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Performing Arts at Oak Academy Performing Arts has a range of cross-curricular links across the Key stages

Performing Arts Teaching Staff

  • Mrs A Joy: Curriculum Leader
  • Ms L Davis: Music Teacher
  • Mrs S Shinton: Drama Teacher

Why Performing Arts is Important

Performing Arts (Drama and Music) has many benefits, including developing creativity in students, affecting their emotions and impacting on their personal development.

Performing Arts is significant to a child’s individual development. Working in small groups and performing on stage teaches students to be well-organised, more self-confident and improves their oral communication skills that are essential to speaking clearly, lucidly, and thoughtfully. It also develops the students willingness to work cooperatively, independently and under pressure with clear deadlines.

Not only does it allow the students to explore a range of topics through practical skills but it also develops social skills and gives the students a range of tools to apply in their future careers.

Music lessons aim to develop the musical talents of all pupils, regardless of ability. At the end of the course, students have a grounding in the elements of music, and are able to compose and perform music and discuss the subject with reference to relevant technical terms. Above all, the aim is that students enjoy Music and gain an increased understanding of the subject for their future lives.

Performing Arts has a range of cross-curricular links across the Key stages such as: exploration into some of Shakespeare’s most known pieces, historical events and periods to coincide with topics in Humanities.

Teaching and Learning in Performing Arts

Students have a unique opportunity in Performing Arts to develop their practical skills in Drama and Music as well as learning how to recognise others skills in performance and be able to evaluate successfully in detail. In Music and Drama lessons students work alone or in pairs and all students have a folder in which their classwork/homework is kept in.

Key Stage 3

At key stage 3, students are allocated one hour of Drama and Music a fortnight.
The schemes of work within Drama focus on introducing a range of drama skills and techniques in which students will develop their understanding of, in preparation for the GCSE course if they choose it as one of their mini options at the end of year 8.
In year 7 Drama, students will look at a range of topics.
Topic 1-Missing, which explores the story of a missing child called Jess and will introduce the students to the basic drama techniques such as; freeze frame and thought-tracking. Topic 2-Pantomime and Fairy tales, where the students will cover story-telling techniques and create their own adaption of a well loves traditional story turning it into a Pantomime.
Topic 3-Greek Theatre, where the students will look at Greek myths and legends and again revisit Narration in the style of the Greeks.
Topic 4-Physical Theatre, students will look at this style of performance and create an assessment piece base on a specific room within a haunted house.
In year 8 Drama, students will continue to develop their skills and understanding of techniques through the following topics:
Topic 1-Slapstick, where students will research traditional slapstick performances and devise their own assessment piece in slapstick style.
Topic 2-The Hillsborough Disaster, where students will explore key events and characters within the story using movement, mime and gesture.
Topic 3-Craig & Bentley, where the students will look at the story of the last man to be hanged in the united kingdom and taking on the role of the judge, decide whether or not it was fair.
The Scheme of Work in Music is broken down into discrete but interlocking modules.
In Year 7 learners take part in workshop style lessons, allowing students to learn the building blocks of music through practical music-making. Pulse and rhythm are explored through Body Percussion and further developed using percussive instruments to explore improvisation and rhythmic traditions from around the world. Harmony will be explored through an introduction to playing the ukulele. Students will receive instruction on how to play and read simple chords and will learn skills to help them continue to progress their own instrumental learning. Students will have opportunity to develop and practice their singing skills whilst learning some traditional folk songs and melodies from the British Isles as well as popular songs. Learners will have an opportunity to try out a range of instruments; investigating how they produce sound and how they are played. Learners will look at how different instruments use notation, to which musical families they belong, and types of ensemble where these instruments are commonly played. Students will learn basic knowledge about the elements of music and develop language and vocabulary as well as listening skills in order to describe the music they hear from a range of genres, styles, and traditions.
In year 8, continuing with workshop style lessons, students will develop their knowledge and skill of pulse and rhythm, and experience playing instruments in more depth. Students learn the basics of playing the drum kit using Chair Drumming. They will have an opportunity to transfer what they have learned onto an authentic rock drum kit. Students will learn basic chords, melodies, and notation using the keyboard, and will gain experience playing and improvising music in a small group or jam band whilst exploring instruments commonly used in modern live music. Students will be guided through the process of writing a song; crafting lyrics, using chord sequences, and creating song structures. Music technology will be introduced, and students will experience composition using sampling and looping. Finally, students will investigate some of the many jobs and careers that use music and musicianship skills, and paths that could be taken to achieve careers in these fields.
In Year 9, Performing Arts students in Music and Drama lessons get 2 hours a fortnight. Within their subject they will have a performance focus in preparation for skills needed in year 10. In Drama and Music, students will be given a taster into what the GCSE/BTEC specification looks like and therefore be more equipped for their mock examinations if they choose to continue these subjects in year 10.In Drama some of the topics they may look at could be ‘The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time’, Discrimination and ‘Noughts and Crosses’.
In year 9, students will develop knowledge required to work at Key Stage 4 as well as continuing to learn through practical develop and music-making. Students will learn about layering instruments to create musical textures. They will learn how to use a Digital Audio Workstation to compose, record, engineer, and mix their own music.
Students will learn how to safely set up equipment used for live sound, and how they can manipulate sound to enhance certain features. They will develop their composition skills by creating music to be used for different products. For example, Music for a Computer Game. They will also consolidate their Musical Literacy and listening skills to prepare them for studying at GCSE level.

Key Stage 4

Depending on class sizes at KS4, students do have the opportunity to combine all three disciplines by studying BTEC Performing Arts which is a vocational alternative from GCSE Music and Drama. For this course, students are expected to take part in 2 to 3 showcases a year and complete coursework alongside this to gain the qualification.
GCSE Drama
On the AQA GCSE Drama course students complete 3 components. The first is a written exam which is taken in the Summer term of year 11 that consists of three main sections: Multiple choice, Set text focused questions and Live theatre review –in preparation for this students will go and visit a live piece of theatre in London.
The second unit is devised performance where students will be given a range of stimuli in which they need to choose one and create a short performance based on it and alongside this students will complete a written drama log showing how they have developed their ideas, met their targets and an evaluation of the piece as a whole.
The final unit is ‘Texts in Practice’ where the students study a play chosen by the teacher (recent texts being Blood Brothers, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time and Noughts and Crosses) and rehearse and develop their theatrical skills in 2 contrasting extracts which are then watched and marked by an external examiner.
GCSE Music
On the EDUQAS GCSE Music course, students study three components; Performance, Composition, and Appraising. For the performance component students will be required to develop their skill on an instrument or voice. It is recommended that students learn and practice regularly at home, although they will also have time in lessons to perfect their performances with guidance from the teacher. EDUQAS advise that students aim to perform pieces at grade 3 standard or higher. Students will submit a portfolio of recorded performances.
Composition will be studied, and students will keep a log of their process and progression. Students will be encouraged to use compositional forms and devices studied in the Appraising component of the GCSE. Students will be able to compose using a single instrument, with accompaniment, or use a Digital Audio Workstation to compose with more instruments. They will submit a portfolio of compositions written to a brief along with a score to show their composition. The Appraising component students will develop knowledge and understanding of music through the following four areas of study:
Area of study 1: Musical Forms and Devices
Area of study 2: Music for Ensemble
Area of study 3: Film Music Area of study 4: Popular Music.
Students will learn skills to identify features in music, and be able to explain how they are used to create certain atmosphere or effect.

GCSE Specifications

The links to the GCSE specifications for our Performing Arts subjects can be found below:

AQA Drama GCSE

EDUQAS Music GCSE