Introduction and Ethos of Department
The Music Department in Ulidia is a busy and lively environment in which to work and study and music plays a prominent and highly valued part in the co-curricular life of the school.
Pupils are encouraged to take instrumental lessons and we currently have over 50 pupils learning instruments. We have a team of experienced and dedicated peripatetic tutors who gear lessons to the individual pupil. Some pupils wish to enter examinations in their instrument while others play for the love of it. All areas are encouraged.
As well as our school production, carol service, prize day and many more occasions in which the choir sing, they also enjoy caroling in Victoria Square and many of them took part in the Young Americans over the past few years. A group of year 10 pupils also had the privilege to attend a workshop run by Open Arts and delivered by pupils from Mitchell House School. Our most recent music trip was to see the musical ‘Wicked’ in Dublin, which was a spectacular experience for all.
Pupils are encouraged to practice at lunch time and we have a lot of promising rock/pop stars in the making. Their talents can be showcased at our annual talent show at Easter.
All in all, the music department is a creative and fun place to be.
Why Study Music?
Music is Science
It is precise, specific; and it demands accurate acoustics. A conductor’s full score is a complex chart that indicates frequency, intensity, volume changes, melody and harmony all at once and with the most exact control of time.
Music is Mathematical
It is rhythmically based on the subdivisions of time into fractions which must be done instantaneously, not worked out on paper, in a highly specific form with regard to exact placement and symmetry.
Music is foreign language
Most of the terms are in Italian, German or French; and the notation is a highly developed kind of shorthand that uses symbols to represent ideas.
Music is History
It reflects the environment and times of its creation, taking on the emotion of a nation, region or a people. It is the only Art form we can hear as people hundreds of years ago had. Unlike paint, whose image is always there once created, Music is perpetually “Repainted” each time it is performed. The feelings and thoughts of countless generations are forever cast in Sound.
Music is Physical Education
It requires fantastic coordination of the fingers, hands, arms, lips and facial muscles, and control of diaphragmatic, back, stomach and chest muscles, which respond instantly to the sound the ear hears and the mind interprets. There are as many calories burned by a symphony trumpet player in one performance as there are by a quarter-back in a professional football game.
Music is Art
It allows a human being to take technical and sometimes difficult areas of learning and translate them into human emotion. It helps every person to recognize and understand beauty, and to understand love, compassion and how to live more fully within this world.
Music is the human experience
Music pieces are as complex and varied as life itself. Music inspires thought, reflection and emotion – much like human relationships do. Rhythm and tone simulate moods such as joy, sorrow or anger. Music relates to us the stories of human experience.
The Staff & Positions
Subject Leader – Ms Emma McErlean
Mrs Gemma Massey (Piano)
Miss Susan Graham (voice)
Mr. Robin Clinton (Brass)
Mr. Jonny Boyle (Guitar)
Mr Kyle McDowell (Drums)
The Northern Ireland Curriculum aims to empower pupils to achieve their potential and to make informed and responsible choices and decisions throughout their lives. It is about helping all pupils prepare for life and work:
• as individuals;
• as contributors to society;
• as contributors to the economy and the environment.
Music has a significant role to play in this.
The fundamental aim of the music curriculum is to develop pupils’ musical ability. All pupils are potentially musical and should be provided with learning experiences which develop their knowledge, understanding and skills in making and responding to music through active engagement in the core musical activities of composing, performing and listening. (ccea website)
Assessment throughout the year
Pupils are assessed in the three areas of listening, composing and performing in every unit.
We choose to study the CCEA GCSE music specification. Currently, the course includes the following elements.
These elements are generally taught in an integrated way, through a series of themed projects, each involving topical listening, composing tasks and performing pupils’ own work and other pieces, in small groups and as soloists.
The specification is based on three Areas of Study:
Repeated Patterns in Music: the set works in this area include Pachelbel’s Canon
Incidental Music: music for stage, film and television, including set works from Pirates of the Caribbean and Doctor Who
Vocal Music: including set works taken from Wicked and from Handel’s Messiah
Activities on the GCSE Music course include:
• Keyboard, instrumental and vocal work
• Performing skills
• Learning and practising new composing techniques
• Presenting individual compositions
• Computer sequencing and recording
• Studying set pieces linked to the Areas of Study
• Listening skills within a wide range of musical styles
GCSE Music may be a good choice for you if:
• You enjoy listening to different types of music and would be interested in studying some pieces in more detail.
• You like experimenting with sounds and composing your own music.
• You sing or play an instrument and are committed to continuing lessons and practising during the two GCSE years (Grade 4 in the spring term of Fifth Form is the minimum standard for a good grade).
Assessment throughout the course
Composing: two pieces composed independently by each pupil.
Performing: a solo piece and an ensemble piece performed by each pupil.
Listening: a final examination, testing knowledge of set works which have been studied during the course as well as perception of previously unheard pieces.
Coursework / controlled assessment
25 hours are allocated for compositions. Controlled assessment will begin in the summer term of yr11 and will continue into yr12.