Music is a unique form of expression and it can change the way you feel, think and act. Ever noticed how your mood influences the type of music you listen to? Music forms part of your identity and it’s an integral part of culture, both past and present, and it helps us understand and relate to others. There are many opportunities for employment in the music industry including: musician, composer, teacher, sound engineer, music producer, music therapist, DJ, game designer. Music moves people.

Our music studio is equipped with state-of-the-art instruments, technology and materials to enable you to learn to play the instruments you love. And once you’ve learned to play an instrument why not record it using our specialist recording equipment? Perhaps you like the idea of strumming a tune on the guitar or hitting the beat on the drums or maybe it’s the more traditional string or wind instruments that you love to hear. You’ll find it all in our purpose-built comprehensively equipped music rooms.

Programmes of study for students in Music at Key Stage 3

Music is a universal language that represents one of the highest forms of creativity. The music curriculum aims to inspire pupils to develop a love of music and their skills and talents as musicians, and so increase their self-confidence, creativity and sense of achievement.

The national curriculum for music aims to ensure that all students:

  •  perform, listen to, review and evaluate music across a range of historical periods, genres, styles and traditions, including the works of the great composers and musicians
  •  learn to sing and to use their voices, to create and compose music on their own and with others, have the opportunity to learn a musical instrument, use technology appropriately and have the opportunity to progress to the next level of musical excellence
  •  understand and explore how music is created, produced and communicated, including through the elements of music: pitch, duration, dynamics, tempo, timbre, texture, structure and appropriate musical notations

In Key Stage 3, students will be taught to:

  • play and perform confidently in a range of solo and ensemble contexts using their voice, playing instruments musically, fluently and with accuracy and expression
  • improvise and compose; and extend and develop musical ideas by drawing on a range of musical structures, styles, genres and traditions
  • use staff and other relevant notations appropriately and accurately in a range of musical styles, genres and traditions
  • identify and use the elements of music expressively, including the use of tonalities, different types of scales and other musical devices
  • listen to a wide range of music from great composers and musicians
  • develop a deepening understanding of the music that they perform and to which they listen, and its history

The Spiral Curriculum and Assessment
Throughout Key Stage 3, the music curriculum is planned to develop musical skills, knowledge and understanding through a spiral curriculum. This enables students to make links within the subject, relate to previous learning and build on previous skills in a progressive and challenging way.

Throughout units of work, students are continually assessed through teacher observation, reflection and peer and self-evaluation. At the end of a unit of work, students are formally assessed in the skills of performing, composing and listening either individually, in pairs or in groups. Performances and compositions are evidenced through audio and/or video recordings.


The Edexcel GCSE in Music is made up of three units:

Unit 1 – Performing (30% of total GCSE, Controlled Assessment)

Students must submit two performances – one solo and one ensemble – at the end of the course. Students can make more than one recording of their pieces over the two years of the course and submit the best one of each as their final, assessed work. The recordings are made under controlled conditions i.e. with their teacher present and must be made within a time limit of 10 hours total recording time.
In order to do well in Performing, students must attend regular instrumental or voice lessons. We always work closely with students’ instrumental/voice tutors in order to help students achieve their potential in performing.

Unit 2 – Composing (30% of total GCSE, controlled assessment)

Students must create, record and make a score for two compositions. These are individual pieces of work and students may not compose in groups. However, many students will use other musicians both from the GCSE group and from the wider school community to perform on the final recordings of the work. We encourage students to complete their composition work in the manner they feel most comfortable working within e.g. live recording, creating a composition using music technology or multi-track recording in our studio. Students have a total of 10 hours to complete each final recording and score, which are undertaken in controlled conditions.
In order to do well in Composing, students should listen to a wide variety of music in their own time. They should also spend some of their instrumentl/voice practise sessions improvising and trying out their own ideas. It is very helpful if students have access to a keyboard at home when they are working on composition ideas so that they can experiment with harmony (chords).

Unit 3 – Listening and Appraising (40% of total GCSE, terminal exam)

The final exam consists of two sections. Section A will have eight compulsory questions that require students to respond to extracts of music. Section B has two questions, of which students choose one to answer, which requires an extended, essay-type answer. Both sections are based on 12 ‘set works’ – pieces of music that students will have studied during the course. The set works are drawn from four areas of study: Western Classical Music, Music in the 20th Century, Popular Music in Context and World Music. Students are given full revision notes for all 12 set works.

In order to do well, students must engage fully in listening lessons and complete all homework tasks set – this will frequently involve learning facts about the set works in preparation for the exam. Listening to a wide range of music, attending live music performances and performing music from a wide range of repertoire will also help students to gain the musical understanding required for this area of the course. Thorough revision as the exam approaches is also essential.