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Curriculum Leader:

Miss M Carr

Department Introduction:

Why do we teach music?


  • Music enhances learning and makes it more enjoyable.
  • It is scientifically proven that music enhances brain functioning.
  • Music is a universal language. It inspires common human feelings and bridges gaps between cultures that spoken languages cannot.
  • Music inspires and evokes emotion in a healthy way. It touches our emotional being and evokes moods and feelings that are sometimes difficult to express.
  • Music creates ambiance.
  • You can use music in any environment to enhance and augment what is already there.
  • All religions use music to help express spiritual values, and all religions use music to uplift the spirit.
  • Music sparks the imagination.


Music is taught to every student in Key Stage 3 and is offered as an option for GCSE and A Level. The department also offers instrumental tuition on all orchestral instruments, voice, piano, keyboard and pop and rock guitar. These lessons supplement a diet of Curriculum Music rich in cultural influences and spanning the historical periods from Baroque to Rock and Pop.

We aim to expose students to music that they might otherwise never hear. By doing so, we hope to impart a love and understanding of music that will enrich the students’ life.

Department Aims:

Key Stage 3:

During Key Stage 3 pupils explore a range of musical styles through our vertical themes Composing, Appraising and Performing. The musical styles will allow students to develop an understanding of a topic based on the Western Classical Tradition, Popular Music and World Music.


Year 7


  • Elements of Music
  • Film Music
  • World Music: Around the World in 10 Genres


Year 8


  • The Waltz
  • Theme and Variation
  • The Blues


Year 9


  • Popular Music
  • Indian Classical Music
  • New Directions: Music of the 20th Century


We aim to make music exciting by offering a wide range of opportunities to find out how music is created. We encourage a contextual knowledge of the music studied and teach students how to be analytical when studying compositional devices. Students have opportunities to use their own instruments alongside classroom instruments.


Our lessons are varied and include lots of opportunity to work in pairs or groups, allowing students to develop their transferable skills and apply them across their academic studies.

Key Stage 4:

We follow the Eduqas GCSE syllabus.


  1. Performing - 30%
  2. Composing - 30%
  3. Appraising - 40%.


The subject is covered by listening to and analysing the set works and unfamiliar works, composing using techniques learned from the styles explored and performing as a soloist on their chosen instrument and as part of an ensemble. 60% of the course is completed as coursework with the Appraising Examination sat during the summer session in Year 11.


Coursework - Performing


Guidance is given as to what music should be selected for the performance module and the assessment criteria are shared with them to enable them to understand what is expected of them. Students may offer any instrument or voice. Opportunities to perform with others are given in lessons and GCSE students are expected to be a member of at least one extra-curricular group run by the school. Students will receive instrumental lessons as a Half Individual (fortnightly) basis in Year 10 to support their Performance Coursework.


Coursework - Composing


During the first year, technical composition exercises are completed to allow students to develop an understanding of music software used to compose. Students will be supported through workshops to develop the skills required to compose a Free and Set composition, given by the exam board. These exercises lead the way to periods of controlled conditions when students work on their own ideas.


Examination - Appraising


The set works are analysed and discussed in depth. Resources are available for students to support their learning.

The Areas of Study are:


  • AOS 1: Musical Forms and Devices
  • AOS 2: Ensemble Music
  • AOS 3: Film Music
  • AOS 4: Popular Music


AOS 1 and AOS 4 include the set works: Bach Badinerie and Toto Africa. Students will study these set works in depth and develop their analytical skills, enabling students to identify how the Elements of Music are used. The appraising course provides good preparation and a clear progression route for those wishing to study music at a higher level.


GCSE Music is a varied course. It has practical performance and composition units and with the suite of computers available for use it also provides students with opportunities to build their specialist ICT knowledge and skills. Music is also a highly academic subject. The knowledge and understanding required to succeed is best supported by some prior knowledge of musical theory and it is also advisable to be of a good standard on any chosen instrument before embarking on the course. We suggest a minimum of Grade 4 at the end of Year 9. We offer reduced rates on instrumental lessons taken in school on one instrument if taking GCSE Music. It is advisable to have in individual lesson if studying at this level.

Key Stage 5:

We follow the Eduqas A Level syllabus


What will you study?


Your course will be broken down into the Vertical Themes covered at GCSE and KS3.


  • Performance (35%) You will be expected to play 10 – 12 minutes worth of music for your final performance in the spring of Year 13. The level of difficulty expect is the equivalent of Grade 6.
  • Composition (25%) You will submit a portfolio of two works at the end of Year 13. The first is a style composition (written in a specific Classical or Romantic style) and the second is a free composition, in which you can follow your own interests.
  • Appraising Exam (40%) You will complete listening exercises, analysis and write short essays to demonstrate your knowledge of three main areas of study outlined above.




You will continue with your vocal or instrumental lessons as you prepare for a solo assessed performance in Year 13. You must perform in at least two different styles, but the repertoire choice is up to you. Instrumental lessons are subsidised for students who opt for A Level Music.



You will learn to compose music in the style of Classical and Romantic composers supported by detailed analysis of how this musical language works. In the second year, you will develop your skills in free composition, writing music in any style of your choice.


Appraising Exam

For the exam we will explore three areas of study:


  • The Western Classical Tradition. This music is the cornerstone of Classical Music – e.g. Mozart, Haydn, Mendelssohn Brahms & Mahler
  • Musical Theatre. Twentieth century musicals are enduringly popular and form a standard repertoire of songs that continues to be influential to the present day – e.g. Rogers, Sondheim, Schonberg & Lloyd-Webber
  • Into the Twentieth Century. The music written in the first half of the twentieth century is varied and bold, with lots of styles from which students might take inspiration for their own compositions – e.g. Debussy, Poulenc, Stravinsky

Extra-Curricular Activities:

We have a thriving extra-curricular provision in place within the Department with over 11 musical ensembles rehearsing on a weekly basis. There are plenty of performance opportunities that are scheduled across the academic year where students can showcase their performance talents. These include our annual Punch and Carols Performance, Spring Concert and Whole School Show.

Our musical ensembles are led by our expert team of Instrumental Teachers and provide students the opportunity to broaden their knowledge of repertoire and develop their performance skills.


Our Musical Ensembles include:


  • Junior Choir
  • Senior Choir
  • Vocal Ensemble
  • Musical Theatre
  • Intermediate Strings
  • Senior Strings
  • Concert Band
  • Flute Choir
  • Symphony Orchestra
  • Theory Club
  • Composition Clinic
  • Rock and Pop
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