Music Overview

In Music, students develop and expand their knowledge of many musical genres, developing and refining skills in singing, instrumental techniques, composing and performing. Music is a very practical subject, in which students work independently either individually, in pairs or in groups. Students will also develop multi-media skills including elements of music technology, manipulation of audio, sound recording and using music notation software. Students spend time listening to lots of different types of music from all over the world to develop their repertoire of knowledge.

Image of guitars

The Key Stage 3 curriculum for Music is represented in three domains: 

  • Performance
  • Composition
  • Listening and appraisal

Each of these elements is taught independently and in combination to develop well-rounded musicianship.

Performance – Students will be given lessons on singing technique and given the task of selecting appropriate repertoire to perform to their class group, this may be as a solo or duet. The assessment for their performance is guided by the KS4 assessment model for performance which focusses on:

  • the challenge of the material selected for performance
  • the technical control and fluency of the performance
  • the expression and interpretation of the performance

The total mark is out of 30 and any student achieving 20 marks is invited to join the Vocal Scholars group who rehearse twice each week and present public concerts.

Students are taught to play the keyboards, guitar and drums and assessment follows the same process. They will develop skills so that they can perform together as an ensemble. At the end of the academic year ensembles within each class will perform a song or instrumental composition they created themselves. Those students expressing an interest will be given the opportunity to take up further instrumental or vocal study delivered in partnership with City Music Service.

Students learn about chords and accompaniment patterns including block chords, arpeggio chords, bass lines and chord inversions. Students listen to and appraise contrasting accompaniment patterns. They analyse and learn to play the accompaniment of well-known songs on the keyboard, focusing on accuracy.

Students learn about the characteristics of effective solo and ensemble performances including accuracy, expression and interpretation. Students also learn about effective rehearsal techniques. Students listen to and appraise vocal and instrumental performances covering a range of instruments, voices and musical styles. They choose a piece or song to perform as a soloist or in an ensemble, focusing on accuracy and expression.

Composition – Students will be taught how to create their own music using standard notation and software support through Garageband, Sibelius and Logic. Technology plays an important role in allowing students to manipulate sound for specific musical outcomes. Students begin their compositional journey by learning to use 12 bar blues as a soundscape for their ideas and the basis for structuring sound sections. They are expected to create multi-track recordings so they can build layers of musical sound. They will be introduced to film/game music, western and non-western musical traditions and given the opportunity to recreate music in a range of styles. They will be taught have to manipulate major, minor, whole tone and pentatonic scales and instructed on how to compose using serialism and minimalism as compositional devices.

Listening and Appraisal – Students will be exposed to a wide range of musical idioms, styles and genres and, by understanding the roots and techniques involved in this music, be able to incorporate elements into their own compositions. Students will be introduced to the acronym DR.P.SMITH to help them understand and rationalise what they are hearing beyond the melodic line and then to calculate the quality and intension of what they are listening to.

  • D – Dynamics = the volume, phrasing, and tempo manipulations
  • R – Rhythm = the duration of each note in relation to the notes around it and how multiple rhythms combine
  • P – Pitch = the range of notes used and who/what the piece is intended for
  • S – Structure = the way a piece of music in constructed on put together, its overall shape.
  • M – Melody = a single line of pitch and rhythm which may form into a ‘tune’
  • I – Instruments = the timbre or sound quality individual and combined real and virtual sounds and the sources
  • T – Texture = the way multiple lines of music are combined to create different effects
  • H – Harmony = the way different pitches combine to create chords and counterpoint (homophony and polyphony = single groups of notes as in a hymn and multiple lines of music such as a symphony)

Assessment will be made through a series of listening tests given each half term with 50 questions and a percentage outcome.

Where can Music take me?

Music image

Music Department

Mr H Gore

BTEC Music Practice qualification (all cohorts)

The Academy believes in developing the person as a whole so they can accomplish educational excellence."