"Music has the power of producing a certain effect on the moral character of the soul, and if it has the power to do this it is clear that the young must be directed to it and educated in it.” Aristotle
The Madras Music department offers many exciting opportunities in school and beyond. Pupils involved in extra-curricular groups take part in a variety of school and community-based performances and projects including School Concerts, Talent Show, Burns Competition as well as many performances at local venues. All extra-curricular groups perform competitively and non-competitively at the Fife Festival of Music. The department has forged close links with St Andrews University and staff and pupils continue to work collaboratively on exciting new projects involving sector leading professionals. Previous projects have included a performance at the V &A alongside the Tenebrae Choir, the creation of an electronic music installation at the Byre Theatre inspired by the Artwork of Jila Peacock and a performance with members of the Avison Ensemble.
The Music Curriculum
Music positively impacts a learners’ academic performance, assists in developing social skills and provides an outlet for creativity. Our music curriculum brings together the three elements of music, performing, composing and listening. Music technology is used intrinsically to compose, record and enhance performance.
S1 Music (1 period per week)
In S1 there is a strong emphasis on developing performing skills through solo and group performing tasks. In S1 learners have the opportunity to explore the following instruments: Keyboard, Drum kit, Glockenspiel and Guitar.
- Taster sessions on classroom instruments performing In The Mode.
- Pupils choose 2 instruments to focus on in skill building units throughout S1. This includes working on a group performance.
- Pupils are given the opportunity to compose, including a Leitmotif and Christmas jingle.
- Literacy in class and homework introducing note names, note values, time signatures etc.
- Introduction to Music Technology.
S2 Music (2 periods per week)
In S2 the learners continue to focus on developing their performing skills as well as continue to develop their understanding of musical styles, concepts and musical literacy, building on their prior knowledge from S1. Pupils will be given more opportunities to develop their composing skills, through creating their own pieces. Music technology skills will also be developed
- Pupils continue to work on the 2 instruments chosen in S1. Practice is split throughout S2 on each instrument. This includes working on solo and group performing on both instruments.
- Pupils complete units of work including World Music - Samba
- Pupils are given the chance to compose, including a Christmas Composition and Samba.
- Literacy in class and homework – revising and consolidating note names, note values, music concepts etc.
S3 Music (2 periods per week)
In S3 the learners continue to develop their performing skills, their understanding of musical styles, concepts, and musical literacy, building on their prior knowledge from S2. During this year the learners will complete a national performing unit of work. Pupils will be given more opportunities to develop their composing skills, through creating their own pieces. Music technology skills will also be developed. The course components covered will equip pupils to continue into a senior phase music class.
- Pupils continue to work on the 2 instruments chosen. Practice is split throughout S3 on each instrument. This includes working on solo and group performing on both instruments.
- Pupils are given the opportunity to compose, including a Christmas Song and Blues improvisation.
- Pupils complete a National 5 Scottish Studies unit recording their performance
- Literacy in class and homework continuing to work on note names and values as well as tones, semitones scales and music concepts.
Senior Phase Courses
National 3/4/5, Higher and Advanced Higher
SQA Music Courses provides a broad practical experience of performing and creating music and develops related knowledge and understanding of music. Learners develop their skills and creative capabilities as musicians and gain the skills they need to perform and create music and to confidently discriminate between music concepts and styles. For further information and music resources pupils should refer to their TEAMS.
Pupils are required to perform on 2 instruments or one instrument and voice at all levels.
At N3, pupils will continually record their progress on both instruments and this will be assessed internally on a pass/fail basis.
At N4, pupils are required to prepare an 8 programme which should include a minimum of two contrasting pieces on both instruments/voice. This will be assessed internally under exam conditions around Feb/March time.
At N5, pupils are required to prepare an 8 minute programme which should include a minimum of two contrasting pieces on both instruments/voice. This will be assessed by a visiting examiner around Feb/March time.
At Higher, pupils are required to prepare a 12 minute programme which should include a minimum of two contrasting pieces on both instruments/voice. This will be assessed by a visiting examiner around Feb/March time.
At Advanced Higher, pupils are required to prepare an 18 minute programme which should include a minimum of two contrasting pieces on both instruments/voice. This will be assessed by a visiting examiner around April/May time.
Pupils will develop their knowledge and understanding of music, music concepts and musical literacy.
Through researching, discussing and analysing a variety of musical styles and periods, pupils will gain an understanding of the structure of pieces and the concepts required at their level of study. Musical literacy skills will also be developed at each level.
Pupils will continually record their progress and understanding within this element of the course. This will provide the necessary evidence required for assessment at N3 and N4 levels which will be assessed on a pass/fail basis.
At N5, higher and advance higher pupils will sit an Understanding Music paper in May.
Pupils are required to experiment using a range of compositional methods and music concepts in creative ways.
Pupils will continually record their progress, showing development of compositional skills and making use of a range of musical concepts. As well as building a bank of short compositional excerpts, pupils are required to prepare one final piece at the appropriate level.
At N3 and N4, this unit will be internally assessed on a pass/fail basis at all levels. N5, higher and advance higher pupils will have to submit their composition and evaluation to the SQA where it will be awarded a mark which will contribute to their overall award.
Study support is available every Monday and Wednesday in the Music Department
The Madras College Pipe Band
At Madras there has long been a tradition of interest in Scottish music with the pipes being taught for over half a century. The Pipe Band was formed in 1993 closely followed by the creation of the Madras Tartan and this group is highly regarded in School and the community. This is a significant opportunity for pupils, with tuition in all the arts of piping and drumming as well as the benefits of the musical and social activity of belonging to a young Pipe Band. The Pipe Band is often asked to play for important events and competes annually in the Scottish Schools Pipe Band Championships. Performances include Madras Sports Day, Madras Burns Supper, School concerts as well as the St Andrews Day Parade, St Andrews University events and the Alfred Dunhill Links Golf Championship. The Band rehearses throughout the year. Membership can provide a great boost to self-esteem. Lessons are available after school in the music department and for further information contact Lynne.email@example.com
Working with our Feeder Primary Schools
Members of the department support our feeder primary schools with Music activities.
Performances at Madras College - Pupils from our feeder primary schools are invited to perform at the annual Christmas and Summer Concert.
Transition Play Day – Primary pupils who are learning a musical instrument in our feeder primary schools are invited to attend the Madras Play Day which is held in May. Primary and Secondary pupils rehearse together in the wind band, string orchestra, clarsach group and piano chamber ensemble. The Play day provides an excellent opportunity for primary pupils to become familiar with the music department, meet the music staff and get to perform with the secondary instrumental pupils in these large ensemble groups.
Extra-Curricular Activities and Performance Opportunities
Our pupils demonstrate a high level of commitment to their classroom learning, but they also acknowledge the fact that they learn and develop many skills through activities out with the classroom. As a result, the music department offer a wide range of extra-curricular activities.
Curriculum for Excellence promotes pupils developing to become responsible citizens, confident individuals, effective contributors and successful learners. Taking part in musical activities gives pupils the chance to develop in these four areas through:
- commitment to rehearsals
- performing within the school and out in the community
- working and learning with others
- working for the enjoyment of others
- developing confidence in new situations
- representing the school, themselves and their family
- leadership in rehearsals
Junior, Senior and Mixed Choir
At Madras we have four choirs – Junior (S1-S3), Senior Girls (S4-S6), Mixed Choir (S4-6) and Staff Choir. We rehearse weekly and perform at school concerts, community events and the Fife Festival of Music. The Junior Choir (S1-S3) have performed The Lion Sleeps Tonight recently and are working on Butterfly Fly away and Seize the Day. The Senior Girls choir recently performed Like an Eagle and America at the music festival and are now working on Make You Feel My Love. The Mixed Choir performed It Don’t Mean a Thing and Million Dreams. They are currently working on Streets of London. Anyone is welcome as long as you want to join in and sing.
Junior Choir – Wednesday Lunchtime
Senior Girls Choir – Thursday Lunchtime
Mixed Choir – Tuesday Lunchtime
Staff Choir – Wednesday Lunchtime
All choirs are getting prepared for the Christmas Concert in December and the Summer Concert in June!
The Jazz Group at Madras is newly formed and includes guitar, drum kit, bass, saxophone, electric guitar, piano and voice. They rehearse on a Thursday lunchtime with Mr Lloyd. Recently the Jazz Group performed at the Fife Festival of Music where they were praised for ensemble playing and enjoyable performance.
The flute quintet rehearse on a Wednesday lunchtime. They have played at the Christmas concert and in the non- competitive class at the Fife Festival of Music. Recently we have played Sicilienne by Maria Theresa Von Paradis and you've got a friend in me from the movie Toy Story.
Junior, Senior and Lower Strings
We are lucky enough at Madras to have three string groups – Junior, Senior and Lower Strings. The groups rehearse weekly with Mr Higgins and Mrs Furness. Recently the groups performed at the Fife Festival of Music and received excellent feedback from the adjudicators. The groups also perform at the school’s Christmas and Summer Concerts.
Junior and Senior Wind Band
The Senior Wind Band rehearse on a Monday after school. They perform at the summer and Christmas concerts as well as the Fife Festival of Music where they recently were awarded their first ever platinum grade! We have woodwind, brass and percussion students from S2 to S6 and play a variety of repertoire, with a focus on more modern and popular music. Most recently we have played music by Gershwin, the Star Wars themes and the How to Train Your Dragon theme tunes.
At Madras we have a Percussion Ensemble which is for all percussion students receiving lessons in school. We rehearse on a Wednesday lunchtime and the group is led by Mrs Morrison. We play a variety of genres of music from well-known pop tunes to more traditional percussion ensemble pieces. We use an array of instruments including marimba, vibraphone, xylophone, glockenspiel, timpani and drum kit. We love performing at all school concerts and music festivals.
The Clarsach Group rehearse on a Tuesday lunchtime and perform a range of traditional and modern music. Recently they have been learning boat songs from all of the Scottish islands such as The Arran Boat and The Skye Boat Song.
At Madras we have a Junior and Senior Trad Band. They are working on a range of traditional and modern Scottish music to perform in and out of school. This playlist is shared in school at the moment to inspire ideas within the group and encourage others to join. Our Junior group are now working on a set of reels – The Magic Fiddle, Ale is Dear, Mason’s Apron and Smelling Fresh. The Senior group are working on a set of jigs – Chloe's Passion, Pitt Street and Merrily Danced the Quaker Wife.
Junior Trad Band – Monday Lunchtime
Senior Trad Band – Wednesday Lunchtime