Music & Music Technology

 

Welcome to the Diss High School Music Department. We are proud of our strong tradition of music making and we hope you enjoy finding out more about what we do.

 

Our aim is to enrich the social, moral and spiritual life of the school by giving all students the skills, knowledge and positive mental attitude that they need in order to express themselves through music. In doing so, they contribute to the wellbeing of themselves, the school and the wider community. 

 

 

Key Stage 3

Year 7 
 
Students are introduced to music theory, though the concepts of pitch, rhythm and tempo. They learn basic keyboard and guitar skills and use these in group performance situations. Singing plays a prominent part in the curriculum and treble and bass clef notation is introduced. Listening and appraising focuses particularly on sonority.
 
Year 8 
 
In year 8, students continue to explore the musical elements, in particular harmony, structure, texture and tonality. They discover blues improvisation techniques and use music technology to realise their musical ideas. Students gain confidence rehearsing and performing in smaller groups and taking solo roles.  Listening and appraising is more sophisticated and begins to address issues of interpretation. 

 

Key Stage 4

Year 9 
 
Year 9 students have an introduction to the Edexcel GCSE Music course. They begin to appraise the set works and learn more about how music has developed in a wider historical context. They have many opportunities to perform in various groups and develop both their ensemble and solo performing skills. The students begin to create structured compositions using a variety of compositional tools such as Digital Audio Workstations, notation packages such as Sibelius and group composition techniques.
    
Year 10 and Year 11 
 
Edexcel GCSE Music course  Component Overview Assessment
 
Component 1 Performing 30%  Non-examined assessment
 
2 performances, one solo and one ensemble.
 
Solo - minimum 1 piece - minimum 1 minute
Ensemble - minimum 1 piece - minimum 1 minute
 
Together total minimum of 4 minutes across the solo and ensemble pieces
 
Minimum total 2 pieces
 
30 marks each
 
Total of 60 marks
 
Component 2 Composing 30%  Non-examined assessment
 
2 compositions, 1 to set brief – minimum 1 minute, 1 free composition – minimum 1 minute
 
Together total minimum of 3 minutes 2 pieces
 
30 marks each
 
Total of 60 marks
 
Component 3 Appraising 40% Exam
 
4 Areas of Study with 2 Set Works each:
 
  • Instrumental Music 1700–1820
  • Vocal Music
  • Music for Stage and Screen
  • Fusions     
Exam 1hr 45mins
 
Total of 80 marks

 

Key Stage 5

Edexcel Music A Level
 
Component 1: Performing  
Non-examined assessment: externally assessed 30% of the qualification
 
60 marks
 
Content overview
  • Approaches to performing.
Assessment overview
  • A public performance of one or more pieces, performed as a recital.
  • Performance can be playing or singing solo, in an ensemble, improvising, or realising music using music technology.
  • The total performance time across all pieces must be a minimum of 8 minutes.
  • Performances must be recorded after 1 March in the year of certification and all materials for assessment submitted to arrive by 15 May in the year of certification.
Component 2: Composing  
Non-examined assessment: externally assessed 30% of the qualification
 
60 marks
 
Content overview 
  • Approaches to composing.
Assessment overview
  • A total of two compositions, one to a brief set by Pearson and one either free composition or also to a brief.
  • One composition must be from either a list of briefs related to the areas of study, or a free composition, carrying 40 marks for this component. This composition must be at least 4 minutes in duration.
  • One composition must be from a list of briefs assessing compositional technique, carrying 20 marks for this component. This composition must be at least 1 minute in duration, unless the brief specifies a longer minimum duration.
  • The total time across both submissions must be a minimum of 6 minutes.
Component 3: Appraising  
Written examination: 90 minutes 40% of the qualification
 
100 marks
 
Content overview
  • Knowledge and understanding of musical elements, contexts and language.
  • Application of knowledge through the context of six areas of study, each with three set works.
    • Vocal Music,
    • Instrumental Music,
    • Music for Film,
    • Popular Music and Jazz,
    • Fusions,
    • New Directions.
  • Application of knowledge to unfamiliar works.
Edexcel Music Technology A Level
 
Component 1: Recording  
Non-examined assessment: externally assessed 20% of the qualification
 
60 marks
 
Content overview
  • Production tools and techniques to capture, edit, process and mix an audio recording.
Assessment overview
  • One recording, chosen from a list of 10 songs provided by Pearson, consisting of a minimum of five compulsory instruments and two additional instruments, released on our website on 1st June in the calendar year preceding the year in which the qualification is to be awarded.
  • Keyboard tracks may be sequenced.
  • Total time must be between 3 minutes and 3½ minutes.
  • Logbook and authentication form must be supplied.
Component 2: Technology-based composition  
Non-examined assessment: externally assessed 20% of the qualification
 
60 marks
 
Content overview
  • Creating, editing, manipulating and structuring sounds to produce a technology-based composition.
Assessment overview
  • One technology-based composition chosen from three briefs set by Pearson released on our website on 1st September in the calendar year preceding the year in which the qualification is to be awarded.
  • Synthesis and sampling/audio manipulation and creative effects use must be included.
  • Total time must be 3 minutes.
  • Logbook and authentication form must be supplied.
Component 3: Listening and analysing  
Written examination: 1 hour 30 minutes 25% of the qualification
 
75 marks
 
Content overview
  • Knowledge and understanding of recording and production techniques and principles, in the context of a series of unfamiliar commercial recordings supplied by Pearson.
  • Application of knowledge related to all three areas of study:
    • recording and production techniques for both corrective and creative purposes
    • principles of sound and audio technology
    • the development of recording and production technology.
Assessment overview
  • This paper comprises two sections: A and B and all questions are compulsory.
  • One audio CD with the unfamiliar commercial recordings to accompany questions on the paper will be provided per student.
  • Section A: Listening and analysing (40 marks) – four questions, each based on unfamiliar commercial recordings supplied by Pearson (10 marks each).
  • Section B: Extended written responses (35 marks) – two essay questions. One comparison question, which uses two unfamiliar commercial recordings from the CD (15 marks). The second essay uses the final unfamiliar commercial recording on the CD (20 marks).
Component 4: Producing and analysing  
Written/practical examination: 2 hours 15 minutes (plus 10 minutes setting–up time)
 
35% of the qualification
 
105 marks

Content overview
  • Knowledge and understanding of editing, mixing and production techniques, to be applied to unfamiliar materials provided by Pearson in the examination.
  • Application of knowledge related to two of the areas of study:
    • recording and production techniques for both corrective and creative purposes
    • principles of sound and audio technology.
Assessment overview
  • This paper comprises two sections: A and B and all questions are compulsory.
  • Each student will be provided with a set of audio/MIDI materials for the practical element of the examination, to include:
    • audio files relating to three instrumental/vocal parts.
    • a single MIDI file from which a fourth instrumental part will be created or synthesised.
  • Students will correct and then combine the audio and MIDI materials to form a completed mix, which may include creating new tracks or parts from the materials provided.
  • Section A: Producing and analysing (85 marks) – five questions related to the audio and MIDI materials provided that include both written responses and practical tasks.
  • Section B: Extended written response (20 marks) – one essay focusing on a specific mixing scenario, signal path, effect or music technology hardware unit.

 

After School/Lunchtime Clubs:

We have an ever-expanding number of extracurricular activities including: soul band, choir, brass group, string group, junior rock band, theory club and the Performing Arts Academy. The annual School Show presents many opportunities for students of all ages, whether they study music or not, to be involved in a hugely and rewarding production of a full-scale musical.

 

Trips and Visits:

Students are given a wide variety of options to broaden their musical horizons beyond the school. Last year, the Norfolk Blues Society conducted a masterclass at the school, students visited the West End production of ‘Wicked’ and various groups participated in DissFest and the ‘Choir of a Thousand’ at the Royal Norfolk Show. We are always exploring new learning opportunities outside of the classroom.

 

Music

Diss High School

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