Head of Music: Mrs K Sidwell 


The music curriculum has been designed to provide students with a balance of musical knowledge and musical skills to support students to improve their understanding of different genres of music through performing, composing, listening and appraising.   

It is my intention to engage and inspire 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 though school they should develop a critical engagement with music, allowing them to compose, and to listen with discrimination and perform focusing on the inter-related dimensions of music.  


Key Stage 3 

I teach the KS3 curriculum in Year 7 and 8 with topics in a specific order to build on the knowledge and skills learnt and developed in the previous topic focusing on the elements of music, following the national curriculum.   

In Year 7 students cover the following topics: 

  • What is Music:  Learning about the elements of music and different instruments, looking at the elements of music using the Djembes and learning about the history of this instrument. 
  • Duration:  Understanding rhythm and written notation and using the elements of music to perform Samba music and learning about the culture of Brazilian carnival.  
  • Pitch:  Understanding treble clef and learning to play the keyboard. 
  • Famous Classical Composers:  Learning about different classical composers and learning to play Fur Elise and other classic pieces on the keyboard. 
  • Composition  Graphic Score:  Using the elements of music to compose music and graphic scores to notate. 
  • Musicals: Learning about how singing is used in musicals and composing a song for a musical using the skills and knowledge learnt during Year 7 

In Year 8 students cover the following topics: 

  • Blues and Jazz:  Learning about the development of Blues and Jazz music and their influence on pop music.  This will include learning about Ragtime, the history of blues and jazz and the 12-bar blues.  Students will develop their skills on the keyboard, reading notation, improvising and listening to music  
  • Song Writing:  Students will learn about the 4-chord trick, how to play different songs on the ukulele and will then progress on to writing lyrics, song structures and creating their own song.  
  • Film Music:  Students will learn to understand film music by playing film music, listening and appraising film music and using music technology to compose their own film music.  

In Year 9 students choose two Creative and Expressive Arts options from Drama, Fine Art, Music and Photography.  Choosing two Creative and Expressive Arts subjects allows students to have more time to develop a broader range of skills, which will make the transition easier at GCSE.  Students cover the following topics: 

  • Music Appreciation:  This will include trying out different instruments and choosing one to learn.  Learning to play chords on the ukulele.  Listening and appraising different styles of music.   
  • Music Theory and Solo Performance:  This will include reading notation and developing music theory knowledge, continuing to improve on their chosen instrument, and a project on their favourite music  
  • The History of Music and Solo Performance:  Students will learn about the history of music through listening and their own research from medieval to modern day.  They will continue to learn their chosen instrument.  


Key Stage 4 

At Key Stage 4 students can choose to study Pearson Edexcel GCSE Music.    

The course covers performing, composing and listening in a wide variety of musical styles – popular music, world music, and classical music.  There are opportunities to use music technology such as sequencing and recording.  The three course components are:  

  • Performance NEA (30% of final grade):  2 performances, a minimum of 1 solo (minimum 1 minute) and a minimum of 1 Ensemble piece (minimum 1 minute).  Performances must be a total minimum of 4 minutes across the solo and ensemble pieces.  
  • Composing NEA (30% of final grade):  2 compositions1 to set brief (minimum 1 minute) and 1 free composition (minimum 1 minute).  Compositions must be a total minimum of 3 minutes 
  • Appraising Exam (40% of final grade):  Exam 1hr 45mins.  Comprises of areas of study with 2 set works each:  
    • Instrumental Music 1700–1820 
    • Vocal Music 
    • Music for Stage and Screen 
    • Fusions.   


What can I do with a GCSE Music qualification?  

GCSE Music is a good preparation for further musical study.  Students may also wish to take a GCSE in Music simply because they enjoy music and want to further develop their skills and knowledge.  Students may wish to go into a job where it is useful to have had experience of music or where they will need to use some of the skills developed during this course.  These might include careers in the music industry, publishing, entertainment and teaching, or any job, which involves communication and expressive skills. 

CEA Learning Journeys