Excellence through Endeavour


  • Head of Subject: Mr C. Anderson
  • Year groups taught: All


Music is so much a part of the background of everyday life that we tend to take it for granted.  For many people, however, it is a powerful focus for creative energy, one which both stimulates and guides the imagination.  Music education aims to develop aesthetic sensitivity and creative ability in all pupils.

Why is this subject important?

Music is a universal language that embodies one of the highest forms of creativity. Music education engages and inspires pupils to develop a love of music and their talent as musicians, and so increase their self-confidence, creativity and sense of achievement. As pupils progress, they develop a critical engagement with music, allowing them to compose, and to listen effectively.

Resources to highlight

The Music department is very well equipped with Keyboards, Synthesizers, tuned and untuned percussion, acoustic and electric guitars, bass guitars, 4 drum kits plus an electronic kit. Our Music computers run Cubase software and our Macs run the latest version of Pro Logic (as used in the top recording studios throughout the world) and come equipped with Garage Band recording hardware and software. We also have some great performance equipment including PA systems and many different amplifiers.

Key stage 3

Throughout the lesson students develop performance skills using keyboards, guitars and vocals. Composition and listening skills develop by analysing music and then creating some either in groups or as solo performers.

Years 7 and 8

Structure of course
Music and the arts are taught on a rotation system. Each group have half a term of Music twice a year covering two major project based topics.  This rotation includes Art and the Performing Arts.

Topics covered
Notation; Keyboard performance and performance techniques; Individual and Group composition;  Guitar performance. Improvisation;  The Development of Popular music From the Blues to the Beatles; Song Writing. Singing; World Music.

The skills students will learn this year are

  • How to read Music and chord charts
  • How to perform on keyboards and guitars
  • How to use chords to compose music
  • Melody writing
  • Structuring a piece of music
  • An understanding of the History of ‘pop’ music styles and Instruments
  • Independent Study
  • Working in a group

Assessment is at the end of each key stage and students have challenging targets set based on our baseline assessments of their ability to ensure all students make at least 3 to 4 levels progress through stage 4.

Key stage 4


Students taking one of these courses will timetabled for two 75 minute lessons per week covering work associated with listening, composing and performing.

For GCSE 80% of the qualification is coursework based, while for the current BTEC it is 100% coursework based.

As well as their normal practical work in lessons we also use Rockschool UK ltd to deliver a 4 week rock band course. We also regularly take advantage of workshops from the Music service including opportunities to study and perform world music such as African Djembe, Indian Dhol drumming and South American Samba.

Students undertake: Either GCSE (AQA) or Edexcel BTEC First Award.

Pathway: GCSE

  • Qualification: GCSE Music 4270
  • QAN Code: 500/4666/4
  • Examining body: AQA

The skills and qualities Students need to succeed in this course are
For this course you must be able to perform either as an instrumentalist or a singer (you don’t have to do both) to access the higher grades (A-C) you need to perform pieces at Grade 4 or higher.  Instrumental lessons or some vocal coaching for singers is essential for this exam. If you already have lessons you are suited to take the exam.  If you don’t have lessons, we will arrange these for you in Woodwind, Brass, Strings, Guitar, Drums, Vocals (you decide) you need an interest in Music and be prepared to perform individually and as part of a group for recordings.

What you will study

  • Unit 1: Listening to and Appraising Music 42701
    Written Paper – 1 hour – 80 marks – 20%
  • Unit 2: Composing and Appraising Music 42702
    Externally assessed – 40 marks – 20%
  • Unit 3: Performing Music 42703
    Controlled Assessment – 60 marks – 40%
  • Unit 4: Composing Music 42704
    Controlled Assessment – 30 marks – 20%

How is the course assessed?
20% is a written test, composing and appraising is 20%, (this is sent away to be assessed externally), performing 40%, (recorded and marked internally), composing 20% (recorded and marked internally)

What might you study after this?
A/AS Level music and music technology, Level 3 vocational qualifications Edexcel BTEC Level 3 Certificate/Subsidiary Diploma/Diploma/Extended Diploma in Music.

Pathway: BTEC

  • Qualifications: Edexcel BTEC Level 1/Level 2 First Award in Music
  • QAN Code: 600/6818/8
  • Examining body: Edexcel

The skills and qualities Students need to succeed in this course are
You must have a genuine interest in Music and be prepared to undertake research and written work. You must be prepared to work as part of a team and develop your instrumental skills. Anyone who has studied Music in year 7 & 8 can access the course.

What you will study
There are 4 units of study undertaken:

  • The Music Industry
    In this unit you will research learn about the different types of organisations and job roles that make up the music industry. You will sit a 1 hour written exam.
  • Managing a Music Product
    You will plan, develop and deliver one of the following music products: Either a live concert/event or a CD/and online product.
  • Introducing Music Composition
    You will explore different vocational examples and styles of music to create the short initial ideas for 4 compositions. You will then develop, extend and shape two of the initial four ideas. Finally, you will present complete and record one of these ideas as a completed composition.
  • Introducing Music Performance
    You will develop your music performance skills, complete a practice log and record a final live performance.

How is the course assessed?

  • Unit 1 is a 1 hour long written exam on roles in the Music industry which is externally marked/assessed.
  • Unit 2 is assessed internally. Evidence required will be a log of the process and a copy of the cd produced or video of the concert.
  • Units 3 & 4 are assessed internally. Evidence will be a recording of your performance and composition.

What might you study after this?
BTEC National Subsidiary Diploma, National Diploma A/AS level Music. Graduate diplomas at Music Colleges/conservatoires. Specialist music courses and apprenticeships in the associated PR and recording industries.

Possible careers

Musician, composer, songwriter, producer, musical director, conductor, arranger, sound technician  stage management , roadie, sound engineer, instrumental support, guitar tech, drum tech. artistic management personal and financial management, venue management, publicity, events security, studio management, promoter, marketing,  A&R (Artists and Repertoire) recording studio personnel, engineer, assistant engineer, technical manager, tech support, producer, creative manager, mastering engineer.

For more information contact

Mr C. Anderson

Useful links

Our Rock Club takes place on Mondays, after school. Click here for details.

See also

Other subjects in Performance, Arts and PE: