Our intention is to equip students with skills in listening to and appraising music, composing music and performing music through our challenging and exciting curriculum. This intention is regardless of their starting point and previous musical experience. Students are encouraged to have high aspirations as we seek to build their confidence and resilience in music making.
Lessons are designed to have a level of independence to them. We model instrumental skills and techniques before encouraging students to work at this themselves.
Key Stage 3 begin by learning the basic musical elements through the acronym DR T SMITH. They then apply this to building skills on instruments such as the keyboard, ukulele and guitar. They study the musical cultures and traditions of different countries as well as learning to compose idiomatically for a range of different audiences.
At GCSE, students further apply their analytical skills to a range of different pieces of different styles and genres. They specialise in solo performing and also ensemble performance and they compose to a brief, but also in a free and creative way allowing them to explore their own musical tastes and influences.
Regular formative feedback across the key stages allow students to develop a growth mindset, resilience and perseverance. Opportunities across the curriculum to perform music, foster self-belief and a culture of mutual respect. Students learn from one another and from the feedback and advice of their peers as they develop on their musical journey.
In addition to music being a creative subject, it is also very much an academic subject. We teach students about the history of music and its importance in cultural and historical events. Regular trips and opportunities to engage with live music allow students to develop their appreciation of music and allow them to be influenced positively.
We strongly believe that music is a journey, with many different destinations on the way, but a journey in which we equip them to grow and become musicians that fulfil their potential.

Music at Key Stage 3
At Key Stage 3, students develop their understanding of the musical elements using DR T SMITH as their guide. The curriculum is paperless and they use iPads and an app called Showbie to record their progress and development in their instrumental and composition skills. The skills needed to read, analyse, perform and compose music are explored through specific units on instrumental skills, studying the music of different cultures and countries, arranging music appropriately and composing in a number of different styles. It is a spiral curriculum with outcomes in singing, playing, improvising, SMSC, composing and critical engagement in each unit.

 Term 1Term 2 Term 3
Year 7Transition Project
Student learn the basic elements of music through a song called ‘The Passenger’ beginning to develop skills on keyboard and Ukulele

Keyboard Skills
Students further develop their keyboard skills focusing on hand position and technique. They develop their note-reading and look at basic compositional structures
Music from different countries
Students study the musical traditions of a range of different countries and cultures including China, India, Brazil (samba) and West Africa. They explore different instruments and instrumental textures and compose within different and idiomatic structures. They develop ensemble skills as part of a large class group and also in smaller groups. They also explore the different ways in which music can be notated as appropriate to the style.
Ukulele Skills
Students further develop their skills in Ukulele, looking at chords (major and minor) and chord symbols, strumming patterns and rhythms

Programme Music
Students study the different instruments of the orchestra and how the different musical elements (DR T SMITH) can be used to tell a story. They begin to explore more complex structures and also develop skills in music technology and different ways of recording
Term1 Term 2Term 3
Year 8Guitar Skills
Following on from Ukulele, students look at chords and chord symbols on guitar strumming different patterns and rhythms including complex and syncopated rhythms. They further develop their ensemble skills and also look at guitar tab as another way of writing down music

Blues Music
Students look at the history and origins behind Blues music and begin to use the chords explored previously to create the 12-bar Blues chord pattern. They compose a stylistic piece including improvisation
Reggae Music
Students explore the traditions of music of another culture and focus on how music can be arranged stylistically. Again, there is a focus on ensemble skills and working together as small groups of musicians

Cover versions
Students explore pre-existing songs and using their knowledge of the musical elements (DR T SMITH), make decisions as small group ensembles about how they can creatively make their own version of the song they study
Song Writing
Following on naturally from Cover Versions, students explore what makes an effective song and which elements of music need particular focus. They compose and create their own song in a style or genre of their choosing based on their knowledge and experience of previous units

Film Music
In a similar way to year 7, students round off the year by focussing on composition. This time though they take it one step further exploring specific compositional techniques that film composers employ. They create music appropriate for a film narrative making informed decisions based on the elements of music (DR T SMITH)

GCSE Curriculum Years 9-11

In year 9, students further develop their skills in listening to and appraising music, composing music and performing music. We look more in depth technically into the different DR T SMITH elements and develop compositional and performance skills and techniques. There is a focus on the fingerprints of the different musical periods; Baroque. Classical. Romantic and 20th Century. We work collaboratively on instrumental performance and composition before shifting the focus onto solo work.
In year 10 and 11, students study eight pieces specifically chosen by the exam board, and analyse the pieces in details using their knowledge of DR T SMITH and the elements of music. They listen around their pieces too and develop their skills in comparing, contrasting and evaluating different pieces of music, including those that are unfamiliar. They further develop their creativity in composition, employing the different techniques learnt and practised in producing two high quality compositions; one based on a given brief and the other free allowing them to explore their own identity as musician. They also further develop their performance skills in producing a solo performance on their first study instrument, and an ensemble performance that demonstrates their ability to adapt to and work together with other musicians.

A Level Music

At A-level, the structure of the course is very similar to GCSE. Students learn more pieces in depth and continue to develop their understanding of how music works through critical analysis and the ability to make informed and evaluative judgements. Again, they are expected to apply their skills in analysing, comparing and contrasting pieces that they are unfamiliar with. Performing and composing are still important aspects of the course and students are expected to perform at around grade 7 standard on their first study instrument. Compositions are free and allow students further opportunity to develop their own creative musical identity. Students also explore the rules of 4-part harmony and how to harmonise set melodic lines in a style that is similar to J.S.Bach, the master of 4-part harmony.

The Enriched Curriculum

We are committed to the whole-school intent regarding extra-curricular and offer a wide range of opportunities available from year 7 up to year 13. Below is a summary of the opportunities offered…

MondaySaxophone GroupLunchtime 12.35-1.05M1Ms Peers
MondayGuitar ClubLunchtime 12.40-1.10M2Mr Parker
TuesdaySamba DrummingTutor Time 11.50-12.20M1Mr Newsome
TuesdayWind BandLunchtime 12.35-1.05M1Mrs Callaghan
WednesdaySwing BandLunchtime 12.35-1.05M1Ms Peers
WednesdayMusic TheoryLunchtime 12.35-1.05M2Mr Nimmo
ThursdayChoirLunchtime 12.35-1.05M1Ms Peers/Mr Nimmo
ThursdayString GroupTutor Time 12.00-12.30M1Mrs Hutton-Searle
Friday8-bit Orchestra
(gaming music)
Lunchtime 12.35-1.05M1Mr Nimmo

Some of these groups require students to have prior experience of different instrument i.e. Saxophone Club, Wind Band, Swing Band and Guitar Club but others such as Music Theory, Choir and Samba are available to all. We strongly believe in an inclusive enriched curriculum and each group is available across all year groups. This provides younger students with role-models and mentors to work with through their musical journey.

Being involved in the enriched curriculum gives students opportunities to perform in concerts and events such as House Music, Prize-Giving, Christmas Concert and Summer Showcases. We also put on a whole school production biannually, and in the years in between look to take our enrichment groups on concert tours to various places throughout Europe.
We have a committed team of eight instrumental peripatetic teachers who come into school weekly to deliver one-to-one instrumental lessons to around 140 students across all year groups. The teachers prepare students for instrumental exams using a range of exam boards including ABRSM, Trinity and Rock School. As a school, we are a recognised centre for ABRSM examinations and regularly host exam sessions.

5 Year Curriculum Plan(s)

Click on an image to see the document full size