The Music Department at Abbey Gate College introduces pupils to a wide range of musical experiences, including musical history, composition and performance.
Aims of the Department are;
- To involve as many pupils as possible in a variety of musical experiences
- To introduce pupils to every type of music from around the world throughout history.
- To enable every pupil to experience performing music in class and through extra curricular activities.
- To give every pupil a foundation in musical knowledge which they can appreciate and build on through their lives.
Sibelius 7 is used by all pupils in class music lessons in association with the theory and composing work outlined below:
Pupils are introduced to the basic rudiments of music. These are then put into practice through composing and performing work which is related to descriptive elements. The pupils will also listen to Western and non Western music which has a descriptive aspect.
The rudiments of music from Year 7 are now further explored through the study of Chromaticism, Scales and Intervals. Further composition work is carried out using these elements along with related listening and some class singing.
The pupils will study how different structures and styles are used such as Variations, Modes and Blues. Composition work using these elements will be done individually and in groups with the opportunity to perform their compositions. Related listening is carried out to give examples of these elements.
There are three main elements to this course – Composing, Performing and Listening. Two compositions are produced with the candidates giving close attention to Rhythm & Metre, Harmony & Tonality, Texture & Melody, Timbre & Dynamics, Structure & Form. Solo and Ensemble work is performed and the Listening Test exam tests candidates on their ability to recognise the elements used in the composing. All candidates are encouraged to be ambitious in their work and aim for a higher standard than expected from the exam board Specification.
Educational visits and extra curricular activity
There are a number of Educational Visits as well as numerous extra-curricular musical activities for pupils to get involved with;
Chapel Choir - There are 75 singers in the choir some of whom are current and ex Cathedral Choristers. The choir rehearses twice a week and gives at least four performances per term. These performances include two services a year in Chester Cathedral for the whole school and an evensong in St Paul’s Cathedral London once a year at Easter. Each summer the choir has a tour either abroad or to an English Cathedral. These tours have included Poland, Czech Republic, Italy, Belgium and Westminster Abbey.
Young Voices Choir - This group of Year 7 pupils rehearses once a week and as well as the main purpose being a training choir for the Chapel Choir it performs at many school events and concerts throughout the year. It is directed by the singing teacher Mr Hartwell-Jones.
Concert Band - The band rehearses once a week and performs at events in and out of school several times a year. Any pupil from about grade 3 standard is invited to join. The band is directed by the brass teacher Mr Lewis.
Saighton Syncopators - This is a small dance band which meets weekly and is in demand to play at various social functions. Peripatetic Music Lessons Pupils are able to have extra music lessons in any of the following: singing, woodwind, brass, piano, guitar, drums and violin.
The Saightonians Barbershop Group - This has run for many years with a constant turnover of membership. The group performs in Concerts in and out of school.
Bi-Annual Musical Production - A Musical production is put on every two years in the Theatre in late November. Most recently we have staged Guys and Dolls and Oklahoma.
Rooms and resources
The music department has two large teaching rooms both of which are used for choir, band and other ensemble rehearsals. Housed in one room are 18 computers all with Sibelius 7 software for composing purposes and at each of the 18 stations there is a keyboard. In the other room there are 10 computers for use with GCSE and A level work also equipped with Sibelius 7. Three small rooms are available for instrumental and singing tuition all with a piano. The school has a number of instruments including 2 grand pianos and a variety of percussion instruments for classroom use. There is an extensive library of music for the choirs and band.