The Performing Arts carry a high profile at St Michael’s, welcomed and respected by governors, staff, parents and pupils as fundamental to ‘whole’ education where spiritual growth and the nurturing of feeling are essential to enabling young people to experience ‘life in all its fullness’, able to cope with, and respond positively to, their role in today’s society.
It is the aim of a passionate and talented staff to foster an appreciation of the arts both through timetabled study and the wider curriculum. An engaging programme of multi-cultural arts, cross-curricular outreach and Christian Values Enrichment days promotes an energetic, creative ethos across the school. We intend that, through high quality arts presentations - worship, showcases, concerts, major productions and other school events - all pupils are able to experience the arts and recognise them as a vehicle for raising moral, social and political issues; the arts challenge them to reflect and inspires them as participant or audience to respond; we want them to see that the arts gives them a voice and that they know that their voice counts. Furthermore, we encourage our pupils to see the arts as a means of self-expression, of self-realisation and an outlet for emotion, so important in a world that places so many pressures on young shoulders.
Ultimately, we aim for all our pupils to leave St Michael’s with a real appreciation that the arts offer a universal language through which a vision of the human experience can be shared, and that, through the arts, they can add their own voice to the chorus of mankind.
All pupils are taught Music throughout Years 7, 8 and 9 timetabled for 1x 40/45 minute lesson per week. Pupils can then extend their musical interests in Years 10 - 11 by choosing to study music to GCSE level or to follow the vocational NCFE Technical Award in Music Technology.
Music is taught predominantly as a practical experience with pupils involved in music-making activities in all lessons (rehearsing, performing, composing or appraising) with emphasis on “Music being the dominant language in the classroom”. Scaffolded tasks enable all pupils of all abilities to be involved in lessons.
Pupils are encouraged to use their instrumental skills within classroom work and performance activities vary to accommodate pupil interests and abilities. The current curriculum covers a mix of western and multi-cultural traditions, compositional devices, popular music styles and music technology and keyboard skills.
Enrichment days and extensive opportunities beyond lesson time offer opportunities for pupils to further their interests, develop their talents, and, above all, have fun making music with others.
At St Michael’s we have three choirs, the largest of which is open to all pupils and staff who enjoy singing, whilst our Chapel Choir (Hughes tutorial) and junior counterpart, the Armstrong Choir, carry particular responsibility for enhancing the worshipping life of the school.
Our bands and ensembles provide a platform for our musicians, many of which receive instrumental tuition from our variety of peripatetic staff, enabling them to extend their skills through ensemble playing of varying standards. Pupils are encouraged to join our Wind Band as soon as they acquire elementary skills whilst smaller ensembles and solo performances are also an integral part of the department’s work and a number of different “Music Academies” cater for our particularly talented musicians offering opportunities for pupils to direct their own groups. Our Steel Pans are a further highly popular facility with bands running for different year groups.
Performance opportunities are available through our highly popular Lunchtime Concert series with one concert taking place each half term and our Summer concert each year sees around 100 musicians coming together to celebrate the achievements of the music department. Our large musical productions take place every 2 years involving over 100 dancers, singers, dramatists and musicians with recent presentations including Children of Eden, West Side Story and Beauty and the Beast.
As part of celebrating achievement and progress, pupils can be entered for exams hosted by the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music, Rock School and Trinity College exam boards with around 60 pupils successfully taking instrumental and theory exams each year.
Music Learning Schemes