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“Music is…A higher revelation than all Wisdom and Philosophy”- Ludwig van Beethoven

Queen Elizabeth’s Girls’ School is fortunate enough to host an unprecedented amount of exceptional musical talent. Many girls play an instrument or sing at a level that is far beyond their years.

The music department feature staff that have worked not only as teachers, but also as professional musicians and are well equipped to nurture the wonderful talent that is so prevalent at the school and also foster and encourage new talent.

Music is taught formally in the classroom and also in the more formal extracurricular Orchestra and Choir. Less formal extracurricular groups also provide additional opportunities for students, such as the Rock Band, Jazz Band and String Quartet. Students are also encouraged to establish their own ensembles and take responsibility for rehearsing them in one of the well- equipped rooms within the music department at lunch times or after school.

The school covers the curriculum in a broad and creative manner through constant incorporation of the key musical processes of listening and appraising, composing and performing. These processes are applied through teaching instrumental techniques, working with varied musical genres and learning to play a wide variety of pieces of music both as individuals and ensembles.

The school has several important musical events in the calendar. These are Remembrance Day, the Christmas Concert, Commemoration Day, and the Summer Concert. These concerts provide an opportunity for all students to showcase their talent in front of an audience and gain a flavour of what it means to be a professional musician. In addition to the school concerts, ensembles are afforded opportunity perform in the community at local lunch clubs and charity events.

Key Stage 3

At key stage 3, the music department aims to harness and nurture natural talent by providing a broad but very well considered curriculum. Students will finish their key stage 3 studies as a seasoned musician and have the knowledge and skills to continue music in their own time and/or, for the most gifted, progress to GCSE and subsequently A Level courses.

Year 7
Students are provided with technical skills in order for them to play a variety of instruments. Teaching technical skills is essential, as it provides a vehicle for conveying musical ideas. Students learn keyboard, guitar, drum kit, recorder and vocal skills. Learning the skills involves playing, composing and appraising many different pieces of music of classical, popular and world music origin.

Year 8
Students are already equipped with basic instrumental skills, which they will further develop. The main focus at Year 8 is exploration of varied genres of music, taking the established musical techniques and using these to learn to play, compose and appraise Blues, African, Indian, Samba, Pop and Classical pieces of  music as individuals, and part of small ensembles.

Year 9
Students will have had exposure to many different styles of music and be adept at playing one or more instruments. The focus of the studies at Year 9 is to improve the technical and musical quality of performances and compositions. This is achieved by focussing on one piece of music for several weeks in order to ensure that it is performed very well and any appraisal that follows the performance is very detailed, focussing on areas for development. Students will specialise on one particular musical instrument and learn to play pieces of Classical, Popular and World origin. The detailed focus on particular pieces of music for a sustained period of time prepares students for the GCSE course, where attention to detail within performance, appraisal and composition fields is paramount.

Music is assessed both formally and informally at key stage 3, where progress is rarely linear. Formal assessment lessons, where students perform and are assessed according to technical skill are scheduled 3 times per year. In addition to these assessment lessons, students are assessed on an on-going basis, according to demonstration of technical skill, compositional skills and appraisal. These skills are noted and recorded where appropriate.

In support of your daughter’s progress, you should take a keen interest in the music that they are learning. The girls are asked to continue with their instrumental practice as homework. If they have their own musical instrument, they can, of course, use this to practice. If your daughter does not have a musical instrument, she may practice for homework in any of the department rooms (via our booking system) using school instruments at lunch times, break times and after school.

In addition to the above, it is highly recommended that you encourage your daughter to attend the school choir. If your daughter plays a musical instrument, she should be encouraged to join the school orchestra. These activities provide invaluable opportunity for your daughter to work with other musicians.

Key Stage 4

GCSE music is studied using the EDEXCEL syllabus. This specification requires students to demonstrate skill in 3 musical disciplines; performance, composition and musical analysis. These disciplines are weighted as 30%, 30% and 40% respectively. Full details of the specification can be obtained by accessing the EDEXCEL website.

The course is particularly rigorous and it is recommended that students are of at least ABRSM grade 3 standard or equivalent on a musical instrument in order to flourish. Exceptions will be made in exceptional circumstances.

Name of Subject: Music
Examination Board Syllabus: EDEXCEL 2MUO1

Students are assessed by 2 methods in accordance with the specification. The performance and composition elements of the course are undertake during controlled hours within lesson times. The analysis examination is taken during the summer months of the second year of the course. On-going assessment takes place throughout the duration of the course, including practice performances, practice compositions and practice examination questions.

To support your daughter's progress ensure that she is practicing her musical instrument on a daily basis in preparation for the performance element of the course. Ask your daughter what style the pieces of music she is composing are and ask if you can listen to them. Encourage your daughter to listen to the 12 pieces of music featured in the analysis examination (details available on the EDEXCEL website) on a regular basis. Talk to your daughter about these 12 pieces of music and find out what she knows about them.

Extra Curricular

The music department currently runs the following extracurricular ensembles, open to all students:

Jazz Band – Monday 3.15pm - 4.00pm

Whole school choir – Wednesday 1.00pm - 1.30pm

Whole school orchestra – Wednesday 3.15pm - 4.00pm

There are many more student-led ensembles that rehearse in the practice rooms at lunch times and after school, which are available to all students via the department booking system.

We aim to provide students with opportunity to attend workshops with professional musicians and have strong links with many London based musical establishments including the Band of Her Majesty’s Scots Guards. Students are invited to attend trips to performances by the English National Opera and also west end musicals to mention just a few opportunities. The school is on central London’s doorstep and taking students to performances and workshops that will enrich and nurture their musicianship is extremely straightforward.