Drama & Music
The Earth has music for those who listen
Music at Beech Hall
Music is taught throughout the school from Pre-school to GCSE. All pupils are taught with an emphasis on practical music-making, focusing on the four principal areas of listening, singing, playing instruments and composing for both voices and instruments.
At Pre-school, we start with keeping a beat, singing songs and adding simple accompaniments. Throughout the Infants, there is an emphasis on teaching musical contrasts such as high and low, loud and quiet, in order to introduce the seven elements of music (pitch, duration, dynamics, etc). They are also taught basic notation. As pupils move into the Juniors, the complexity of the music they can appreciate and create increases and the work becomes more sophisticated, with pupils adding layers to their music, experimenting with timbre and starting to think about what they are trying to create and how effectively they have achieved this. When pupils join the Senior School they are starting to prepare for work at GCSE level, contextualising different genres and learning the features associated with them before applying this knowledge to their own compositions. All pupils in the Senior School are encouraged to choose an instrument that they will use for the majority of practical work so they gain some facility in their chosen instrument. Notation continues to be reinforced and used, and pupils will also start to use notation software on computers, allowing them to create more complex compositions autonomously. At GCSE level, pupils still focus on listening, composition and performance according to the specification of the examining board.
Drama at Beech Hall
Drama is taught from the start of the Juniors up to GCSE level. The course emphasises practical work, encouraging children to explore different characters and scenarios through role play and to analyse the effectiveness of their drama, focusing on different techniques, such as still image, thought tracking and dialogue.
The early work in the Juniors encourages pupils to take on roles and interact with each other in the role. They explore how characters think and feel and how this impacts their actions. They learn to develop characters in the role and suggest how a scenario could progress, bearing in mind the characters present in the scene and their likely actions based on knowledge of the character. Pupils are also encouraged to explore different theatre techniques, such as physical theatre (becoming props, furniture etc using their bodies) and choral speaking.
This is progressed in the Senior school with terminology being more explicitly taught, and pupils use drama both to explore character and plot and to look at how to create effective drama through the manipulation of the elements of drama such as pace, spoken language, voice, movement and gesture. Pupils are encouraged to think about what effect they intend to create through their drama and then evaluate their work in terms of how well they have realised their intentions. At GCSE level, pupils continue to focus on their work and approach the tasks in the same way whilst following the specification of the examining board.