Students at Sancton Wood were treated to an interactive concert given by upcoming pop star Josh Davis and his guitarist, Harrison. They have been touring the country performing in schools and talking to students about the importance of internet safety. Josh has just signed a deal with The Famous Company to create an EP of original material has performed at a number of events across the UK, most recently supporting former X Factor winner Ben Haenow. His voice has been hailed as the UK’s next Justin Bieber.
Our students were in good voice too on Friday afternoon, as you will hear in the clips below!
Year 9’s entree this term into the world of experimental music is well underway. They have been listening to various pieces which challenge their assumptions about what music is, how it is created and where is is performed, including Stockhausen’s Helicopter Quartet (for conventional string quartet, except that each player is sitting in a helicopter which takes off and flies around). Their composing brief was to create a piece of music without using any conventional instruments and with the focus being on rhythm, texture, timbre and structure.
Here are some of their creations:
Our Senior Showcase this term was a double bill of A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Roald Dahl’s The Witches, interspersed with music carefully chosen to fit the ‘magical’ theme. All students in Years 7-9 were involved whilst Year 10 students provided much of the musical support. Two Year 10 students also devised the choreography for the dance and rehearsed it with the Year 7 dance team. You can listen to a few musical highlights below – more to follow. In the meantime here are:
‘That’s Life’ sung by our very own Frank Sinatra in Year 7
‘I put a spell on you’, sung by a quartet of girls from Years 7 and 8
‘Another one bites the dust’, performed by our Year 10 Band
Year 9 have been taking an in-depth look at rap and discovering how complicated it actually is to pull off one that really works. There are several important factors that need to be taken into consideration, including:
- the backing and how it interacts with the text
- the vocal delivery enunciation
- the flow – understanding the rhythms and rhymes in the text
The students have worked hard on this and you can here come of the fruits of their labours. The first one uses as its text Puck’s final speech in A Midsummer Night’s Dream and the students said they were inspired by the example of MC Hammer that we listened to in class. The second uses a poem by Maya Angelou, ‘Life doesn’t frighten me at all’.
Year 8 have completed their first composition assignment in their Programme Music topic – a piece of music inspired by a storm. As well as listening to the storm movement in Beethoven’s 6th Symphony, they also listened to Cloudburst by contemporary composer Eric Whitacre which includes a choir as well as finger snaps and claps to recreate rain. When this piece was performed in the BBC Proms last summer in involved audience participation in this too to great effect.
Here is a taste of Year 8’s storm music:
Next term Year 9 will be taking a look at rap and trying their hand at writing their own. By way of an introduction they have spent the last few lessons examining the relationship between words and music and the impact that the latter can have on atmosphere and meaning. Their brief was to choose one of two extracts from Macbeth and come up with music to accompany the reading of the extract that would set the scene, track the text and enhance the atmosphere. Interestingly, all except one group chose to use a predominantly string sound for their music and the general consensus was that it conveyed an appropriately dark mood.
You can listen to three examples of their work here. Two were composed on GarageBand and one was performed live on the piano.
Year 7 were put through their paces this week when they learnt how to play traditional Indonesian music in a workshop at Cambridge University Music Faculty. The gamelan, as it is called, refers to the whole group of instruments, rather like our word ‘orchestra’. Gamelan comprises a range of different sized gongs, metallophones and drums; the latter are played with the hands whilst the gongs and metallophones are struck with mallets.
Much of the music is based on pentatonic scales and is learned orally rather than being notated. This meant our Year 7 students had to remember the patterns of notes they were taught and listen to everyone else in the group really carefully in order to stay in time.
Here are a few photos and clips of them in action:
Just before Christmas the year 11 GCSE Drama students received their pre-released material. They had to devise a piece of original drama based on one of three stimuli. The students chose a black and white photograph of a young boy smiling, with a blurred figure in the background over his shoulder.
The end result was a challenging and thought provoking look into mental health, schizophrenia and the devastating effects that can occur.
Please be aware that there is some swearing within this performance, which is in context as a piece of GCSE coursework.
What is the connection between a musical structure called ternary form and a jammy dodger? Well, the latter is made up of a crunchy biscuit, a layer of sticky jam, followed by another crunchy biscuit and this three-part structure with a contrasting middle section is exactly what ternary form is all about – A B A. Whilst the jammy dodger is clearly an entity, a whole biscuit which needs each of the three parts to make it the way it is, it can be more of a challenge to achieve this musically, making sure that the three sections of a ternary form composition do actually hang together as a whole.
Year 8 rose to the challenge admirably and you can listen to a couple of their ternary form compositions below:
Years 7 and 8 who had signed up were put through their paces at lunchtime today in the dance audition for The Witches. The audition was led by our two Year 10 dancers who choreographed it and taught the younger students their steps. We were impressed by our Year 10s, whose expertise we will definitely be needing to choreograph a dance scene in The Witches, and by how quickly the Year 7 and 8s learned the steps from scratch in a matter of minutes.
You can watch an extract from the audition below: