills such as non naturalism and physical theatre in order to push the creative thought process behind devising work.
Key Stage 4
Drama at Key Stage 4 is taught through the Edexcel GCSE Drama specification. 70% of the assessment is practical exploration and performance and 30% is written documentation in controlled conditions. The pupils cover a wide range of topics including practitioner study, text analysis and devising for performance. It is an exciting course that requires great dedication and a commitment to developing your skills as an actor.
Music at Key Stage 4 is taught through the Edexcel GCSE Music specification. 30% is assessed through solo and ensemble performance, 30% is assessed through contrasting composition and 40% is reliant on pupils demonstrating their knowledge of set pieces of music in a written exam. The pupils will study genres ranging from western classical music through pop and jazz to world music. Pupils will need to be committed to the development of their musicianship through instrumental lessons and making use of practice rooms in their spare time.
Extra-curricular activities in the Performing Arts
There are many opportunities to get involved with Performing Arts outside of lesson time. We produce a full scale musical every year which is a great opportunity to build confidence, make friends and have fun with the subject. Last year was the first time we performed an established play and this has now become an annual event. This year will also be the first year The Connaught will enter the Shakespeare for Schools Festival where pupils perform at a professional venue.
In Music we have an established Steel Pan band ‘Panache!’ which performs in school and community events. This year we see the start of the Connaught Orchestral group following the successful recruitment of pupils into a range of instrumental lessons. Music hosts events such as the Christmas Cabaret and showcase concerts throughout the year.
Where Performing Arts can take you
The Performing Arts develops skills that can be transferred to any employment industry such as
- Social skills and empathy
- Team work
- Creative thinking
- Personal presentation and public speaking.
There is a wide range of employment possibilities in the Performing Arts industry such as
- Performer – actor, musician, singer, comedian, dancer, magician, conductor.
- Director – uses actors to realise their creative vision. The director is in charge of how performers deliver performance material.
- Choreographer – creates and constructs dance sequences be it Ballet, Tap, Folk dancing, Street dance, Break dance or Contemporary dance.
- Producer – Manages and organises performance events such as Musicals, plays, concerts. The producer is the boss!
- Designer – designs and aids with the creation of costume, set, props, lighting, music artwork.
- Technician – for the more technical minds, using modern technologies to develop the potential of a performance venue.
- Make up artist – Uses stage make up to transform performers into characters through skilful design.
- Marketing/ Promotion – this roles purpose is to make money through the selling of tickets to events. This is done through the careful creation of publicity materials, adverts and articles in print and meeting the target audience’s needs.
- Construction – hands on creation of theatre sets, film sets, concert staging and venue building.
- Writer – script writing, screen writing, creative writing, performance reviewing, journalism.
- Venue and Events Management – Organising events for a certain venue, arranging the programme of ‘What’s On’ – Events management does not tie you to a venue but usually work is freelance, organising fundraisers and celebrations etc.
- Sound Engineering – Using music technology to design and manipulate sound to fit with a brief given by an artist or record label.
- Agent – responsible for the promotion of a performing artist, uses contacts to secure employment and publicity for the artists ‘on their books’.