Year 7 Curriculum

In Year 7 pupils develop their ability to recognise the key elements that can be used to describe music. Using ‘The Young Persons’ Guide to the Orchestra’ students analyse music and will compose short pieces, in groups, that are based on the YPG theme. They also begin to consolidate their knowledge of music theory (i.e. pitch and rhythm notation) and sing songs as a class.

Form and structure

This unit develops the pupils’ ability to recognise, explore and use different musical structures and understand how they can create different effects. They will learn about the importance of contrast and variety in musical structures. They learn to sing a ‘call and response’ song and explore ostinato accompaniments (rhythmic and/or melodic). They create and develop pieces in binary, ternary and simple rondo form, making connections between the structure and its impact on the listener.

Programme Music

This unit of work introduces pupils to a variety of programme music from Baroque through to the 20th century. Pupils will be encouraged to examine the techniques employed by composers to achieve description in music. Pupils undertake a variety of compositional exercises before working on a movement for a class orchestral suite.

Chords and fanfares

This unit develops the pupils’ ability to compose to a given brief. The trumpet variation from ‘The Young Persons’ Guide to the Orchestra’ will offer a starting point to an exploration of fanfares and what they do.

Dance Suite

This unit will focus on the ‘Dance Suite’ by Bartok and Vaughan Williams’ ‘English Folk Song Suite’. Pupils will be introduced to key aspects of folk music and folk inspired compositions. The pupils will compose some idiomatic folk inspired dance music and will combine them to produce a class dance suite.


This unit develops pupils’ ability to identify and create music based on cyclic patterns. Pupils are introduced to the concept that some music is conceived in cyclical rather than linear terms. Pupils listen to music from other cultures. They compose, in groups, using cyclical techniques. Throughout the year pupils will continue to practise music aural and theory skills. Pupils will also continue to sing together on a weekly basis.

Year 8 Curriculum

Experimental music

This unit of work challenges pupils to consider ‘what is music’. They listen to a variety of music from the 20th and 21st centuries and are encouraged to debate the merits of each. Pupils experiment with composing music in a variety of experimental idioms.

Introduction to opera and musicals

This unit of work introduces pupils to extracts from some operas and musicals. They are introduced to the historical context of how opera began and how it has developed to today’s West End musicals. They listen to and watch excerpts and are invited to reflect on the effectiveness of the music they hear. They are given the opportunity to explore the techniques commonly used in musical theatre in various composition exercises.

Music for Dance (Africa and Brazil)

This unit develops pupils’ ability to identify, explore and perform music from other cultures with some understanding of its convention and context. Pupils sing and play, listen to and appraise, extend and develop musical ideas from other cultures.


This unit develops pupils’ ability to recognise, explore and make creative use of musical devices found in variation form. During this unit pupils explore how musical ideas can be changed to create different moods and effects. They explore a range of music in variation form from different times, identifying the main features of the music and the musical devices used by composers. These activities provide an intellectual challenge in assessing how far something can be changed before it is no longer recognisable.

Year 9 Curriculum

Pupils continue to develop their theory and aural skills throughout Year 9, building on work done in Years 7 and 8.

The topics covered in Year 9 are:

  • Jazz and blues
  • Music used for film
  • Music used in advertising
  • Ground bass
  • Junk percussion.

In the whole of Key Stage 3, but specifically in Year 9, pupils are encouraged to listen to the music they hear, answering questions using subject specific vocabulary. This provides them with a secure grounding should they choose to study music as an option at GCSE.

Years 10 and 11 GCSE Music (optional subject)

Specification Number:2MU01

Examination Board: Edexcel

Why Choose Music?

If you enjoy:

  • composing and performing music
  • learning an instrument or singing
  • creating music on computers or in a recording studio
  • learning about all types of music, including classical, popular and world then GCSE music is the ideal subject for you.

What do I need to know, or be able to do, before taking this course?

  • You have been introduced to creating music of your own in class and this is developed on the GCSE course as you choose two topics for composition. For example, this could be a popular song and a dance track, a classical piece or some world music. There is a wide choice and it can be tailored to your own musical interests and strengths.
  • You have already listened to a variety of music in class and these skills are developed as you study some set pieces taken from the classical, twentieth century, popular and world music areas of study.
  • You enjoy making music, either as a soloist or in a group. The GCSE course encourages you to perform music of your own choosing and in any style, as a soloist and also in a group. To take this course, you must be able to offer at least one instrument/or voice.

What will I learn?

You will learn how to:

  • improve your performing skills
  • understand the structure of music
  • analyse music in a variety of styles and discover the social and historical context in which music has been composed over the last four hundred years or so.

How will I be assessed?

Performing Composing Listening and
You will need to play one solo piece and one ensemble piece. You will need to create two compositions You will sit a 90 minute written paper with questions on your prescribed set of works