Skip to main content

Music

Introduction

Music is taught at all year levels. It is a compulsory core subject in Form 3, and can lead to university level study in the areas of performance, composition, aural skills, theory and musical knowledge.

The Music Department also encourages participating in music performance groups – the Symphony Orchestra, Grammar Virtuosi, the Premier Concert Band, the Big Band, Grammar Voices, the Pipe Band, and Chamber Music Ensembles. These groups perform regularly and to the very highest standard; culminating in internal and external competitions each year.

A total of 11 visiting instrumental music tutors visit the school each week. Subjects include voice, all wind, brass, string and percussion instruments as well as piano, electric guitar, bagpipes and drums. Every year students excel in academic music and performance studies. Many have gone on to be professional performers, composers and teachers both in New Zealand and overseas.

Form 3 General Music:

Course description/aims: Music is taught to all students in Form 3, through a teaching programme delivered in 40-minute lessons. The course aims to develop two broad capabilities – to develop the ability to discern detail in music and to think about and understand how music works.

Students will learn the language of music, develop musical ideas, communicate and interpret meaning in music and understand music in context.

This is achieved through developing skills in Music Literacy and Aural skills – turning symbol into sound and turning sound into symbol. Flowing from this, knowledge and skills are developed in rhythm, pitch and melody, tempo, dynamics, texture, harmony, structure and timbre. There is a mixture of computer-based learning, using specialised composition and keyboard training software, written and listening work and instrument-based, creative tasks.

Learning a musical instrument: Learning a musical instrument will never be more affordable or as easy to manage. Grammar offers a wide range of lessons on most musical instruments from some of the best instrumental teachers in New Zealand. Learning an instrument is optional, but is necessary if considering Option Music in Form 4 or above. Students who are interested in music but do not currently play an instrument can find more information here. We recommend talking to a member of staff in the Music Department for advice: not every instrument is available for lessons and making a good choice is important.

Methods of assessment: There will be three common tests in Terms 1, 2 and 4.

Form 4 Option Music:

Pre-requisites: This course involves performing and composing as well as developing theoretical skills, aural skills and general knowledge of music. Students wishing to take this course should ideally be currently and actively engaged in learning and playing an instrument or singing.

Students who do not currently play but who are motivated and commit to learning an instrument over the course of the year will be considered Instrumental lessons can be offered, free-of charge but subject to availability to enable Option Music students to develop their skills and supplement classroom learning. Please note that we cannot offer piano lessons. Exceptions must be approved by the Head of Music and lesson enquiries should be made in advance.

Recommended achievement levels: The actual standard of performance required is deliberately not specified as the intention is to encourage students with an interest in music to study it further.

If a student does not currently play an instrument, but is determined to learn and practice hard we will support their entry onto the course, provided they begin attending lessons. High achievement and attitude grades in Form 3 Core Music are necessary. Elementary music-reading skills or a commitment focused learning over Term 1 to meet the theory requirements of the Term 1 examination (Grade 1 Trinity College London).

Advanced musicians will be extended through more demanding Theory, Harmony and Aural as well as through exposure to a wide variety of music, styles and context.

Course description/aims: The Form 4 Music syllabus aim is to inspire, develop and produce literate, creative, knowledgeable and skilled students, eager to continue studying music in Form 5 and beyond.

The six overlapping, concurrent and converging areas enable knowledge and skills developed in any one area to improve the students’ capabilities in any other. Performance, Composition, Aural Skills, Theory and Analysis all combine and overlap to establish and strengthen the knowledge and skills expected of a fully literate musician. An overarching aim is the development of listening skills and vocabulary: to discern detail and describe effect in music. How does music ‘work’? How is music constructed and how does it express feeling, emotion, sense of place or purpose?

Course outline:

  • Theory of Music – how is music written and organised to make its meaning clear to musicians?
  • Aural skills – how can we recognise and write down individual components of melody, rhythm and harmony?
  • Listening skills – how can we recognise and describe both detail and effect in a wide range of genres and styles?
  • Analysis – how can we recognise structure, techniques and elements in written music?
  • Critical Response – can we describe and analyse our own music and the music of others using appropriate music vocabulary and begin to connect this analysis to interpretation and evaluation?
  • Composing – can we use the knowledge, skills we have gained together with our exposure to a wider range of genres and styles to compose effective and creative music?
  • Performance – can our knowledge, skills and exposure to a range of genres and styles inform our performance skills?

Methods of assessment: Students will be assessed informally in regular class activities and tests. Formal assessment is through examination in Term 1, 2 and 4. Examinations comprise of Listening and Responding, Analysis, Aural, and Theory. Composition and Performance together form 20% of the final examination.

Continuation of subject: Form 4 Option Music is a preparatory course for Pre-Q Music in Form 5, although more advanced students can join Pre-Q without first taking Form 4 Option Music, subject to approval by the Head of Music.

Form 5 (Pre-Q):

Pre-requisites: This course involves performing and composing as well as developing theoretical skills, aural skills and general knowledge of music.

Students wishing to take this course should be currently and actively engaged in learning and playing an instrument or singing. The actual standard of performance is not specified as the intention is to encourage students with an interest in music to study it further.

Students who wish to take this course without having first completed the Form 4 Option Music course must demonstrate an appropriate level of musical knowledge and performance ability. Please talk to the Head of Music for advice or to arrange an informal audition.

Course description/aims: This course takes an integrated approach to music education, as each learning areas enriches and reinforces the others. Performance, Aural Skills, Theory, Analysis, Composition and Music History all combine and overlap to establish and strengthen the knowledge and skills expected of a fully literate musician. We expect these students to be capable of achieving highly should they go on to take A2 Music or Excellence in NCEA Level 2 Music standards.

Listening:

  • Aural awareness, perception and discrimination in Western music of the baroque, classical, Romantic and 20th Century periods, including Jazz and Blues
  • Detailed knowledge and understanding of the features of music and compositional devices
  • Detailed knowledge and understanding of two contrasting set works

Theory and Aural:

  • Sound technical knowledge of conventions of notation, keys, scales, cadences, intervals, rhythm, time signatures, including compound time and grouping of notes and rests and harmony
  • The understanding and ability to listen to and transcribe (write out melodic, rhythmic and Harmonic dictation

Analysis:

  • Analyse and compare two works from different periods, examining structure, harmony and development of materials as well as theme, style, and historical and technological context

Performing:

  • Technical competence on one or more instruments/singing
  • Interpretative understanding of the music performed

Composing:

  • • Discrimination and imagination in original composition
  • Notation, using staff notation and other suitable systems

Methods of assessment: School Examinations:

  • 1 x 1 hour examination
  • 1 x 2 hour examination
  • 1 x 3 hour examination (Pre-Q)

Continuation of subject: This course prepares students for the Form 6 Music option at AS or NCEA Level 2 level. Music is available as an option choice to Form 7 and is an approved subject for University Entrance.

Form 6 (NCEA Level 2):

Pre-requisites: At least 60% in Pre-Q Music, or Grade 5 Music Performance and Theory. Students must have been taking lessons on an instrument or voice for at least three years with good progress evident.

Recommended achievement levels:

  • Students who have passed Form 5 Music Option have an appropriate achievement level to study Form 6 NCEA Level 2 Music
  • Students who hold Grade 5 Practical and Theory certificates have an appropriate achievement level to study Form 6 NCEA Level 2 Music
  • Students who have not completed Form 5 Music may find Form 6 NCEA Level 2 Music demanding
  • Students who have not had lessons on an instrument or voice for three years are not recommended to take Form 6 NCEA Level 2 Music

Course description/aims: Students will become literate in Music as they:

  • Learn the language of music
  • Develop musical ideas
  • Communicate and interpret meaning in music
  • Understand music in context

Course outline: Making Music is designed for the performer or composer who wishes to specialise:

  • 91270 – Perform two substantial pieces of music as a featured soloist [6 credits, Internal]
  • 91271 – Compose two substantial pieces of music [6 credits, Internal]
  • 91272 – Demonstrate ensemble skills by performing a substantial piece of music as a member of a group [4 credits, Internal]
  • 91274 – Perform a substantial piece of music as a featured soloist on a second instrument [3 credits, Internal]
  • 91275 – Demonstrate aural understanding through written representation [4 credits, Internal]

Music Studies provides for students who have a strong interest in understanding music, research and analysis skills, musical knowledge, and advanced listening and notation skills:

  • 91273 – Devise an instrumentation for an ensemble [4 credits, Internal]
  • 91276 – Demonstrate knowledge of conventions in a range of music scores [4 credits, External]
  • 91277 – Demonstrate understanding of two substantial contrasting music works [6 credits, External]
  • 91278 – Investigate an aspect of New Zealand music [4 credits, Internal]
  • 27703 – Demonstrate and apply knowledge of sound control and enhancement processes required for a performance context [4 credits, Internal]
  • 26687 – Candidates must also demonstrate the concepts required to achieve the Level 1 standard
  • 26687 – Demonstrate and apply knowledge of sound technology for performance context

Continuation of subject: This course prepares students for the Form 7 Music option.

Form 6 and 7 (AS):

Pre-requisites: At least 60% in Pre-Q Music, or Grade 5 Music Performance and Theory.

Recommended achievement levels:

  • Exceptional students may take AS and A Level in one year with the advance approval of the Head of Music
  • Students who have passed Form 5 Option Music have an appropriate achievement level to study AS Music
  • Students who hold Grade 5 Music Performance and Theory certificates have an appropriate achievement level to study AS Music
  • Students who have not completed Form 5 Music may find AS Music demanding
  • Students who do not play an instrument or sing at Grade 5 level or higher are not recommended to take AS Music

Course description/aims: Students will:

  • Foster a discriminating aural appreciation of, and an informed critical response to, music of the western tradition from at least two representative genres and periods
  • Deepen their understanding of music in its wider cultural context
  • Develop creative and interpretative skills through the disciplines of composing and performing
  • Communicate their understanding of Music, supporting judgments by argument based on evidence

Assessment objectives: Students will demonstrate:

  • An ability to listen attentively and responsively
  • Understanding of the processes at work in music
  • An ability to communicate knowledge, understanding and musical insight with clarity
  • Technical and interpretative competence in performing
  • Musical invention in composing

Methods of assessment:

  • Listening (Music of the Western Tradition): 2-hour external examination
  • Practical Musicianship Coursework (internal assessment) – two of:
    • Element 1: Solo Performance
    • Element 2: Any two of second instrument, improvising, group performance, or accompanying
    • Element 3: Composing within an established tradition (graded exercises taken in class)
    • Element 4: Composition: two contrasting compositions

Continuation of subject: This course prepares students for A2 Music in Form 7.

Form 7 (NCEA Level 3):

Pre-requisites: NCEA Level 2 Music, or Grade 7 Music Performance and Theory. Students must have been taking lessons on an instrument or voice for at least four years with good progress evident.

Course outline: Making Music is designed for the performer or composer who wishes to specialise:

  • 91416 – Perform two programmes of music as a featured soloist [8 credits, Internal]
  • 91417 – Perform a programme of music as a featured soloist on a second instrument [4 credits, Internal]
  • 91418 – Demonstrate ensemble skills by performing two substantial pieces of music as a member of a group [4 credits, Internal]
  • 91419 – Communicate musical intention by composing three original pieces of music [8 credits, Internal]
  • 91420 – Integrate aural skills into written representation [4 credits, External]

Music Studies provides for students who have a strong interest in understanding music, research and analysis skills, musical knowledge, and advanced listening and notation skills:

  • 91421 – Demonstrate understanding of harmonic and tonal conventions in a range of music scores [4 credits, External]
  • 91422 – Analyse a substantial music work [4 credits, External]
  • 91423 – Examine the influence of context on a substantial music work [4 credits, Internal]
  • 91424 – Create two arrangements for an ensemble [4 credits, Internal]
  • 91425 – Research a music topic [6 credits, Internal]
  • 28007 – Select and apply a range of processes to enhance sound in a performance context [6 credits, Internal]

Continuation of subject: This course prepares students for tertiary study in Music.

Form 7 (A2):

Pre-requisites: ‘A’, ‘B’ or ‘C’ grade in AS Music with Components 1 and 2.

Recommended achievement levels:

  • Students who have gained an ‘A’, ‘B’ or ‘C’ grade in AS Music have an appropriate achievement level to study A2 Music
  • Students who struggle with two of composition, performance and essay writing may find A2 Music demanding
  • Students who have not completed AS Music Components 1 and 2 are ineligible to enter the A2 Music course.

Course descriptions/aims: Students will:

  • Deepen their understanding of music in its wider cultural context
  • Develop creative and interpretative skills through the disciplines of composing and performing
  • Communicate their understanding of music, supporting judgments by argument based on evidence

Assessment objectives: Students will demonstrate:

  • An ability to listen attentively and responsively
  • An understanding of the processes at work in music
  • An ability to communicate knowledge, understanding and musical insight with clarity
  • Technical and interpretative competence in performing
  • Musical invention in composing

Methods of assessments: these assessments are all externally-assessed:

  • Component 3: Performing (12 -20 minutes)
  • Component 4: Composing: External assessment – a single composition between about 8 and 12 minutes or group of related pieces
  • Component 5: Investigation and Report – an essay of about 2,500 words

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact our staff today.