Music - Ratcliffe College

Music – ages 11-16

Music offers the chance for students to acquire skills which complement the other activities at Ratcliffe.  By working alongside each other in the classroom and when in performance situations, they learn leadership and negotiation as their work is developed. Students learn many skills as well as having the enjoyment of working with like-minded musicians.  

All students in Years 7-9 have one 55-minute music lesson every week. Topics covered in the Scheme of Work include all 3 main areas from the National Curriculum; listening & appraising, performing and composing. Our varied and stimulating Programme of Study aims to inspire, enthuse and motivate our students, whilst incorporating music theory, literacy skills and key music terminology.

At Key Stage 3, the emphasis is very much on practical music-making. Students are encouraged to sing, perform on our classroom percussion instruments and keyboards, and learn how to use music software such as Sibelius and GarageBand. Music theory and notation skills are incorporated into most units to ensure that all students have good musical literacy by the end of Year 9. In preparation for GCSE Music and to allow for greater support and individual development, Year 9 classes are split into 2 groups of 10-11 students.

Music expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent.

Academic Programme

Our GCSE musicians benefit from small class sizes across Years 10 and 11. We currently study the Edexcel Pearson syllabus, which focuses on 3 main areas: Listening & Appraising (40%), Performing (30%) and Composing (30%).

For the Listening and Appraising unit, students will study 8 Set Works across 4 Areas of Study, which are:

  • Instrumental Music from 1700-1810
  • Vocal Music
  • Music for Stage and Screen
  • Fusions

Students at GCSE have 6 music lessons over a 2-week period. Lessons will involve analysis of the Set Works, music theory and development of listening and appraising skills. Students will also benefit from regular GCSE performance workshops, composition lessons and the numerous concerts and performing opportunities available across the College.

Enrichment Opportunities in Music

The department is staffed by a team of instrumental specialists who give individual tuition on their instrument to those who would like it.  There are schemes to support students who would like group lessons as well as a String scheme in the Preparatory School.  Students who take up this opportunity are encouraged to join the wide array of choirs and ensembles on offer.  These ensembles vary in size and are designed to cater for different tastes in such a way that students can perform at whatever they are at.  

Our GCSE musicians are encouraged to partake in 2 co-curricular ensembles. Please see our ‘Co-Curricular Music’ page for further details.

Along with our A-Level musicians and Music Scholars, our GCSE musicians also have the opportunity to attend regular school trips to watch live concerts and shows in order to enhance their learning and understanding. Trips vary from classical instrumental concerts to musical theatre and jazz and swing performances!

There are a vast number of performance opportunities available throughout the year, with a major concert each term, alongside the House Music Competition and informal performances which take place on a weekly basis.   

There are numerous smaller ensembles such as Brass Ensemble, Swing Band and String Ensemble.  All these groups allow students to study specialist repertoire for their instrument whilst they develop ensemble playing.  

The Senior Choir sings at all major services and functions in school; they also sing outside the College.  They tackle complex repertoire and help support the whole school in their congregational singing. Highlights include the Last Night of the Proms and the Carol Service.