Welcome to St John Fisher Catholic High School Music Department
Music and Music Technology Department Staff
Mr Craig Ratcliffe – Head of Music
Mrs Charlotte Thurlby – Teacher of Music
Mrs Lenora Gaertner – Teacher of Music
Mr Nigel Beetles – Assistant Headteacher, Head of Faculty and Teacher of Music
Mr Matthew McGuffie – Teacher of Piano and Woodwind
Mrs Jayne Bryan – Teacher of Piano and Flute
Mr Adam Henfry – Teacher of Guitar
Mrs Marie Carter – Teacher of Voice
Mr James Lancaster – Teacher of Brass
Mrs Teresa Crick – Teacher of Strings
Mr Edward Dennis – Teacher of Percussion and Department Technician
Mr Martin Sweeting – Department Technician
Miss Carey Huegett – Performing Arts Secretary
Curriculum at Key Stage Three
At Key Stage 3 students study a wide range of topics that inspires their creativity and teaches them about the main elements of music. Music at Key Stage 3 is divided into 3 areas; Listening, Performance and Composition. Students work in groups and on their own to create their own music and learn about a wide range of musical styles. Topics studied include; The ukulele, The Blues, All these Dots and Overture Orchestra.
Extra -curricular provision including trips at Key Stage Three
Students in Year 7 and 8 have a wide range of clubs and ensembles available to them. These always include a Junior Band (Fisher Band), Junior Big Band (Fisher Jazz) and a Junior Choir. Alongside this, students can take part in the Recorder ensemble, the Percussion and Drumming Group, the Saxophone Choir, the String Orchestra and the Flute Choir.
Every February/March, students are invited to travel on the Junior Musicians residential to York or Marrick Priory. On this weekend, students learn all about team building, rehearse new music, form new groups, go on activities and perform for parents in a finale concert.
There are also various workshops throughout the year for students to take part in with guest artists.
Curriculum at Key Stage Four including exam board and structure of course (exams, controlled assessment)
Music at Key Stage 4 is taught in 2 or 3 classes using the AQA syllabus and exam board. Students learn about a wide range of music from 1600 to present day and are taught topics that revolve around the elements of music (the set areas of study). In Unit 1, pupils sit a 1 hour listening paper at the end of Year 11 (20%), in Unit 2 (20%) and Unit 4 (20%), pupils compose using Sibelius or Cubase. In Unit 3, pupils perform a solo and ensemble piece which is examined in-house (40%). Both Unit 2 and 4 are controlled assessment units and pupils may only complete their coursework under the supervision of a teacher. Pupils learn about music through listening and practical activities that teach them not only about music from the ages, but also that of different cultures and styles. Students are encouraged to perform regularly with membership of a school ensemble being a pre-requisite for the course.
Extra- curricular provision including trips at Key Stage Four and Five
Students in Year 9-13 have a wide range of clubs and ensembles available to them. These always include a Concert Band, Big Band (Senior Jazz Orchestra) and a Senior Choir. Alongside this, students can take part in the Percussion and Drumming Group, the Saxophone Choir, the String Orchestra and the Flute Choir. Students are also invited to take part in the annual school musical as an actor or a member of the accompanying orchestra. Students are encouraged to run their own ensembles and many create their own rock bands who take part in the annual ‘Battle of the bands’.
Students perform regularly in school and around the local area in various ensembles. All of the school ensembles are highly regarded and work closely with the local feeder primary schools. School ensembles perform regularly in the Royal Hall, the Conference Centre and Harrogate Theatre supporting conferences, events, Church Fetes and concerts to name but a few. The school supports the annual Harrogate International Youth Festival every year and works closely alongside the Harrogate International Festival with whom it is a partner.
Many of the school ensembles enter the annual Music for Youth competition and have been highly successful. The Concert Band, Senior Choir and Jazz Orchestra have all performed as part of the National Festival of Music for Youth in Symphony Hall Birmingham and the Adrian Boult Hall. The Senior Jazz Orchestra have also performed in the Royal Albert Hall as part of the Youth Proms.
Every summer, students are invited to travel on the Senior Musicians tour. In previous years this has included; Paris, a Mediterranean cruise, Barcelona, Malta, Canada and in the summer of 2015, New York. Students perform at prestigious venues in these countries and often link up with other schools and artists on the tour.
There are also various workshops throughout the year for students to take part in with guest artists. These have included Soweto Kinch (BBC Jazz Artist of the Year), Wynton Marsalis (legendary trumpet player and jazz musician), The Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra and Laura van der Heidjen (BBC Young Musician of the Year 2014).
Sixth Form Curriculum including exam board/s and structure of course/s
In the Sixth Form, students can study AQA Music and Edexcel Music Technology.
AQA Music is suitable for students of grade V standard on their instrument and preferably GCSE Music or a similar subject. The course is divided into 3 Units; Listening, Composing and Performing. MUSC1/MUSC4 is a listening and written paper at the end of Year 12/13 where students answer questions on what they can hear, alongside essay questions on the set works they have studied (Western Classical Music and Popular Music). MUSC2/MUSC5 is a composition unit. Students study Bach Chorale writing technique in both years but have various options in composition which include String Quartet writing, Bach Chorales, Free Composition and Arranging. MUSC3 and MUSC6 is a performance unit with gradually increasing demands as students move into Year 13. Year 12 requires a solo performance and group performance with Year 13 a 8-10 minute solo recital.
Edexcel Music Technology is a an exciting course for students who are passionate about recording and using computer software to create music. It is not a replacement for music and challenges students in similar ways to A Level Music.
The course is divided into 2 areas; a portfolio and a listening exam. Students complete an individual portfolio of 3 tasks and an accompanying logbook. The first task is a computer sequence of a song prescribed by the exam board, the second a multitrack recording of a popular song and the third an arrangement of a song chosen by the board in a specific style. In Year 13, the tasks are similar but more challenging and the arrangement is replaced by a composition.
In the listening exam, students sit a 1 hour 20 minute paper where they answer questions based on popular music from 1910 onwards. Tracks are provided on a CD which students can answer at their own pace with headphones. The second area is a written section based on styles stipulated by the exam board that change every year. These could include reggae or dubstep as examples.