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The Music Department aims to develop an understanding and enjoyment of music in students; providing a variety of musical experiences through performance, composition, listening and appraising. A broad curriculum of music is covered which spans a wide range of eras, genres and cultures.  In both Key Stages, students are encouraged to read music in all its forms; use musical vocabulary to review and appraise pieces; and develop the skills necessary to participate in a wide range of musical activities both at the Academy and within the community.

Music is taught in a dedicated Music Studio, which hosts a class set of keyboards and 10 computers for GCSE coursework. There are also four practice rooms for individual work and group tasks.  Students have access to a variety of instruments: as well as Keyboards, Percussion, Ukuleles, Guitars, Bass Guitars and drum kits we also hire a range of instruments from Devon Music Service, such as African Djembe, Steel Pans and orchestral instruments to enhance the curriculum experience!

Key Stage 3

All students in Key Stage 3 are taught one lesson of music per week. Through the interrelated skills of performing, composing, listening and appraising; students will continue to develop their knowledge and understanding of music. Critical listening to live and recorded music of many styles and cultures plays an integral part in this development process. The following areas are explored in the different year groups through a variety of practical tasks within units of work: Singing and the music of other cultures; rhythm and pulse; texture and timbre; composing within structures; instrumental and performing skills; basic notation and melody writing; music for purpose; and listening and analysing skills.

Units of work (these are regularly reviewed and so may be subject to change)

Year 7

Elements of Music / The Orchestra & Programme Music / Chords and lines

Year 8

Riffs & Ostinato / African Music & Blues / Live Lounge Project 1

Year 9

Film Music / Reggae / Songwriting & Live Lounge Project 2

GCSE Course

All students in Key Stage 4 are taught for 5 hours per fortnight.

Current Examination Board: AQA

Course Objective

During the course, students develop their interest and understanding of how music is created and developed, including developing skills in composing and performance. Music also helps to develop broader life skills and attributes including critical and creative thinking, self-confidence and self-motivation.

The focus of learning in the AQA GCSE Music course is provided by four Areas of Study:

Area of Study 1: Western Classical Tradition 1650-1910;

Area of Study 2: Popular Music;

Area of Study 3: Traditional Music;

Area of Study 4: Western Classical Tradition since 1910.

Course Content and Assessment Pattern

Controlled Assessment is worth 60% of the overall grade and is split into two sections:

Composition Tasks (30%)

  • Students explore a range of compositional starting points and investigate a range of techniques to develop and manipulate ideas and turn them into two pieces of music, one of which must be linked to the Strand of Learning as specified by the exam board and a free choice for the second.

  • Students can use their own instruments to create their composition, or Music Technology (e.g. Cubase or Sibelius), or a combination of both. If students’ instrumental skills are not as accomplished as their compositions, someone else can perform them.

  • The compositions can be ANY type of Music (including Blues, Jazz, Pop, Rock, DubStep etc.).

Performance Tasks (30%)

  • Students will submit one solo performance piece and one ensemble performance piece both worth 15%.

  • The solo can be a performance on ANY instrument

  • The ensemble can be a performance on ANY instrument as part of an ensemble.


The Listening Paper is worth 40% of the overall grade. This takes place at the end of Year 11 and is a 90 minute paper. Students will listen and respond to questions based on short musical excerpts, drawing on music from all Areas of Study and Set Works as well as unfamiliar music.

Pre-requisites to take GCSE Music

  • A commitment to Music that goes beyond students’ timetabled lessons (studying, practising and rehearsing in their own time)

  • Ability to play an instrument or sing

*A willingness to listen to different styles of music.

*Be willing to get involved in musical performances - either as a performer or behind the scenes.

*Be able to meet deadlines (complete your assignments and Controlled Assessments within the specified timeframes).


Homework / Independent Learning / Enrichment activities

Homework is set on the Class Charts website and usually involves practising or rehearsing; preparing material for lessons to follow; researching specific types of music and/or instruments/technologies; or evaluating students’ own work.

Instrumental Tuition

The Academy has a range of visiting peripatetic teachers who offer tuition on: strings; woodwind; brass; drum kit; piano; voice; guitar and bass guitar. Lessons vary in price depending on the teacher (Please follow this link for further details). Students receiving instrumental tuition are expected to take part in at least one extra-curricular activity once an adequate standard has been reached. Subsidies are available – see Charging and Remissions policy (link) for more details or contact Mr Street (

Extra-curricular and Enrichment Opportunities

The following clubs/opportunities are on offer throughout the year for students that wish to get involved in musical enrichment opportunities.


All instrumental players welcome and no audition necessary; but students should be able to read basic musical notation. A variety of genres and styles are covered, from classical greats, to swing, jazz, and popular music.


Vocal ensemble - all voices welcome and no audition necessary. We perform at public events throughout the year including the Mix Festival and school concerts.

Guitar and Ukulele group

Ran by the Academy’s Guitar teacher, this group do joint pieces; but some students come along to learn solo numbers/duets. All guitarists and ukulele players welcome, even if you’re a beginner!

Small ensembles (student-run bands and vocal groups)

Students are able to book out practice rooms to rehearse in small groups at lunchtimes and after school.

Theory club

For students interested in developing their knowledge of music theory and potentially taking a grade.

Other activities/trips/events

*Trips to Music festivals, concerts, and workshops

*School musical every 2 years

Useful Links

Dallas Symphony Orchestra:

Classic FM:

Philharmonia Instrument Guides:

Ultimate Guitar:

Virtual Piano:

BBC Bitesize for KS3:

BBC Bitesize for GCSE:


Music theory videos:

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