“Where words fail, music speaks.” — Hans Christian Anderson
Although not a key focus of the national curriculum, music is a truly important subject for secondary school children to study. It affords them a space to explore their creativity, ease their mind from academic concerns, and form a lifelong love of songs, sounds, and lyrics.
At Gloucester Academy, we recognise exactly what music has to offer our students. Since the start of 2018, we have made real strides in improving the music education of students and making the department one of the most successful at the school.
Notes of Improvement
In January of last year, a combination of year 8, year 9, and year 10 students established an extracurricular class — rock school. Taking place every week, rock school allows the group to develop their musical skills, workshop new ideas and techniques, and enjoy the freedom of playing music together.
Five months later, in June, four of our extremely talented students performed in front of their peers, as well as parents and members of the public, at Gloucester Cathedral. This was part of the annual G15 Celebration of Success event.
Their performance received the highest praise from Maeve Maxwell of the G15 Partnership, who said: “What a knockout performance it was! I would really like you to say a massive thank you to Lisa, Laura, Charlotte, and Will. Their performance was absolutely beautiful; so tender, harmonious, and so moving. They adopted such a humble position on stage and then blew us away with their pure magnificence!”
December 2018 was another fantastic month for the music department. It began with the amazing news that our grant application to Make Music Gloucester was accepted. The grant, totalling £1,000, was invested in a portable digital piano and a Yamaha drum kit, which students access during lunch breaks and at rock school.
The month ended with the school’s Christmas music and dance show, which included students performing to a full theatre audience, the debut of the GA choir, and the opportunity for students to have their guitars serviced and repaired.
In February of this year, we spent time improving the music storage space. To do this, we built a guitar storage solution, to allow easy access and prevent the instruments from being damaged, and rebuilt and installed the electric drum kit in the classroom.
Just last month, in March, we received the terrific news that the number of GA students choosing music as a KS4 option for September 2019 had risen by 172% from last year, which really validates the impact our improvements have made.
Before the end of the academic year, we will be involved in another two major musical events. On Wednesday 1st May, we are hosting the music showcase, and the following month, on Tuesday 25th June, we will once again be attending the G15 Celebration of Success event at Gloucester Cathedral.
Tuning up the Band
A recent report published by The Music Commission detailed how the way students learn music is changing. The ambition of everyone involved in Gloucester Academy’s music department is to provide all students with a curriculum and facilities that reflect current modes of learning.
Although we have made great strides in the music department recently, we are redoubling our efforts to ensure the progress is continued. A comprehensive assessment of the music department and our current facilities has been completed, and we are working with experts at The White Horse Federation to transform our offering and create a dynamic space that reflects the changing ways in which young people access musical learning.