Head of Music
Mr. M. Ward, B.A. (Hons), M.Phil. (Birmingham), P.G.C.E. (B.C.U.)
Ms. S. Vaughan, B.A. (Exeter), M.Ed. (O.U.), P.G.C.E. (Manchester), L.T.C.L.
Piano and Cello – Mr. S. Czepiel, B.A. (Lancaster), M.Mus (London)
Classical Guitar – Mr. T. Knight, Cert. Ed., A.G.S.M.
Dhol and Tabla – Mr. H. Mathuru
Violin and Viola – Miss. V. Strudwick, B.Mus. (Birmingham Conservatoire)
Woodwind – Mrs. C. Buxton, B.Mus. (Hons)
The main primary aim of the music department is to:
provide students with an exciting opportunity to explore music through performing, composing and listening
More specifically we aim to enable students to:
- understand the basic elements of music.
- perform on a number of different instruments (including using their voice) in a range of different styles.
- compose music for different purposes on their own and in groups.
- develop their confidence to perform to other students.
- use technology to enhance their understanding of music.
The department is currently staffed by one full-time teacher and one part-time teacher. The department team is completed by five instrumental tutors who teach over 100 students during their weekly visits. There is one large teaching space which is fitted out with a piano, Hifi system, projector (with SmartBoard and visualiser), 15 21-inch iMacs with a 5-ocatve MIDI keyboard attached. Each iMac has GarageBand, Sibelius 7.5 and Logic Pro X. In addition to this there is a KS4 / KS5 teaching room adjacent to the main room, a rehearsal room and a walk-in storeroom, practice rooms, office space and priority access to the neighbouring School Hall.
The programme encourages and challenges students to develop their musical knowledge, understanding and skills through the following activities: composing, performing and listening as well as reviewing and appraising. The wide variety of musical styles covered includes: classical, blues, rock and pop, Latin American, African and Oriental. Students receive a 50-minute music lesson each week throughout Key Stage 3.
Units of work include:
- discovering the musical elements with Year 7
- experiencing world music (Indonesian gamelan and Indian Classical music) in Year 8
- composing a film sound track for Year 9
This two-year course provides opportunities for students to develop composing, performing and listening/appraising skills and to increase their musical knowledge and understanding by exploring four areas of study: western classical, 20th century, popular and world music.
Unit 1 – Performing (30%) – Courework
Throughout the course students have opportunities to perform, both within their Music timetable and also in School events including concerts, recitals and HGS Young Musician of the Year. For their final assessment students are required to perform one solo and one ensemble item on any instrument, or with their voice, or through music technology. GCSE Music students are entitled to free instrumental tuition at school.
Unit 2 Composing Coursework (30%)
Students develop their skills in response to a variety of tasks based on each area of study. For their final assessment students plan and compose two pieces of music, each as an original composition or an arrangement of existing music in an appropriate style connected with a chosen area of study. Our students have access to the Music Department’s Applemac ICT suite (Garageband, Sibelius and Cubase/Reason software).
Unit 3 – Listening and Appraising – (40%) Examination
A wide range of styles and genres are explored, focusing on three set pieces of music representative of each area of study. At the end of the course students sit a one and a half hour written examination with questions based on music from the areas of study played on CD.
A-Level (EDUQAS) – 2-Year Pathway
Component 1: Performing – Options A or B
Non–exam assessment: externally assessed by a visiting examiner.
Option A: (35%) A performance consisting of a minimum of three pieces. At least one of the pieces should be as a soloist. The other pieces may be as a soloist, or as part of an ensemble, or a combination of both. One piece must reflect the musical characteristics of one area of study. At least one other piece must reflect the musical characteristics of one other, different area of study.
Option B: (25%) A performance consisting of a minimum of two pieces, either as a soloist, or as part of an ensemble, or a combination of both. One piece must reflect the musical characteristics of one area of study.
Component 2: Composing – Options A or B
Non-exam assessment: externally assessed by WJEC Eduqas.
Option A: (25%) Two compositions. One must reflect the musical techniques and conventions of the Western Classical Tradition, and be in response to a brief set by WJEC Eduqas. Learners will have a choice of four briefs, which will be released during the first week of September in the academic year in which the assessment is to be taken.The second composition is a free composition.
Option B (35%) Three compositions. One must reflect the musical techniques and conventions of the Western Classical Tradition, and be in response to a brief set by WJEC Eduqas. Learners will have a choice of four briefs, which will be released during the first week of September in the academic year in which the assessment is to be taken. The second composition must reflect the musical characteristics of a different area of study (i.e. not the Western Classical Tradition), and the third composition is a free composition.
Component 3: Appraising
Written examination: 2 hours 15 minutes approximately
40% of qualification
The written examination focuses on three areas of study.
Area of study A: The Western Classical Tradition covering The Development of the Symphony, 1750 – 1900. Learners should choose one of the following set works for detailed analysis, and the other for general study:
Either: Symphony No.104 in D major, ‘London’ by Haydn or: Symphony No.4 in A major, ‘Italian’ by Mendelssohn
The second area of study should be selected from:
Area of study B: Rock and Pop (1960-2000)
Area of study C: Musical Theatre (Rodgers, Bernstein, Sondheim Schonberg, Lloyd Webber and Schwartz)
Area of study D: Jazz (1920-1960)
The third area of study should be selected from either,
Area of study E: Into the 20th Century, which includes 2 set works – Trio for Oboe, Bassoon and Piano, Movement II by Poulenc and Three Nocturnes, Number 1 Nuages by Debussy or,
Area of study F: Into the 21st Century, which includes two set works – Asyla, Movement 3, Ecstasio by Thomas Adès and String Quartet No.2 (Opus California) Movements 1, Boardwalk and 4, Natural Bridges by Sally Beamish
The musical instrument tuition scheme at H.G.S. offers one 20-minute lesson each week. We currently offer lessons on:
- Classical Guitar
In addition, our tutors join with the department’s staff in an extended curricular programme that includes :
- H.G.S. Lower School Choir
- String Ensemble
- Wind Ensemble
- Lower School Guitar Ensemble
- Upper School Guitar Ensemble
- Lower School Keyboard Ensemble
- Upper School Keyboard Ensemble
- Garageband Club
- Music Theory Class
Our annual calendar of events include the Winter Concert which takes place at Ladywood ARC, Instrumental Progress Evening (aimed primarily at those in years 7 and 8), H.G.S. Young Musician of the Year, Summer Concert and various other smaller recitals. Many of our talented musicians are involved in the Birmingham Schools’ Music ensembles, bands and orchestras, as well as a wide range of choral, music theatre and instrumental activities across the city and beyond. We enhance our students’ curricular experience through visiting artists’ workshops and trips out to Symphony Hall and other concert venues.
Have included venues such as :
- Birmingham Town Hall
- Birmingham Symphony
- Sheldonian Theatre, Oxford