Music at Stoke Park focuses on all aspect of music-making, using music as a way to communicate and express ourselves to unlock creativity. We have a supportive, inclusive, lively community that builds on expression, enjoyment, excellence, pride and success.
Music is a powerful tool and a universal language that connects with all people in society. It can be used to promote good mental health to communicate emotions and help with struggles as well as build up self-confidence and sense of achievement. A way to interact with the world, music provides a forum for people to come together and share experience. Studies show that students who actively participate in music are likely to do better in their overall studies with boosted scores. The creative industries are worth approximately £80 billion to the economy and there are many careers in performing, composing, production, gaming, business, law, ICT, marketing, promotion, manufacturing, retail, management and many more. Many employers and universities look for imaginative and creative thinking students able to demonstrate independence, self-discipline and students who contribute to their wider society.
We incorporate performance, composition, improvisation, listening (critical engagement) and music production into the learning journey which underpins the curriculum at all levels. These skills are built upon over the Key stage 3 journey giving a rich and broad experience of all disciplines. We build up our culture capital by teaching themes in context – discovering different influences and traditions in historic and cultural contexts. We have an inclusive curriculum that encourages students to collaborate and be inquisitive of ideas and themes. Through our critical engagement strand students are encouraged to share and perform ideas in an open environment designed to improve confidence and evaluate success’s and identify improvements.
We are proud to have developed a curriculum that is balanced, broad and also focuses on depth of skills and knowledge to give students exposure to a wide range of skills and experiences to find their own discrete specialisms and to gain fundamental skills to gain quality musicianship. This is delivered through whole class music-making, independent study and small group/pair work. Through encouragement and challenge, students have lots of opportunities to develop in and beyond the classroom. The design of the curriculum ensures students have the necessary skills to move through the different key stages with confidence. The foundations from KS3 are built upon at KS4 and KS5 through our vocational pathways. There is flexibility at these stages to specialise in performance, composition, music production or music business (Events management). There are many opportunities for students of all disciplines to further enrich their classroom experiences through our enrichment programs, music instrument lessons, ambassador program and numerous performance opportunities.
Through the three-year Key Stage 3 journey students will strengthen and revisit their musicianship skills through different units that encompass Singing skills, Piano skills, Chair drumming, Ukulele skills, Djembe drumming, Samba skills and Steel Pan techniques. These disciplines are taught through themes such as Western Classical music, Popular Music, Blues/Jazz and World Music. At Key Stage 4 students study vocational pathways that allow for further development as a performer/music producer by applying skills and techniques in music performances and creations. Students are expected to reflect on their progress and areas of improvements by exploring different styles/genres of music and taking part in practical workshops to understand the music creation process. Complementing this learning students learn about different roles in the music industry and investigate relationships between different areas of the music industry. At Key Stage 5 students have a wide flexibility to explore and develop in a preferred area through optional disciplines such as being a lead performer, leading a music making activity, auditioning for music, live music performance, live sound recording, podcast production, practical musicianship and music events management. Students are required to understand how to plan for a career in the music industry and develop skills in writing a music dissertation.
There are many wide-ranging opportunities outside the classroom for students to engage with. In Year 7 students can sign up to the Future Musicians program in either violin or woodwind, join the Bridge Choir or audition for the Bridge Musical. All year groups can elect for dedicated small group/pair or individual music instrument or vocal lessons delivered by one of our visiting specialist musicians. Our extra and super-curricular opportunities run alongside the curriculum consisting of a range of groups such as Bridge choir, Senior Choir, Guitar Club, Rock Band, Modulo orchestra group and Drum Circle. Students from all stages have a range of opportunities to perform or get involved in music related activities including regular concerts, showcases, talent shows, celebration assemblies, workshops, trips and our whole-school annual musicals. Students can also gain skills and participate in other areas such as live sound engineering, lighting operation and events management – making our events and shows students centric with the students at the heart of the whole music department. We have excellent links with our wider community and professional partnerships in the city and beyond and participate in several programs to offer a wide range of professional experiences for workshops, visits and opportunities to perform in world-class venues. We regular work with universities and music conservatories allowing students to aspire to and work towards higher education and beyond.
Bringing student to the centre of everything we do in the music department has led to us gaining the ‘Music Mark’ and working towards our ‘Arts Mark’. Through this we have a training program for our young arts and music ambassadors which develops leadership in students by gaining skills, experience and responsibilities which aids to the community ethos allowing students to develop relationships and offer support to other students. We pride ourselves on our inclusive, inspiring and encouraging ethos and curriculum where all students can be successful through each key stage to realise their full potential with aspirations for a successful career in the industry and through higher education pathways which music has shown to be of immense value to a wide range of disciplines studied. We believe that our department’s commitment and enthusiasm is the key to providing an enjoyable and rewarding music experience of high quality learning and engagement.