“Where words fail, music speaks.”

Hans Christian Andersen

Music is a vibrant and exciting subject that allows all students to be creative and develop skills at all levels in the three key areas of performance, composition and listening. The department has a fantastic range of equipment which allows our students to consistently produce work of a good standard. At Key Stage 3 students have two one hour lessons of curriculum music during the two week timetable. At Key Stage 4 we offer GCSE music (Eduquas specification). The department also offers extra-curricular ensembles including steel pan group and choir, as well as individual instrumental tuition on guitar, drums, keyboard, piano and voice.

The music department is lucky to be able to provide fantastic facilities for all students to enjoy making music and produce work of the very highest standard.

  • We have a range of specialist and none specialist percussion equipment including a steel pan set, small Samba kit, four acoustic drum kits, two electronic drum kits and various small percussion.
  • Our Music ICT Suite, featuring a number of PCs that run Sibelius 7, is used for a range of activities.
  • Many of our students use guitars either for tuition or in class lessons; for this purpose we have acoustic guitars as well as electric guitars and a range of amplification.
  • The classroom has 15 keyboards, headphones and percussion equipment for practical lessons.
  • We also have 2 practice rooms with pianos.


What pupils will learn


Key Stage 3

During years 7 & 8 students receive 2 hours of music education each fortnight. Through studying a range of relevant and engaging schemes of work students are able to develop their ability as performers and composers whilst also learning how to actively listen to and discuss music from a range of genres.

Year 7 Students compose their own rhythmic pieces using specialist percussion equipment.
Students also learn how to play the keyboard to compose their own creative pieces and study Indian Music.
Year 8 Students study and perform riffs, Reggae music and compose their own full scale pop song.


Key Stage 4

We offer the new Eduquas GCSE specification (accredited by Ofqual), which we believe allows all pupils to explore their own interests in a well-balanced, exciting course. This specification gives candidates opportunities to develop broader life-skills and attributes including critical and creative thinking, aesthetic sensitivity and emotional and cultural development.

Year 9 Students begin developing their skills in performance, composition and listening. During the year students will experiment with compositional development within popular music, as well as develop solo performance and ensemble skills.
Year 10 Students will continue to develop their skills across the areas of composition, performance and listening. Year 10 will see students begin the process of producing their first compositional work; this is a free composition. Many students choose to compose a popular song, piece of descriptive music or even a dance track. Students will also begin working on the set works found within the listening examination.
Year 11 During year 11, students will finalise their first composition as well as beginning their second composition set to a brief given by the exam board. Students will also complete both their solo and ensemble performance recordings. Listening work will continue to develop in order to prepare for the listening examination at the end of the course.


KS4 Areas of Study

All areas of the course are linked to the five Areas of Study:

  1. Musical Forms and Devices
    • A study of the music of the Baroque, Classical and Romantic eras.
    • This provides the context for a study of binary, ternary, minuet and trio, rondo, variation and strophic forms.
    • Students are encouraged to make links between music they listen to, pieces they perform and their own compositions, as well as music by composers from the twentieth and twenty-first centuries who use these forms and devices.
  2. Music for Ensemble
    • Music for ensemble forms the basis for a study of texture and sonority.
    • Through a study of diverse musical styles composed for ensemble, such as jazz and blues, musical theatre and chamber music, learners will consider how music is composed for small groups of instruments and voices.
  3. Film Music
    • Through this area of study learners are encouraged to consider how music for film is created, developed and performed, and the impact this has on the audience. Learners will have the opportunity to compose and perform film music and are encouraged to use musical technology to create mood and atmosphere through engaging with the story of the film.
  4. Popular Music
    • Through this area of study learners are encouraged to explore the musical idioms associated with a variety of popular music, and they will have the opportunity to perform popular music as well as compose music associated with a popular music genre. Learners are also encouraged to use music technology, understanding the impact this has on the way music is developed and performed in popular music.
  5. Set Works
    • There is an interesting approach to set works with this specification. Eduqas refers to them as ‘prepared extracts’ and there are only two (for the first and fourth areas of study).
      • Musical Forms and Devices – Eine Kleine Nachtmusik, Movement 3, Minuet: Mozart
      • Popular Music – Since You’ve Been Gone: Rainbow

With such a diverse range of musical styles to study, perform and compose, the students complete GCSE music possessing an exciting depth of knowledge and experience of the subject.

How pupils’ learning will be assessed


Performing music 30% – 72 marks

Two contrasting performances, one solo and one as a member of an ensemble.

  • Total duration of performance time is 4-6 minutes.
  • The standard of pieces should be broadly equivalent to grade 3 of the graded examinations.
  • One piece must be linked to one of the 4 Areas of Study.
  • Teacher assessed and externally moderated by a visiting moderator.


Composing music 30% – 72 marks

Two contrasting compositions. Total playing time of both compositions should be at least 3-6 minutes.

  • A composition which responds to a brief set by WJEC. The brief will be released during the first week of September in the academic year in which the assessment is to be taken. Learners select one from a choice of four briefs, each related to a different area of study.
  • 2: Free Composition. Learners will compose a piece of music in a style of their own choice. Learners will set their own brief for this composition. The brief itself is not assessed; however, learners are assessed on their musical response to the brief.
  • Learners are required to complete a signed log for each composition, outlining the process of development and refinement, which must be countersigned by the teacher to authenticate the process.


Appraising music 40% – 96 marks


  • 1½ hour listening / written examination. This examination will assess knowledge and understanding of music through four areas of study shown below.
  • This component encourages learners to develop skills in appraising music through the exploration of a wide variety of music linked to the four areas of study. Each area of study includes a list of terms focusing on particular musical knowledge and understanding.

Curriculum Narrative

KS4 Music Curriculum Narrative

KS3 Music Curriculum Narrative