What is Music?

The value of music as an academic subject lies in its contribution to enjoyment and enrichment, for its social benefits, for those who engage in music seriously as well as for fun. High quality music education enables lifelong participation in, and enjoyment of, music, as well as underpinning excellence and professionalism for those who choose not to pursue a career in music.

Course Overview

Core skills developed in Music lessons across all key stages are:
  • Performing
  • Composing
  • Listening
  • Appraising
  • Analysing
  • Working as a group
  • Ensemble skills
  • Evaluating – self, peer and industry music
Assessment will take place in the form of practical and written assessments. Pupils will be assessed on at least 2 of the three musical skills per half term; performing, composition, and listening and appraising. Self and peer assessments will test the pupils’ understanding of the success criteria, and these will take place after every teacher assessment. At the end of each half term, a ‘progress tracker’ will be completed by pupils, where they study the success criteria for the unit, assess which criteria they have met, and complete a WWW and EBI task. The teacher will then give each pupil written feedback after a short discussion with the pupil on their progress. Pupils are assessed using NC levels currently.
Pupils will be assessed in a number of ways. They will create several recordings of their performances, which will be assessed by themselves and by the class teacher using the AQA grading grid. They will also complete a number of listening and appraising tasks, as well as past paper questions. Their Unit 4 composition coursework will be assessed using the AQA mark scheme.


Syllabus & Curriculum

Year 7 Music

At Key Stage 3, Music is delivered in half termly topics, which explore fundamental Music skills and knowledge.

In Term 1, pupils are learning the fundamentals of music – key musical vocabulary, note values, composition, performance and different ways of writing music down, including graphic scores and standard notation. With this musical understanding, they move on to keyboard skills in Term 2. They will learn the keys on the keyboard, correct finger positions, technical exercises, and how to play with right and left hands. Some more advanced pupils will play with both hands together. These keyboard skills will be applied to composition in HT4, through composing melodies and playing them in different forms, such as binary, ternary and rondo. They will then go on to create variations of well-known themes and songs, whilst consolidating their keyboard skills, and finish the year with African singing and drumming.

Year 7 Programme of Study

  • The Elements of Music
  • Music notation
  • Keyboard Skills
  • Form and Structure
  • Theme and Variation
  • African Music

Year 8 Music

At Key Stage 3, Music is delivered in half termly topics, which explore fundamental Music skills and knowledge.

In Term 1, pupils will develop their keyboard skills further through learning how to form and play chords. In HT 1, they will learn how to create triads and how to play the ‘4 chord structure’. This will natural progress into learning to play the ’12 bar blues’ in HT2, as well as studying the background to the Blues, and its link with the slave trade. They will learn about the different musical cultures that fused to create the ‘Blues sound’. This will lead to learning about another fusion genre – Reggae – in Term 2. They will learn about the civil and political unrest in Jamaica which led to the creation of Reggae. In HT4, they will learn about the evolution of popular music, from 1950s to current day ‘pop’. This will include understanding what the term ‘pop’ means and how it is an ever changing genre. They will be able to identify features of pop music in different decades, the reason why pop music has changed, and be able to perform a variety of pop songs. In Term 3, pupils will be introduced to musical theatre. They will learn how it evolved from opera, different styles of musical theatre and composers, key words in the genre, and analysing scenes from musicals. They will perform music from musicals using keyboard and voice, and will create their own ‘mini musical’. The final unit in Year 8 will be dedicated to composition. Pupils will write their own songs, from a chosen brief, and work in groups to create the lyrics and music for this. They will use knowledge and skills that they have gained throughout the year, including chords and melodies. They will perform their songs in groups and record them using the recording studio and evaluate the success of the project.

Year 8 Programme of Study

  • Chords
  • The Blues
  • Reggae
  • Popular Music
  • Musical Theatre
  • Songwriting

KS4 Music (Year 9, 10 & 11)

At Key Stage 4, students can opt to take the AQA GCSE in Music. This involves understanding key features of Music from three Areas of Study; Music From Around The World, Popular Music since 1960 and The Western Classical Tradition. There is also the need to perform, both as a soloist and in a group, and every pupil will receive one to one instrumental lessons in preparation for this. All pupils should also become involved in an extra curricular club to develop their ensemble skills further. Pupils must also write two compositions, based on particular instructions set by the exam board. Preparation for this and the final listening examination make up the majority of teaching time.

Year 9 Programme of Study

  • Me and My Instrument
  • Developing My Instrumental Skills
  • Rhythm and Metre
  • Harmony and Tonality
  • Texture and Melody
  • Composition

Year 10 Programme of Study

  • Me and My Instrument
  • Developing My Instrumental Skills
  • Rhythm and Metre
  • Harmony and Tonality
  • Texture and Melody
  • Composition 1

Year 11 Programme of Study

  • Composition 2
  • Solo and Ensemble Performance
  • Dynamics and Timbre
  • Structure and Form
  • Exam Technique

Examination Details

Music (4270)

Contact: Mr T. McCormack
Applies to: Year 10 & 11
Course Type: GCSE
Exam Board: AQA
Spec Code: 4720
Specification: Download