GCSE Performing Arts/ AQA Specification
For unit 1 students need to produce a portfolio. This should be a practical working record in their chosen performing arts disciplines which includes:
- An indication of their initial skills level and the activities carried out to improve the skills
- Materials showing research into the performing arts industry
- Three observations during the course about their working practice by suitably qualified people.
Students should provide evidence of the following:
- Skills development
- Planning and research
- Practical activities
- Contextual understanding of work related aspects
- Evaluation of own and other’s work
This unit sets the performing arts industry in context. Research and development activities should allow your students to explore the range of performance products, experience these as a member of an audience, select ideas and relevant techniques and feed this into their own work for performance. The work carried out in this unit will be led by the teacher at first.
When students have the knowledge, confidence and sense of responsibility, then they could be given more control over the organisation of their work, under teacher supervision.
Students will be provided with the opportunities to work continuously on developing their skills and techniques.
The ‘skills development’ demanded in Unit 1 should be approached holistically. This means that the practical activities carried out by the student will lead to the acquisition of the necessary skills, knowledge and understanding to plan and perform the showcase for Unit 2, and where applicable, to carry out and perform the commission in Units 3 and 4, for the Double Award.
If the Single Award is done over two years, then the skills development for Unit 1 should be carried on into the second year, before beginning work on the showcase for Unit 2.
Teachers will monitor the planning and research to ensure the materials are suitable and will make the final decision about the content.
For each of the projects, students could develop the required skills through the experience of planning, preparing and being involved in the performance and production team, for example, in performing, designing, or in technical and stage management areas.
All students will be provided with a range of experiences, workshops, skills classes (whole group, small groups or one-to-one where appropriate). This might include visits to the theatre, concerts or workshops with professional practitioners or study of work on digital media.
Work on mini-showcase presentations would also be vital in preparing and motivating students as well as offering opportunities to learn and develop new skills in areas such as design, lighting, sound, marketing or front of house.
Students could explore how other performers, technicians and designers communicate their ideas to an audience by watching a range of performance products and considering these from the point of view of a member of the audience. If possible, there should be opportunities for students to attend live performance events in order to experience the performance, production, design, technical and production elements working together. A live performance could also consist of watching the rest of the group performing prepared pieces.
By exploring the work of other practitioners in the students’ field or area of interest, they should get ideas on what they could use in their own work and provide inspiration on the development of the showcase or commission.
Local venues and contexts where performing arts events take place could be researched by looking in local newspapers or events programmes. For example, theatres, concert halls, schools and community centres, local TV or radio stations and recording studios, or outdoor venues all provide spaces for performance events. These could be visited and tours arranged.
As progress is made it should be recorded in the portfolios. Comments by the student, peers, teachers and others should be included along with other documentary evidence such as annotated photographs or photocopies of certificates. Work carried out outside the school, for example in a dance class, rock band or amateur dramatic society is equally valid and could be included in the portfolio.