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The Wren School, Reading, Berks: Performance

Aiming High


Aim and ethos

The Performance departments aims to give students the opportunity to explore different genres in a fun and supportive environment. Students will be expected to ‘Aim high’ and think outside the box. Creativity and confidence will be key skills that they we will help them develop over their time with the department.

Students will have the opportunity to learn the Ukulele, Keyboard and how to use their voice in a healthy way. They will also gain an insight into how music technology is used to create and arrange music. Students will gain understanding in how music also supports learning across the curriculum. They will be able to take part in a wide range of clubs no matter what experience they have.

Students will have the opportunity to learn the basics of Drama. They will look at a variety of techniques in order to create dynamic and purposeful Drama.

Curriculum Information

Year 7

This is me

Music – Students will learn how to play chords and simple melodies on the Ukulele.  They will also start to develop their knowledge of western notation, the dimensions of music (formally known as the elements) and TAB.

Drama – Students will learn the Rules of drama, explore levels, using our bodies, mime, using our voice, tableaux, and hot-seating.

This is Us

Music – Students will learn about using their voices work and using them in a healthy and productive way. They will sing in three part harmony, becoming confident in holding their part whilst others sing different parts around them.

Drama – Students will learn the skills needed to be an excellent puppeteer.  Movement, voice and shadow puppets will be studied.

Genius of the past

Music – Students will learn about Mozart, his life and his music.  They will compose for the keyboard using Alberti Bass (a form of accompaniment which Mozart developed) and discover how to create and develop melodic ideas.

Drama – Students will explore various elements of drama including role-play, dialogue and motifs to recreate the life of an evacuee.

Inventions of the future

Music – Students will learn how to use Magix Music Maker, a piece of music software which allows students to arrange music using samples provided. They will develop their knowledge of timing and learn about the structure of Pop songs and recreate this in their arrangements.

Drama – Students will learn how to use trestle theatre masks effectively. Tableaux, body awareness stage awareness audience awareness, states of tension and more will be explored.

The power of humans

Music – Students will learn about the composer Camille Saint Saens and his work ‘The Carnival of the Animals’. They will learn how different instruments can be used to represent size, movement and personality traits. They will create compositions to reflect an animal of their choice demonstrating their ongoing knowledge of the dimensions of music and western notation.

Drama – Students will learn to build tension through devising and script work. Students will adapt scripts and create a final performance.

The Power of the Earth

Music – Students will learn about the composer Holst and his ‘Planet suite’. They will learn what a graphic score is, how to create their own and compose music for Space using different sounds on the keyboards to help reflect the imagery.

Drama – Linear Mime, Body language, Facial expressions, Face and body as a tool for performance, and exaggeration, will be explored. Self-reflection will be encouraged. This will culminate in an end of year performance assessment.

Year 8

My Values

Music – Students will learn about semitones and how to use them to create chords. They will compose music which has a chord accompaniment. Students will be encouraged to play melody and accompaniment simultaneously.

Drama – Students will look at non-naturalistic performance and the stock characters of melodrama. Students will learn about exaggerated acting style, gestures, facial expressions, asides, confessions and soliloquies.

My family values

Music – Students will develop their knowledge of instruments of the orchestra and the families they belong to. They will compose for instruments using the keyboards and Sibelius (music writing software). Sibelius is a key tool at GCSE and students will be taught the basics of how to use the software.

Drama – Students will be given the opportunity to explore and perform key elements of Shakespeare plays including Hamlet, Macbeth, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Othello, and Romeo and Juliet. Verse speaking, soliloquies and Shakespearean insults with be explored.

Clashes of culture
Music – Students will learn about the history and music of Reggae and how it influenced music in England in the 80’s. They will develop their keyboard skills and have the opportunity to learn chords on the guitar and play in groups. They will continue to develop their musical vocabulary and be able to use syncopation in their music.

Drama – Students will learn how to replicate a fight for the stage in safe and controlled a manner with an emphasis on narrative. Students will learn how to tell a story through stage combat and learn the techniques used by actors to make a fight seem real. This will make students more aware of their audience and ultimately make them better performers.

Celebration of culture
Music – Students will learn about Chinese culture. They will discover how the number five is linked to many aspects of life including the composition of music. Students will compose music using the pentatonic scale. They will be encouraged to use accompaniment in their work.

Drama – A Stanisalskian approach to character will be taken as we learn the methods to understand what it might be like to live a life other than our own. We will draw on our own experiences to create drama with the emphasis on process rather than end product.

The power of technology
Music – Students will expand on their knowledge of Magix music maker from year 7 and create arrangements in Pop structure using the samples available. They will demonstrate an understanding or verse, chorus, bridge and breakdown. They will evaluate each other’s arrangements, developing music technology vocabulary.

Drama – Students will learn how to use trestle theatre masks effectively. Tableaux, body awareness stage awareness audience awareness, states of tension and more will be explored in greater depth. We will look at the technology used to design the masks we use and mask work and it’s identity in society.

The power of my voice
Music – Students will develop their vocal skills. They will sing in small groups and be encouraged to develop their own harmonies in songs of their choice. They will also sing as a class using more complex music and harmonies.

Drama – Line stories. mockumentaries, direct address will be explored as students learn to perform in a creative and non-natural way inspired by key theatrical practitioners.

KS4 Curriculum

GCSE Exam board information

Edexcel GCSE in music is made up of 3 elements
Performance – This is worth 30% of the total mark. Students will be examined on solo and ensemble performance. Students will have several opportunities over the course to perform and be recorded. The best solo and ensemble performances for each candidate will then be marked and moderated and submitted to the board. Students may wish to perform on more than one instrument, including the voice.

Composition – This is worth 30% of the total mark. Students will create compositions based on each area of study during the course and they will also be required to complete one ‘free’ composition. Towards the end of the course they will be give a set amount of controlled assessment hours to work on and complete one of the compositions form the areas of study for submission.

Listening and Analysis – This is worth 40% of the total mark. During the course students will study 8 pieces of music from 4 different areas of study. At the end of the course they will sit a listening paper based on the pieces they have studied. There will also be a piece of music that they will not have studied previously which they will analyse using the theoretical knowledge, vocabulary and devices studied to comment.

GCSE Exam board information
WJEC Drama

Unit 1: Devising theatre
Unit 2: Performing theatre
Unit 3: Interpreting theatre

Unit 1: Devising Theatre

40% of qualification

Learners participate in the creation, development and performance of a piece of devised theatre based on either the work of a theatre practitioner or a genre in response to a stimulus.

Unit 2: Performing Theatre

Non-exam assessment: externally assessed by a visiting examiner

20% of qualification

Learners participate in a performance based on two 10 minute extracts from a performance text of their own choice.
• Learners will be assessed on either acting or design
• Learners work in groups of between two and four performers.
• Up to two additional learners, each working on a different design skill, may work with each performing group.

Unit 3: Interpreting Theatre

Written examination: 1 hour 30 minutes

40% of qualification -Section A: Set Text

A series of questions on one set text explored as an actor, designer and director from a choice of five set texts.



Term Dates


Term 2

Inset day – Fri 11 Nov & Fri 2 Dec 2022

Mon 31 Oct – Tue 20 Dec 2022

Christmas break – Wed 21 Dec – Tue 3 Jan 2023

Term 3

Wed 4 Jan – Fri 10 Feb

Half term – Mon 13 Feb – Fri 17 Feb 2023