The Music Department, part of our Performing Arts Faculty, state their vision as 'Performing Arts, performing always'.
Based in the well-equipped Curie Block, the Music department proudly boasts an iMac suite featuring 26 iMacs with MIDI keyboards with Sibelius, Garage Band and Logic Pro X software. They also benefit from an additional 20 computers equipped with Sibelius software, a recital room and six fully restored practice rooms, each with digital keyboards, bass, guitar, multi channel amp and microphone for Musical Futures style learning. At KS3, students receive one lesson a week and those students who opt to continue their studies of music at KS4 benefit from five lessons a fortnight. GCSE results in 2020 were particularly impressive, with 69% of students achieving grades 9-7 and 100% of students achieving a grade 5+. Music Technology Level 2 achieved similar impressive results with a positive Progress 8 score, with boys in particular achieving a grade above their intended target.
Lessons are typically practical-based, enabling students to take part, regardless of what they consider to be their abilities in music. A variety of different schemes of work mean that students are involved in composition, performance and listening, and that they can utilise music technology alongside building interpersonal skills as part of group work.
The department is highly regarded in the school, in no small part thanks to its extensive enrichment programme and its belief that everyone can access music. Involvement in national and regional music festivals – including the work with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra's ‘Sound Around’ Project – ensures the department stays at the cutting edge of music initiatives and offers an outstanding range of opportunities to its students. There are also strong links between our Music and Drama departments, enabling students to develop and showcase their talents in a variety of areas.
Both in and outside school time, students can take part in a plethora of clubs and bands. These include the Opus Instrumental Group, choir, string ensemble, Rock School, wind and guitar choir, saxophone ensemble, world music group and music technology club, meaning that all talents and abilities are catered for and nurtured.
Each year the department is keen to become involved with a many outside companies and specialists. Over the past three years, students have been finalists for the AMP awards, performed for the BBC 10 Pieces, taken part in vocal events such as Voice in a Million, Music in the Round and iSing, and directed and staged the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra for ‘Sound Around’. Students recently took part in a project called Stage Invasion, and the band Villis won a recording contract to release a single.
Annually the Music Department works alongside the Drama Department to organise four key events: a whole school musical, a themed Summer Showcase, a Christmas Soiree and Ridgewood Young Performer. RYP is a Performing Arts talent competition for solo dance, drama and music students. 2019's winner was Eleanor Green (Music). 2019's summer themed concert was ‘Arabian Nights', which was performed in the open air and featured the incredible New York Brass Band. In early 2020, the Music Department collaborated with the Drama Department in a four-day musical theatre showcase, featuring two live dogs, to stage the musical 'Legally Blonde'.
Ridgewood Music Department offers the following instrumental lessons:
- Woodwind (Piccolo, Flute, Oboe, Clarinet, Saxophone, Bassoon)
- Brass (Cornet, Trumpet, Trombone, French horn, Tuba)
- Upper Strings (Violin, Viola)
- Lower Strings (Cello, Double Bass)
- Percussion (Marimba, Xylophone, Glockenspiel)
- Drum kit
Lessons happen on a weekly basis for a period of 35 weeks and take place in the music practice rooms in Curie block. The instrumental timetable is located in Curie and in Student Services where students should check their instrumental lesson time. Instruments can also be loaned from the music service. Lesson are allocated by the Head of Music based on student ability/standard. All Year 7 students will automatically be given a 15 minute lesson and Opus students have a 15 minute lesson or shared 20 minute lesson dependent on standard.
This takes place in line with our CF cycle and involves a key assessment for each scheme using the STEPS criteria which prepares students for the rigours of GCSE.
All year groups complete a baseline assessment to assess individual starting points and ensure that their musical education is tailored and personalised to the individual.
Useful web links:
Overview of topics:
KS4 students follow the new specification AQA GCSE Music syllabus or the NCFE Level 2 Technical Award in Music Technology (601/6774/9).
- Understanding music
- Performing music
- Composing music
Students develop their performing skills through individual tuition with a specialist teacher on their chosen instrument (free of charge) in both a solo and ensemble capacity or via technology.
Students’ composing skills will also be developed through a series of workshop sessions that will provide students with the building blocks to create two successful compositions, one written to a brief and the other a free composition. Both compositions are assessed on the student’s ability to demonstrate:
- Creative and effective selection and use of musical elements
- Appropriate selection and use of musical elements (to the compositional intention)
- Technical and expressive control in the use of musical elements
Each composition must demonstrate a selection and use of least four types of musical element as follows:
- At least two of rhythm, metre, texture, melody, structure, form
- At least two of harmony, tonality, timbre, dynamics, phrasing, articulation
The students further develop their understanding of these elements through the four areas of study: Western classical tradition 1650-1910, Popular music, Traditional Music and Western classical tradition from 1910.
The course is split into 3 units.
- Performance as an instrumentalist and/or vocalist and/or via technology
The weighting for the course is as follows:
- Composing and Performing coursework (60%)
- Understanding music listening examination (40%)
Useful web links:
Students have access to their own personal Focus on Sound account for access to listening clips, contextual and theoretical understanding: https://www.musicfirst.co.uk/app/
Students also have access to the music library 'I like music': http://www.broadchart.com/
NCFE Level 2 Technical Award in Music Technology