Performing Arts

 The Vision of the Bradford Academy Performing Arts Department is to offer learners the opportunity to build upon existing performing skills in a supportive and a values rich environment. The ensemble experience of being part of a group working toward a common goal is emphasized through the reinforcement of rehearsal protocol and instilment of self reliance, open mindedness and commitment to making a difference. Our Vision therefore is for our learners to produce highly polished performances and to perform them in a professional and autonomous manner. Learners will:

  • experience the value of high standards of achievement and the encounter with the creative process. Knowledge and understanding
  • experience the perseverance required for bringing into being our perception of beauty and aesthetic awareness. Knowledge and understanding
  • enlarge respect of themselves and others. Attitudes
  • develop responsibility and ownership for own learning- personal judgments are fundamental to the learning process. Attitudes
  • discover the power of creativeness and initiative. Qualities
  • recognize limitations that activate the creative process. Qualities
  • elevate the “Status Quo” as young artists. Skills
  • experience inside things as oppose to about things. Skills
  • experience Performing Arts as an expressive medium, learning involves expressing. If it is a creative art, learning means creating. Knowledge and understanding

Quality First Teaching and Learning.

In Performing Arts we are clear from the start about the most important aspects of our lessons, and the core “performing arts” gains that we want learners to make.  We discard irrelevant diversions and make secure judgements about the best way to meet individual needs. We think about how we are going to monitor the learners’ progress as an integral part of our units. We use our summary planning  to jot down comments about individuals as they occur to us. 

We engage learners in an ongoing dialogue about what they are working on and how they think they are progressing.  We talk widely about performing arts, what they are listening to and what they hope to achieve.  All this informs our medium and long term planning.

Once we have the beginnings of a profile for our learners,  we build sufficient flexibility into our work to allow for their differences.   We ask these questions as we plan:

  1. Am I respecting the broader needs of the learners?  Is the material of the lesson appropriate and does it motivate the learners?
  2. Across the unit of work, have I built in enough exit and entry points? If I see problems on the horizon how can I change tack and keep the learners motivated and on track?
  3. Can I arrange activities in tiers, so that all learners experience a sense of achievement?
  4. What’s the best way of grouping the learners?  In some circumstances it may be appropriate to group the most able together; in others, carefully arranged mixed-ability groups may bring the most benefit to all learners.
  5. Are my questioning techniques sufficiently flexible?  Can I move each learner forward with my questions so that all experience a sense of achievement and progress?

Finally in Performing Arts we create an ethos in class where all contributions are valued known and understood.  Good learning guides are sensitive to the shifting needs of classroom interaction, to the moment-to-moment changes in the needs of their learners.  Above all, we have the highest expectations; expect the task to be completed to the very best of the individual’s capability.  All learners love to be challenged when they feel that the task is achievable.

In Performing Arts Focused Assessment

  • involves pupils in the process
  • is understood by pupils and staff
  • is consistent between all staff
  • does involve target setting for pupils, target in folders for every learner
  • needs to be carried out by staff, pupils’ peers, and the pupils themselves
  • will flag up inconsistencies in attainment between subjects
  • does tie into the Bradford Academy policy on assessment

Ways in which we address this are

RAG As well as the red, amber and green tray system for evaluation and extended learning learners  are encouraged to write their name on a red amber or green post it note and stick it on the whiteboard to their chosen target eg:

 To achieve LEVEL 6 you must: 6c          compose a piece of music to fit your extract which makes appropriate use of the musical elements6b compose music which makes imaginative use of the musical elements and has a sense of structure 6a        compose music which is all of the above, is imaginative and fits the purpose

This are used as a starter/introduction activity and referred to throughout the lesson. In a plenary/self evaluation/peer assessment activity learners can “learner assess”  each performance simply by passing the whiteboard in groups and moving their post it note to the relevant assessment criterion. If a learner progresses beyond their chosen colour then this shows obvious progress, likewise if progress has not been sufficient.

Archived Assessment On the learning gateway under subjects we are assembling sets of assessment evidence with attainment levels in which PA staff can then moderate or standardise their own assessment evidence. Learners can also peer assess and take from the archived assessment their own diagnostic assessment.

Target setting and Tracking is applied in four ways in Performing Arts we :

  1. Use a spreadsheet, calculating  the totals of all the assessments made. Absent marks should be amended to average marks. There will be an ‘Auto sum’ function on the spreadsheet to enable you to do this very quickly.
  2. Sort all the pupils into rank order, starting with the lowest scoring pupil.
  3. We then decide the National Level the highest ranking and the lowest ranking pupil should be, and then spread the levels accordingly in the rank order we have created.
  4. We then manually review all the marks for anomalies, for example, pupils who have shown particular strengths in instrumental music which have not necessarily been shown in the classroom. In these cases, you can adjust the national level accordingly.

Pupil Grouping  All work is carried out within friendship and teacher selected groups with a view to ensuring that less able musicians work with more able/extra-curricular musicians.

The Learning Environment

The music ICT suite comprises of 16 macs with Sibelius 5 and E-logic express, a network server and a teacher’s mac providing remote control, monitoring and interaction with learner’s computers. An audio network enables the learning guide to broadcast audio, including spoken word, directly into learner’s headphones, and monitor audio from each learner’s mac, making recordings into the eSAAMS assessment software. The learning guide can also broadcast their screen to all learner’s macs, power-on and power-off the systems remotely, lock the learner’s computers and engage with learners one-on-one.

The Recording Studio is a 32 Track Digital System that was balanced to meet the needs of the curriculum with the ability to be used as a commercial project studio. There are live audio feeds from the main learning environments, percussion room, assembly hall and a further ensemble room, directly into the recording studio.

The Control Room was professionally treated to provide an optimal acoustic environment, and in order to integrate recording projects with the learning environment, the recording studio was made accessible via the data network. The Learning environment Keyboard system is a bespoke matrix solution, designed to meet the academy’s specific requirements and budget, enabling the learning guide to monitor any of the learner stations from the learning guides desk

The large format 8-bus Mackie mixing console and associated outboard effects and dynamics processing devices cater for tracking and mixing of signals, while a Fostex high-definition audio recorder ensures that pristine quality performances are always captured. All equipment is housed in a bespoke furniture configuration that includes ample space for an A/B monitoring speaker system. A range of professional microphones, acoustic wall treatment, DVD audio mastering instruments and various studio ancillary tools complete the installation to a standard usually only found in the commercial performing arts industry.

Citizenship in Performing Arts has always been a natural element, however in the Performing Arts Department we develop and measure Citizenship in the following ways:

  • Pupils are encouraged to analyse, evaluate and compare their compositions and then communicate ideas and feelings about their and their peer’s music. Pupils are encouraged particularly to adapt their own musical ideas and refine and improve their own and others’ work via constructive and positive feedback and feed-forward.
  • All work is carried out within friendship and teacher selected groups with a view to ensuring that less able musicians work with more able/extra-curricular musicians.
  • Performing Arts at Bradford Academy contributes to school events. It provides pupils with the opportunity to represent the school in the community, regional, national and international settings and to recognise their own responsibilities and the need to work towards the common good. Pupils look at music from a variety of cultures and pupils experience workshops form leading world musicians of the community such as Asif Iqbal for Asian music and Bill Hayton for music of the Latin Americas.
  • Within the schemes themselves pupils discuss issues raised in the lyrics used in popular music from different times and cultures. A popular discussion within the year nine scheme is Reggae and its connections with Rastafarianism. Pupils throughout the school experience songs in languages such as Russian, Zulu, Hindu and Cherokee. They are made aware of the different functions of music in different cultures for example, intention, use, venue, occasion and the cultural environment.