Introduction/Subject in wider perspective
Learning to read, write, arrange, produce, play and appreciate music are life-time treasures a student can acquire while in Greensteds, and the appreciation of music adds a deeper understanding and satisfaction to their life. Music and Music Technology Department is committed in recognizing and nurturing the talents in our students starting from a tender age. Music education at Greensteds starts from reception and continues through to Year 13. During this time, we strive to nurture and guide the students in a manner and discipline that is prerequisite to any great musician.
The students start learning from the basic music theory book and exercises in Year 7 and progress towards a more advanced level of music education as they specialize in Year 10. The styles of music taught include world music as well as western music traditions. Jazz and contemporary styles are also included in the learning curve.
When the students are preparing for IGCSE Music course, the focus is mainly on Listening analysis, performance and composing.
The course has an allotted 3 45minute lessons per week.
A Level Music (CIE)
Cambridge International AS and A Level Music is accepted by universities and employers as proof of essential knowledge and ability.
The Music candidates develop an appreciation of, and an informed critical response to, music of the Western tradition, from at least two genres and periods. Candidates learn how to listen attentively and responsively in order to better understand the musical processes at work; they also learn how to communicate this understanding, supporting their judgements by evidence-based argument.
As part of the course, candidates are encouraged to develop their own creative and interpretative skills through the disciplines of composing and performing in Western and/or non-Western traditions. This leads, in turn, to a deeper understanding of music in its wider cultural context.
There are 7 dedicated lessons a week to enable candidates develop their skills in the subject.
There are 6 components in the course. Component 1 and 2 are compulsory for AS qualification. Component 1 is a written paper while 2 is internally assessed and moderated practical. The rest are options for A2 where a candidate selects 2 components.
Music Tech /( B-TEC)
In the Music Technology course, the students learn music production using modern computer software. The skills taught include recording, composition, storage, mixing and mastering, analysis, editing, marketing and performance. The BTec course is internally assessed and verified. Our studio is equipped with full recording and mixing facilities. The students get hands-on experience through their education period.
The two courses are offered at A Level although plans are underway to offer them at ‘O’ Level.
There are 7 dedicated lessons a week to enable candidates develop their skills in the subject.
Extra curricular lessons
Many students take instrument lessons such as piano, violin, guitar, drums and saxophones as well as vocal training. ABRSM (Associated Board of Royal School of Music) exam is available for those who would like to earn an internationally-recognised certificate for their musical skills. The students have a rewarding experience by becoming a band member and utilizing the skill in music classes. Our lessons also challenge the students to grow since learning music is a lifetime process which requires discipline and commitment. There are plans to introduce other music examining bodies in the near future.
The students sit for IGCSE, AS, A2 and Edexcel exams as an assessment scheme for the subject. These exams include the written paper, composing and performance.
When the students are preparing for IGCSE Music course, the focus is mainly on three components: Listening analysis, performance and composing (coursework). The latter two carry 60% of the final grade (30 and 30) while the listening analysis bit takes 40% of the total mark. All components are available in the June and the November series. Listening analysis is one paper while the coursework forms a second paper.
Coursework for the June series must be submitted by 30 April and for the November series by 31 October of the examination year; after internal moderation.
The written paper duration is 1 hour and 15 minutes.
For AS and A2, the focus is also on Listening Analysis and Performance/ composing/ Report writing. Each of the two components selected by the candidate carries half the marks. Components 1 and 2 are compulsory for AS qualification. The rest are optional for A2 qualification.
A lot of emphasis is put on practical component. Students are encouraged to be creative and independent in their projects.
In Edexcel Music Technology, candidates preparer a portfolio of 3 pieces , 2 recommended by Edexcel and one an individual arrangement. The portfolio project (unit1 for AS) carries 35% of the total qualification grade while unit 2, a listening and analysis paper carries 15% of the total qualification grade. Units 3 (Portfolio) and 4 (analysis and production paper) are A2 components and carry 30% and 20% of the total mark respectively.
In Btec Level 3 certificate in Music Technology, the course is an equivalent of 1 GCE AS Level. For a student to qualify for this, they have to have a minimum of 30 credits. There is a mandatory unit equivalent to 10 credits and an optional 20 credits unit. This is a very practical course and requires a hands on experience throughout the course.
Alumni not only continue music as their life-long hobby but also go to specialized music schools or become world-wide performers. Music technology, being a new subject in the market offers huge career opportunities, just like music. Some of these include:
Our band currently has 35 members who are also very active in the other aspects of the school life. Band members strive to be role models to the rest of the school with high standards of behavior. Consistent practice and various opportunities to perform outside the school make them more responsible and confident.
Choir at Greensteds is open to anyone who wants to have fun, learn new songs and express themselves through singing. The experience of working as a part of the group and striving to achieve the harmony help the students to become good leaders and team-workers.
At the moment we are working hard towards the annual Christmas Concert which will be held in early December.
The venues are as follows:
Our Christmas concert consists of a mixture of drama, choir and band performances both from Junior School and Senior School. It is an amazing opportunity for the students to showcase their talents in performing arts. You are all welcome to any of these concerts.
At the Music Department we have seasoned composers, song-writers and singers. The students have taken part in many CD productions in the past. The CDs are available at the school office for purchase.
l Safari (2013): Safari means journey in Kiswahili. This CD displays the journey that we covered and that lies ahead of us.
l Chapter 2 (2011): A compilation of songs from the past productions
l Changes (2009): An inspiring CD with compositions from a number of students
Inter-house music competition
In February and March every year, the Music Department hosts the annual Interhouse music competition. The students compete in categories such as solo, duet, dance and choir. They are also given responsibilities to lead their own practices and to run the show. Great talents from all three houses are put into the spotlight at this occasion and some new gifts in the students are discovered every year. February is for Junior school while March is for senior school.
We conduct international tours every two years to provide our students with opportunities to build confidence in performance and experience other cultures. During these tours we support charity causes in Kenya and abroad.
The latest tour was to the UK in July, 2013 and we had 39 students taking part in it. The tour was a great success with a lot of cultural exchange. The team based their musical performance on the story of Wanjiku, a fictional prodigal daughter who leaves home in search of a better life in the city. The script was written and directed by Ms Joanna Mason, the former Head of Drama. A lot of music was arranged to go along with the script. A lot of the music for the production can be heard in the new CD Safari. While on tour, Greensteds students taught African dances and songs to the students in English schools and they had a fantastic time interacting with each other. They also enjoyed sightseeing, days out on the beach and a courtesy performance for the Kenya High Commission in London.
The tour DVD will also be available in the main office for purchase.
The full performance will be on during the school funfair on the 22nd of September 2013. We welcome everyone to come and enjoy the show in the school hall.
Due to the complicated nature of these tours in terms of logistics, the department normally starts preparations immediately after successful completion of one.
Plans are already underway for 2015 tour which will hopefully be to Japan. The itinerary is already being drawn up with visits to Osaka and Tokyo. Performances are being arranged for International schools as well as encouraging performances for the 3.11 victims of East Japan Great Tsunami and Earthquake (2011). More details will be availed with time.
The syllabus content as well as supporting material can be found here:
Samples of audio and video clips from the UK tour 2013
Link to samples of work by music tech students