THE MUSIC DEPARTMENT
Music is a lively and vibrant department which encourages participation by all, regardless of ability or age. It is a community driven environment which enjoys many successes. We work with the other schools in the area, both primary and secondary, and regularly celebrate our students’ achievements.
Patricia Gourley – Head of Music
Imogen O’Calloghan – Teacher of Music
Dave Parsons – Director of the Jazz Band and Flute, Saxophone, Piano and Keyboard Tutor
Nigel Challiss – Guitar and Bass Tutor
John Sipple – Drum Tutor
Graham Pearson – Clarinet, Brass and Violin Tutor
Music lessons are designed to help students have a practical experience of the subject through the four principal activities of performing, composing, listening and appraising. Students have exposure to the basics of music theory and the opportunity to perform on quality instruments. They also have the opportunity to utilize music technology to help develop compositional skills.
Students will undertake 3 cycles of study a year in KS3. Each unit of study will focus on music of different genres and cultures spanning from the Medieval period of music to the present day. As well as learning about these genres and cultures of music in lessons students will be encouraged to develop their core musical skills of performing, composing, listening and appraising in every unit.
In the upper school (yrs9-11) students have the opportunity to opt for GCSE or BTEC music. We are currently following the OCR exam specification for GCSE music. This course builds on the skills and knowledge learnt at KS3. Students are required to complete coursework comprising of 2 compositions (30%), 2 performances (30%) and an examination at the end of the third year where they listen to music and answer questions (40%). The BTEC music course is very different to the GCSE course as it is entirely coursework based. This is a vocational course and is therefore highly practical, with students being able to opt for units in areas such as Music Performance, Producing a Music Recording and Sequencing.
As well as instrumental tuition which is offered on just about any instrument, students can avail themselves in the range of extra-curricular activities on offer. Students are also encouraged to create their own ensembles and to make use of the professional equipment during lunchtimes and after school.
West Exe School has a rich musical history and annually stages Joint Jazz Music concerts with Exeter College Big Band, plus various other Music events throughout the year. Live MP3s of some of these performances will continue to be added to the School Website.
Our facilities are first-rate. Our suite of 20 PC Computers is a recent addition to boost our students’ grasp of Music IT. We run Sibelius, Cubase and Magix to do this. However, we also provide good quality tuned percussion and keyboards and have a number of orchestral instruments which can be borrowed, in particular a complete set of brass band instruments.