Music at Queen Anne’s School is very much alive and kicking! We have a thriving and busy Music programme which has plenty to offer aspiring musicians. Music is a compulsory curricular subject until Year 10 when it becomes an option at GCSE and A Level.
The aim of the music department is to give girls a working knowledge of the skills of music – Performing, Listening and Composing. We seek to improve their skills in each of these areas as well as to introduce and develop those who may not have been exposed to this previously.
The sound emanating from the music department drifts across the Quad throughout the day and is a constant reminder that music is thriving at the school, and with the new Scott Music Centre, at the heart of the school. Our podcast, QA Sounds, is a great way to share some of this music with us, just click on the button below:
Approximately two-thirds of the school learn a musical instrument and many take part in choirs and orchestras. Regular contact and work with professional musicians and composers nurtures and enthuses our girls to strive for excellence and creativity as well as giving them the skills of performance and confidence which are so valuable for their future lives and careers.
Music at Queen Anne’s is a central part of the life of the school with over forty performances annually.
Performances range from large-scale orchestras such as ‘The Academy of St Martin in the Fields’ and The Fine Arts Ensemble visiting the school, to the girls performing at London concert halls such as St John Smith’s Square and Westminster Abbey to informal workshops by visiting professionals such as VOCES8. Our ethos in the department is that it is good to perform, open to all to have a go as well as presenting a consistently high standard.
Students collaborate with students from The Oratory School as part of several concerts throughout the academic year. This enables the students to engage in an exciting and challenging repertoire, which enhances their performing skills.
There are regular opportunities for students to be involved in workshops with visiting professional musicians and attend the Live@ QA Professional Concert Series. They are also encouraged to be involved in various musical groups including three Choirs, Chamber Orchestra, Saxaholics, Clarinetix, Flute Groups, Big Band and Concert Band. Tours are organised annually and have included visits to New York, Seville, Rome and Krakow.
Lower School Curriculum
Give students a working knowledge of the basic skills of Music – Performing, Listening and Composing
Improve their skills in each of these areas as well as to introduce and develop those who may not have been exposed to this previously
L4, 4s and U4 (Year 7, 8 & 9)
Students will learn basic keyboard skills and, if they have keyboard skills already, will have their knowledge extended. They will also be introduced to an orchestral instrument through a group lesson once a week. They will perform to each other and sing as a group.
Students will listen to a wide variety of music and learn to play melodies and rhythms related to this. Each term they will study a set work, such as Vivaldi’s Four Seasons or West Side Story. This will be an in-depth piece of research and will involve practical tasks.
Students will learn to use Sibelius, Garageband and Logic software to enable them to compose using a variety of styles and instruments. There will also be an introduction to the world of Music Technology and a chance in the 4s to write, perform and record their own songs. The main aim is to encourage students to enjoy their music and see it as an inclusive rather than exclusive subject as well as developing their skills as musicians and performers. Using the departmental Mac- Studio and recording facilities will enable all classes from L4 upwards to learn exciting new skills for composition and music technology.
Middle School Curriculum
EDUQAS C660QS GCSE
Eduqas C660QS GCSE Music is an exciting course which allows for greater freedom of study as well as requiring some academic rigour of studying set works and really getting behind the music on the printed page. The course develops useful skills in performing, composing and listening and is easily accessible to students who have performing skills on an instrument at about Grade 4 level. This can also include voice.
The course gives an excellent broad perspective on a variety of styles including world music and will improve students’ enjoyment of both performing and listening. Much of the composing will happen in lessons and preparation time. Performance is encouraged via taking part in concerts and ensembles and in conjunction with individual music lessons. Listening is a taught component within class. Lessons will take place in a state-of-the-art Mac Suite, in The Scott Music Centre, which offers cutting-edge facilities for our examination students at GCSE and A level.
This course has the following three units:
Unit 1: Performing - 30% Teacher assessed A minimum of two pieces, lasting a total of 4-6 minutes, recorded in the year of assessment: One piece must be an ensemble (group piece) lasting at least one minute One piece linked to an Area of Study(see below) Grade 3 music is the standard level and can score full marks if played perfectly You can use any instrument or voice, or choose a technology option.
Unit 2: Composing - 30% Teacher assessed Two pieces: One in response to a brief set by Eduqas – there are 4 to choose from each year. One free composition – any style you want to write in.
Unit 3: Appraising - 40% Externally assessed examination Listening examination: 8 questions, 2 on each area of study:
AoS 1 Musical Forms and Devices (including a set work*)
AoS 2 Music for Ensemble
AoS 3 Film Music
AoS 4 Popular Music (including a set work*)
*A set work is a piece of music which everybody has to learn about. There is one short classical piece and one Rock/pop song. You can learn to play/sing parts of them to help you learn the detail.
Sixth Form Curriculum
For the performing musician, A Level Music is ideal. It allows students the time to develop their performing skills as well as to discover composition and history. The course is accessible and enjoyable without necessarily being vocational, IGCSE/GCSE music is not necessarily a requirement.
To enhance students’ pleasure in music and encourage them to discover wider areas of music history through listening, performing and composing.
Syllabus -WJEC A Level Music
For this specification learners must choose either Option A in both Components 1 and 2 or Option B in both Components 1 and 2. All learners must study Component 3.
Option A: Performing (35%)
A performance consisting of a minimum of three pieces. At least one of these pieces must be as a soloist. The other pieces may be 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. At least one other piece must reflect the musical characteristics of one other, different area of study.
Option B: Performing (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.
Option A: Composing (25%)
Two compositions, one of which must reflect the musical techniques and conventions associated with the Western Classical Tradition and be in response to a brief set by WJEC. Learners will have a choice of four set briefs, 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: Composing (35%)
Three compositions, one of which must reflect the musical techniques and conventions associated with the Western Classical Tradition and be in response to a brief set by WJEC. Learners will have a choice of four set briefs, 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 one different area of study (i.e. not the Western Classical Tradition) while the third composition is a free composition.
Component 3 - Three areas of study:
Area of study A: The Western Classical Tradition
The Development of the Symphony 1750-1900) which includes two set works. Choose one set work for detailed analysis and the other for general study.
Symphony No. 104 in D major, ‘London’: Haydn
Symphony No. 4 in A major, ‘Italian’: Mendelssohn
A choice of one area of study from:
Area of study B: Rock and Pop
Area of study C: Musical Theatre
Area of study D: Jazz
A choice of one area of study from:
Area of study E: Into the Twentieth Century including two set works:
Trio for Oboe, Bassoon and Piano, Movement II: Poulenc
Three Nocturnes, Number 1, Nuages: Debussy
Area of study F: Into the Twenty-first Century including two set works:
Music can be successfully combined with any other subject and is often a good addition to other weightier academic subjects as it shows universities a breadth of interest and skills.
Potential Degree Courses and Career Choices
The study of A Level Music does not necessarily lead to a Music course at University or later in life. The options at university are very wide and music can be combined with other arts courses. Opportunities in the workplace are far wider than just performing and Music is well respected by employers.
Performing and Composing are one of the main areas for this. This does not only apply to girls having individual lessons but is within KS3 classes using IT packages such as Garageband and Logic which allow girls who are not learning an instrument to develop their creative skills as composers.
For the advanced performers, there are a range of concerts and opportunities to perform through the year. These can be part of our weekly informal lunchtime concerts or in large-scale concerts in the evening and in London and abroad on tour. Some of our girls attend Saturday conservatoires at the Royal Academy of Music and Royal College of Music. They can also be members of Berkshire Youth Symphony Orchestra and Reading Symphony Orchestra who rehearse at Queen Anne’s.
The girls work regularly with professional musicians such as VOCES8 and the Fitzroy Quartet and there are masterclass workshops with musicians built into the LIVE@QA concerts.
There are regular lectures connected with our BrainCanDo programme which feature music and psychology and the girls are involved in projects on music with Goldsmiths’ College and Reading University. The A level music specification allows for a wide level of research, discovery and listening and this is covered in a programme devised by our Senior Deputy Head called Expectation in Music.
Click here to access our Soundcloud channel, which hosts a range of content, showcasing work from our music department including recordings of all performances and concerts.