The Music Department seeks to provide education and enjoyment through music, to all year groups in the school. Teaching takes place in a purpose-built Music Centre which includes two large classrooms/rehearsal rooms, 33 electronic keyboards, 31 music computers, Sibelius Software, interactive whiteboards, six practice rooms, instrument store and recording studio.
Years 7-9 (Key Stage 3)
Each class has a music lesson each week which follows and exceeds the National Curriculum guidelines. Pupils also have experience reading music; playing keyboards and other instruments; singing; composing and listening and learning about a wide range of music using the Opus series of textbooks.
Years 10-11 (GCSE)
Examination Board: Edexcel
In the Edexcel GCSE Music course we study eight set pieces: Defying Gravity (from the album of the cast recording of Wicked – S Schwartz); Main title/rebel blockade runner (from the soundtrack to Star Wars Episode IV – J Williams); Killer Queen (Queen); Music for a While (Purcell); Release (from the album ‘Volume 2: Release’ – Afro Celt Sound System); Samba Em Preludio (from the album ‘Esperanza’ – Esperanza Spalding); 3rd Movement from Brandenburg Concerto no. 5 in D major (J S Bach); 1st Movement from Piano Sonata no. 8 in C minor (‘Pathétique’ – Beethoven). The listening and writing test is then based mainly on these 8 pieces.
Most of the teaching time is devoted to studying the set pieces and to producing the two, 1–3 minute, compositions or arrangements. The latter can be the most challenging part of the course but eventually inspiration strikes and students enjoy making up their own songs, tunes and arrangements.
INSPIRED Sixth Form (A Level)
Click here to view the INSPIRED Sixth Form prospectus, turn to page 50/52 for the A Level Music and Music Technology section.
Music Lessons – About a third of the pupils in the school take individual music lessons in school with many others having private lessons outside school. Standards range from Beginners to Grade 8 and Diploma successes. Many pupils also take the Music Examinations of Trinity College during termly visits to school.
Co-curricular Activities – Co-curricular musical activities include Senior Choir, Junior Choir, Chamber Choirs, Senior Orchestra, Junior Orchestra, String Orchestra, Brass Band and Swing Band plus Aural and Music Theory classes. Groups normally meet for half an hour at lunch time with extra rehearsals before particular performances.
Performances – School music groups also contribute to our annual series of concerts, often performing a prelude to concerts by visiting artists. Pupils of different standards have the opportunity to perform in our annual Soloists Recital with every Wilmar Lodge group contributing to the School Concert at the end of the Spring Term. The annual Choral and Orchestral Gala Concert comes at the start of the Summer Term and features performances from the school orchestra and choral works by the Westholme Choral Society, which includes parents and friends of Westholme.
Productions – The Music Department contributes fully to school productions which have included Beauty& the Beast, Miss Saigon, The Phantom of the Opera, Annie, Carmen, Les Misérables, Oliver, The Magic Flute, West Side Story, Jesus Christ Superstar and Joseph. For each of the past twenty years, between 45 and 110 members of school choirs have undertaken a performing tour during the summer holidays, singing in such places as Salzburg, New York, Copenhagen, Paris, Monte Carlo and Florence. Televised reports on two previous Choir Tour Concerts can be found at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E0eEjroe5tU and http://tvslo.si/predvajaj/poletna-scena/ava2.142707318 the latter starts 19 minutes into the programme.