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|Head of Music||Mrs A Cussell|
|Music Teachers||Miss Z Barber|
|Curriculum Support||Mrs C North|
Welcome to the Music Department pages of the website. Chelmer Valley is very proud of the music it offers. We have a thriving, exciting department which is always busy, both in school and in the local community. We are a department of two fulltime classroom teachers and 6 visiting peripatetic teachers.
We operate a “Music for All” policy. All students are given the opportunity to participate in the Instrumental Tuition Scheme, the extra-curricular activities programme and, within the classroom, the opportunity to explore a variety of musical instruments and styles.
We put on regular concerts and recital evenings for our students to showcase their talents to family and friends and celebrate the end of the academic year by hosting a summer festival.
Key Stage Three
During years 7-9 students study a variety of topics ranging from Jazz and the Blues and African drumming to Folk and Medieval Music and Advertising and the Media. Although key stage 3 Music is practical based, students will develop their skills in listening and analysing through the study of many different Musical genres. Students acquire skills in performance and composition throughout key stage 3 and are encouraged to use these skills in each topic they study. Students are assessed individually or within a group at least once a term in years 7-9 and targets will be given in line with the new step system.
Key Stage 3 Music
At Key Stage 3 students have one Music lesson per week and cover a variety of topics and projects. They have the opportunity to study a broad range of musical styles and develop their skills in composing and performing.
Some of the topics studied at KS3:
Key Stage Four
Students follow the EDEXCEL exam board for KS4
The GCSE course is divided in to 3 components, Performance, Composition and Listening and appraising. Students will perform regularly throughout year 10 and 11 on their chosen instrument or voice and they will be assessed and graded on their work. They will have their final practical assessment in February of Year 11 and this mark will go towards their final coursework grade.
GCSE Students are expected to learn a musical instrument to be able to fulfil the course effectively, therefore, in Year 10 we provide every GCSE Music student with a free instrumental lesson.
In year 11, students will receive a free Music Technology lesson in order to complete their two required compositions. This lesson will be a one to one tutorial with our Music Technology specialist and all compositions will be completed on the music programme Cubase.
The final component of the course is a 2 hour ‘Listening and Analysing’ exam which is taken at the end of the two-year course. In preparation for this exam students will study 8 set works throughout the course.
The 8 set works students will study:
Area of study
Instrumental Music 1700-1820
Music for stage and screen
Key Stage Five
Music BTEC (Extended Certificate - Equivalent to 1 A Level)
Students will complete 4 units. 3 are mandatory and one is a free choice.
Unit 1 Ensemble performance
Unit 2 Music theory and harmony
Unit 3 – Professional practice in the music industry
Students can choose from one of the following options:
Composition Music promotion
Musical performance styles
Music software skills
Who would be suitable?
Obviously students with a musical background will gain the most from this course as there is an element of musical theory and this is one of the mandatory units. They will have to study scales, musical notations and harmony etc., however it isn’t impossible for a student with limited knowledge of music to complete the course, they just have to have a willingness to learn.
If they don’t play an instrument, then they MUST be able to sing (They don’t need to have the greatest voice but they must be willing to sing in front of an audience!)
We offer a wide range of extra-curricular activities in Music. These clubs change each year depending on the demand for specific groups but listed below is an example of some of the groups which we currently run.
Pop choir (KS3)
Senior Choir (Audition only) – Rehearsals take place every Thursday 3:10 – 4:30pm
Boys Aloud (KS3 boys)
Cadence (Audition only - Girls upper school vocal group)
We operate a ‘doors open’ approach at break times and lunch times where students can come in and practice in the department
Concerts and Productions
The Music department host two annual concerts, one at Christmas and the other at the end of the summer term. The concerts are an opportunity to showcase performances from our extra-curricular clubs as well as giving students an opportunity to perform as a soloist or within an ensemble.
The Drama and Music departments work closely together each year to put on a whole school production where students get the opportunity to combine their creative talents and use their acting, singing and dancing skills.
Our largest ensemble, The Senior Choir, has been lucky enough to have performed at the Royal Festival Hall, The Barbican and The Royal Albert Hall after making it to the final of the Barnardos ‘National Choir competition’. We also have close links with Farleigh Hospice and regularly take part in performances to raise money for the charity. This includes annual carol singing at Chelmsford train station.
Tuition is available in the following subjects:
Piano, Keyboard, Drums, Guitar, Bass guitar, Singing, Trombone, Trumpet, Violin, Viola, Saxophone, Flute, Clarinet, Theory of Music and Music Technology.
- Lessons are 15 minutes long and cost £250. Students will have a minimum of 30 lessons per academic year.
- You can also opt for a double lesson of half an hour. The cost of a double lesson is £500 for the academic year.
- You can opt to have a shared lesson (two students share a half an hour lesson) however it is the students responsibility to organise who they would share their lesson with.
To Apply please download application form at the bottom of the page.
The Hire of Instruments for Lessons:
The school does not provide instruments, other equipment or sheet music. Tutors should be consulted before instruments are purchased or hired to advise about suitability. It is possible to hire instruments through Essex Music services or from ‘Allegro Music’ in Chelmsford town centre.
Leaving Instruments in the Music Department:
There is a music cupboard where instruments can be stored during the day when students have their lesson. Instruments are left in school at students’ risk. The school cannot take responsibility for any instrument left unattended. At weekends the store cupboard is locked but during the school day it is kept unlocked in order for students to access their instrument.
Contract for Instrumental Lessons:
We ask parents to pay for a complete year’s tuition as we have an annual contract with our instrumental tutors. Consequently, we cannot give refunds or waive fees if a pupil decides to withdraw from the tuition during the year.
Our contract with you guarantees students 30 lessons throughout the year. Occasionally a lesson has to be missed through no fault of the student and in these cases, lessons will be made up by the tutor.
In the event of failure to offer the minimum of 30 lessons, the school will refund fees as appropriate. Students are required to attend all lessons. We cannot take responsibility for lessons missed due to illness or forgetfulness. All instrumental tutors keep records of attendance throughout the year, and parents will be informed of poor attendance.
The days and times when instrumental tutors come in to school are clearly displayed in the Music department and when students sign up for instrumental tuition their name is added to the timetable. New Year 7 students will be informed of the instrumental system and will be shown how to read the timetables and find their allocated teaching room.
Students should check the board regularly to ensure that they attend their lesson at the correct time each week.
All students taking instrumental or singing lessons are expected to find time each day to practise as it is not possible to make progress without this. Practise should be scheduled in to the daily routine along with time set aside for homework. Tutors will give each student guidance about how much practise they should be completing but the recommended daily rehearsal time for GCSE and A level students is a minimum of half an hour.
The school has a variety of musical ensembles for students to participate in. I strongly recommend that students receiving instrumental tuition either attend one of these groups or ensure that they join a music ensemble outside school in order for them to gain experience of performing with other musicians. This will also give them the opportunity of getting involved with school productions and shows.
GCSE Music students:
GCSE Music students will receive free instrumental tuition throughout year 10. In year 11 students will complete their compositional coursework and therefore the department will provide a free weekly composition lesson with one of our music specialists to support the completion of their coursework. If they wish to continue with their instrumental tuition, payment will need to be made.
All queries and comments regarding instrumental tuition should be addressed to Mrs A Cussell