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Curriculum Intent

“Want to train your brain? Forget apps, learn a musical instrument.” – Mo Castandi, The Guardian 24th Oct 2016

In Music, we aim to inspire students by teaching them a wide variety of musical styles from around the world, and build their confidence by encouraging them to listen to, compose, perform and appraise an assortment of music from various periods and genres.

As well as learning in class, students can be involved in instrumental lessons run by our fantastic peripatetic team; perform in groups including year group bands, brass band, and our Rhythm and Blues Band; or join our Sound Club where we teach students how to run a live sound event, use lighting boards and produce music using Cubase.  Students are given opportunities to perform in assemblies, at the Carol Service and Founders Day.

We aim to create confident, well rounded individuals who are committed to trying new ideas and thinking creatively. Music has the ability to help students to become creative and self-assured.

Key Stage 3

Year 7

Term 1 Term 2 Term 3 Term 4 Term 5 Term 6
Rhythms and Grooves in Music Performance Jazz and Improvisation Structures: Contrasts in Music Programme Music Music From Around the World

Year 8

Term 1 Term 2 Term 3 Term 4 Term 5 Term 6
The Blues Minimalism – Patterns in Music Bach Prelude in C Moods in Music Theme and Variations: Contrasts in Music Folk music From Around the World

Year 9

Term 1 Term 2 Term 3 Term 4 Term 5 Term 6
Rock Music  

Electronic Dance Music



Ground Bass


Music for Film and Theatre  

Reggae Music



Extended Project


Year 7

Students are currently receiving one lesson of Music a fortnight in which we cultivate their skills in the areas of Performance, Composition, and Listening and Appraising. They will develop these skills individually, in small groups and as a class and will be given opportunities to use a variety of instruments and music software to work on these skills. They are encouraged to take up peripatetic lessons and be involved in a variety of groups and clubs.

Year 8

Students have one lesson a fortnight through which they expand the skills learnt in Year 7. Students will build on the performance, composition, and listening and appraising skills they have through the study of music from a variety of styles and periods.

Year 9

Students have one lesson a fortnight and apply their performing, composing, and listening and appraising skills in more complex situations. The curriculum will allow students to think more creatively and introduce them to concepts used by modern musicians of many different styles. 

KS4 Curriculum Overview:

At Key Stage 4 the GCSE Music course focuses around the continued enhancement and exploration of the three core musical skills: Listening and Appraising, Composing and Performing, yet in much more depth than during KS3.

Through Edexcel (our chosen exam board) our students will explore these skills in conjunction with four Areas of Study:

AoS 1 – Instrumental Music 1700 – 1820 (which covers the late Baroque, Classical and Early Romantic eras of Western Classical Music & Instruments of the Orchestra)

AoS 2 – Vocal Music (this broad topic covers all vocal music from all genres, classical and popular music)

AoS 3 – Music for Stage and Screen (covering all stage and screen mediums – including musicals, opera, films and TV programmes)

AoS 4 – Fusions (this includes a range of combined musical cultures, for example; Bhangra, Salsa, African, Celtic, Afro-Cuban and Latin American music).

Key Stage 4

KS4 Course Outline:

PAPER 1 – Performing – 30%

You must complete two performances, one as a soloist and one as a member of an ensemble (including a duet). By the end of Year 11, you should aim to be performing at approximately grade 4 standard.

You should have instrumental or vocal lessons on your chosen performance instrument/voice either through the school, or privately to help you to achieve your potential.

PAPER 2 –  Composing – 30%

You need to compose two pieces or music; one as a ‘Free Composition’ based on your own intended purpose (related to one of the 4 Areas of Study) and a ‘Set Brief’ composition..

Your submission must include the completed score (either in traditional notation, graphic score, lead sheet or detailed written description) and audio recording (acoustic or electronic) for both compositions.

PAPER 3 – Written/Listening Paper – 40%

At the end of Year 11, you will sit a 1 ½ hour written ‘Listening & Appraising’ exam based around the detailed analysis of eight set works and unfamiliar listening pieces from the four Areas of Study studied throughout the course.

This exam will also assess your musical dictation skills; your ability to analyse music notation on the stave; your understanding of musical language and vocabulary as well as general musicianship skills.

This paper includes an extended essay style question which will ask you to analyse one of your set works in more detail and compare it to an unfamiliar piece of music from the same Area of Study. This will involve the application of all the listening and appraising skills culminated throughout both KS3 and KS4.

Year 10 Course Content:

In Year 10, students will be introduced to composition, performance and listening and appraising skills they will need for GCSE Music. They will begin to study the eight set works set by the exam board in detail, including analysis of the key concepts, how it fits into the genre, and where it sits in the musical timeline. Students also develop their performance and composition skills alongside their analysis of their set work though a mixture of practical and creative tasks which are designed to build into the two performances and two compositions submitted to the exam board in Year 11.

Year 11 Course Content:

Students analyse the final three set works and develop their coursework until completed. The first of the two recorded performances takes place in September with the second taking place in January. The first composition (set brief) is completed by December and the free composition by March with the redrafts happening in Term 4. Once all the coursework is completed, students then have thorough revision sessions to aid them in being fully prepared for the analysis exam at the end of the two-year course.

Year 10

Term 1 Term 2 Term 3 Term 4 Term 5 Term 6
Introduction to GCSE Music; Composition techniques; Performing techniques AOS 1 Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No. 5 in D -3rd Movement AOS 1 Piano Beethoven’s Sonata No. 8 in C minor (“Pathétique”) -1st Movement AOS 2: Purcell’s Music for a While AOS 2: Killer Queen by Queen AOS 3: Defying Gravity (from Wicked)

Year 11

Term 1 Term 2 Term 3 Term 4 Term 5 Term 6
AOS 3 Main Title/Rebel Blockade Runner from Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope AOS 4 Release by the Afro Celt Sound System AOS 4 Samba Em Prelúdio performed by Esperanza Spalding AOS 1-4 Revision. Composition to a Brief Final Performances AOS 1-4 Revision GCSE Exams

Online Learning Support

Edexcel GCSE Music Revision Guide:

Music theory activities:

BBC Bitesize, including analysis of each set work:


Students in Year 9 will be exploring the variety of careers in the music industry. There are many jobs that are not tied down to performing including Producers; Recording Engineers; Artist Manager; Tour Managers; Music Teacher; Booking Agent; Publicist; Composers; Arrangers.

British Values

Rule of Law: Students learn about the copyright law and the Performing Rights Society.

Mutual respect: Students are taught about the values of different cultures through the study of a variety of music from different areas of the world.

Individual Liberty: Students explore civil rights through the history of Jazz, Blues and Rock music.