Year 8 Music

Curriculum Intents

Music is a significant part of all our lives. Our curriculum aims to deliver a rich and diverse appreciation of the wonder of music all around us, through understanding, performing and creating. We aim to provide a curriculum which ignites a desire to engage with, and appreciate a range of genres, and make links through time with key musical concepts. Our focus is for all students to have access to an all inclusive curriculum with the range of skills required to achieve optimum musical understanding, the technical, the constructive and the expressive.

Musical Journey

Our curriculum journey is sequenced to impart the knowledge necessary for successful application of the topic taught. Retrieval across units is a priority, this refreshes and embeds the information previously taught and builds upon it. Students experience development in a range of knowledge classes.

Musical Knowledge

‘Tacit’ knowledge which is gained through experience and immersion within a task or topic.

‘Declarative’ knowledge which pulls upon the facts and information stored.

‘Procedural’ knowledge that is exercised through the opportunity to perform and demonstrate expression and creativity.

To exercise this knowledge students are provided with regular opportunities to implement their skills and understanding practically. Topics across the curriculum all reflect aspects of the three learning focuses – Listening and Appraising, Performance and Composition.

We believe our curriculum demonstrates and promotes skills of a wider nature outside of the music classroom, students are taught the value of being part of an equal team within group work, where each person has a specific and essential role. Through the very nature of learning new practical skills inevitably comes the requirement to strive to succeed through independent practice and focussed dedication. We believe this skill is valuable within many aspects of social development.

As a department our focus is to teach knowledge based theories which can be demonstrated and enhanced through practical implementation. Our students are challenged and inspired to question theories taught for clarification, this can prompt reflection and adaptation to teaching methods and strategies.

Music demands high levels of problem solving, we provide students with the tools and methods to create and perform their own music and inspire them with a broad range of styles and genres. We assess through observation, verbal questioning and written evidence. Open ended, and hinge questioning is used to lead students to recap and explore a greater depth of musical appreciation.

Autumn Term 1 

Tonality and Film Music

Grammar

Within this unit the elements of music are revisited. Students are required to use the correct musical terminology when discussing and analysing how music is used within film. Students are introduced to tonality and are taught the knowledge of major and minor scales.

Dialectic

Listening and appraising activities require students to recognise the differences between Major and ‘Minor keys. Students are encouraged to explore the ambiguity within tonality, and how both major and minor keys can be interchangeable to reflect a range of emotions. Students compose a short extract to be used within a film relating to a theme of choice.

Rhetoric

This unit culminates in a differentiated composition task. Students are required to notate and perform their own leitmotif. Assessment is based on the quality of composition and how closely it reflects the intended brief. This topic provides students with the basic knowledge of tonality which is expanded upon in later units and revisited at GCSE. A composition assessment mark is given for this unit.

In school...
How can I support this unit at home...

Students are encouraged to explore the value of music in film. Students are regularly engaging with films and other media that uses music as one of its defining features to support and enhance a plot or character. The impact music and sound has in film is extremely significant and without it the effect would be significantly compromised.

Challenge yourself to analyse how music and sound effects are used within all media you are exposed to. Try watching a film with the sounds off, how does it effect it’s impact? Can you identify the different orchestral instruments you can hear, how would you describe the tonality, major or minor.

Autumn Term 2

Blues and Jazz

Grammar

This unit will enhance students knowledge of the development of popular music. Students will be introduced to new melodic and rhythmic devices such as improvisation and syncopation. Harmony will be explored using the 12 bar blues structure. Students will learn how blues music is constructed harmonically and melodically. This unit aims to recognise how popular music has developed over the decades and how the Blues and Jazz have contributed to this.

Dialectic

Students use their analytical skills to identify the main characteristics of blues music. The are encourage to be aware where the harmony is changing through the ’12 bar blues’ chord sequence. Students learn how to model the 12 bar blues using a keyboard enhancing their knowledge on chords and harmony. Improvisation is taught through using the ‘blues scale’ as a stimulus. This develops on from knowledge built on tonality in the previous unit.

Rhetoric

This unit focuses on developing students composition skills. It is encouraged that all students perform to the class demonstrating their creativity through improvisation and working in a pair to collaborate on knowledge and skills learnt.

In school...
How can I support this unit at home...

Students are encouraged to perform in class to share their achievements with their peers and encourage and motivate others. The performance element of this unit contributes to confidence building, a skill required across other curricular areas. It is relevant that students are aware of how the music they listen to today has been developed from a range of factors, blues and jazz being one of these main influences. This genre remains present in some form in the popular music of today.

Become creative in the choice of music you listen to. Try to identify blues features such as walking bass lines, improvisation, syncopation. Research what genre of music you enjoy listening to and discover how the blues have contributed to this. Why is it known as this genre? Does this style reflect more than one genre? Discover how much modern popular music is made up of a huge mix of sub genres.

Spring Term 1

Harmony and Songwriting

Grammar

Students learn the structure of a pop song and become familiar with the 4 chords most commonly used to harmonise melodies. Students are taught how a 3 note chord (triad) is constructed. They understand the variety of both major and minor white note chords.

Dialectic

Students practise playing a common chords sequence. The basics of how to write a melody are taught and students experiment composing their own melody used a highly structured method for direction

Rhetoric

Performance opportunities are provided each lesson. This unit is assessed on the quality of compositional techniques, harmonice understanding, and fluency in performance.

In school...
How can I support this unit at home...

Students learn how harmony is used songs. The concept of using chords to accompany a melody is explored within pop songs, and students are required to identify where chords change and which chords are used to harmonise effectively. They learn how to play at least four chords on the keyboard and become aware of common chord sequences. Melody writing is then taught and students complete a song which includes melodic and harmonic content. This is then recorded into a sequencing programme and performed. Bass clef notation is also introduced.

Listen analytically to popular music and try to recognise and identify where the harmony and chords change.

Spring Term 2

Guitar Project

Grammar

Students will learn about the concept of a ‘Riff’ and chords. For this unit the focus will be exploring a range of famous riffs and chord patterns found in rock and pop music. Students will explore guitar playing techniques, develop their knowledge of harmony and tonality and learn to read TAB notation.

Dialectic

Students will identify a range of guitar riffs through listening and appraising tasks. Students will enhance their performance skills through exploring and practising playing guitar riffs and chord sequences. The practical application of this unit will incorporate a range of group, paired and individual practices and performance opportunities.

Rhetoric

The learning outcome from this unit will be a performance of a famous riff or chord sequence. Students will be assessed on the progress made through practising these new skills and a performance demonstrating their achievements in accuracy, fluency and expression.

In school...
How can I support this unit at home...

This unit will aim to encourage the uptake of a stringed instrument possibly even ukulele or guitar lessons. Students are encouraged to attend the guitar group that takes place weekly after school and use the facilities within the department at lunchtimes to improve their skills.

Continue to practise the skills learnt at home, you could even purchase a guitar and explore the options of taking lessons. Research some more songs that use the chords learnt and play along with them. Teach yourself some more chords to provide even more options of repertoire. Listen to a wider range of popular repertoire and try to recognise where the chords change. Can you hear the bass line? Is there a memorable riff?

Summer Term 1

World Music Fusions

Grammar

This unit will develop students knowledge of world music. Extending their learning from year 7 exploring Latin American fusions. Knowledge learnt from the African music unit will be the focus for development during this unit. Students will study the cultural influences around Salsa, Samba & Bhangra music. Specific rhythmic and melodic techniques will be taught and demonstrated through a range of practical and theoretical activities.

Dialectic

Students will learn traditional samba, salsa and bhangra rhythms as the driving element in this genre. There will be a focus on texture and how a range of polyrhythms are used within its form. Students will learn how these styles have developed from previous knowledge of Indian and African music.

Rhetoric

This unit will involve ensemble performance. This will teach students the value of performing as an ensemble such as being responsibility for a significant part within the group. Performance activities promotes the expectation to refine and practise a skill to achieve potential. Students will complete a workbook with some low stakes appraising questions and complete some written composition tasks.

In school...
How can I support this unit at home...

World music provides insight into different cultures, communication patterns, rhythms, sounds and ways of making music. Through its nature world music encourages participation in group work and being part of a team. With cultural diversity on the increase the need for students to have cross-cultural knowledge and experiences is very valuable.

Listen to a range of music from different cultures, preferably one we haven’t studied. Watch some performances by some well known world music musicians and try to recognise the techniques they use and how they relate to the concepts studied. Research the styles of music popular within a variety of cultures when travelling. Join some local music groups such as African drumming, Samba bands.

Summer Term 2

Music for Cartoons

Grammar

Students are taught specific terminology used within cartoon music production such as ‘Foley’ and ‘Mickey Mousing’ There is analysis of how music is used in cartoon and identify between background music and action sounds. Sonority and other key musical elements are discussed and their purpose and significance observed.

Dialectic

Students experiment exploring action and background music to a choice of cartoon clip. Music technology skills are developed through using Logic Pro X as a platform for this composition. Students are taught more advanced editing skills using automation, panning and effects. Accuracy is prioritised and students will be encouraged and required to evaluate and edit their work to improve quality.

Rhetoric

Students are assessed through composition outcome and how appropriate the soundtrack is to the motion picture. There will be opportunity each lesson to share progression through the topic and collate peer and teacher feedback. WT, WA, WB assessment criteria will be made explicitly clear throughout the this unit.

In school...
How can I support this unit at home...

This unit links to the role of music within Media. It provides students with the opportunity to express their creativity through a broad and versatile brief. This unit promotes higher thinking skills and requires students to discuss and select appropriate sounds with a working partner. Develops teamwork skills

Focus on the role of the music when watch cartoons. Turn the sound off, what sounds/music would you choose to accompany the scene? Can you recognise the instrumentation, does it use effects/automation/panning?

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