Curriculum Statement Music

Lead Teacher: Mr T Pattison

Purpose of study


Music is a universal language that embodies one of the highest forms of creativity. A high quality music education should engage and inspire students to develop a love of music and their talent as musicians, and so increase their self-confidence, creativity and sense of achievement. As students progress, they should develop critical engagement with music, allowing them to compose, and to listen with discrimination to the best in the musical canon.



Our curriculum 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 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 inter-related elements: pitch, duration, dynamics, tempo, timbre, texture, structure and appropriate musical notations.


There is significant variability in how primary schools approach teaching music at KS2 and our students enter secondary school with wide ranging experiences, knowledge, understanding and skills. Some of our students join the school having already begun to learn an instrument and students in the local community benefit from subsidised lessons through the Freda Trott Foundation. The rurality of some of our families means that performing in a group is challenging and the school recognises that students need this opportunity to develop a deep love of music making. The lack of diversity and opportunities to hear and participate in live music within our rural community means that music plays a significant role in broadening our student’s horizons and in ensuring that they experience music from different cultures.  On entry to Year 7 our student’s prior knowledge and skills are assessed and this, along with information from our primary schools is used to inform the curriculum.


To be successful, students need to understand the close relationship between performing, composing and listening to music and how the elements of music are embedded within this. They need to be able to demonstrate their knowledge, skills and understanding through sound, either on an instrument or through vocalisation with increasing proficiency. They need to be able to combine their technical knowledge, expressive knowledge and knowledge of constructive musical components when composing. Students must be able to manipulate sound as these are key components in performing and composing.


The most effective and engaging way to learn in music is through practically developing their technical knowledge, constructive knowledge of musical components and expressive knowledge. In KS3 students need to learn about the elements of music and their interrelatedness. For example, in Year 7, students learn the basic structure of consonant chords and are able to apply their understanding by performing music from different genres on a variety of instruments. As students progress, they are able to identify extended chords and inversions through listening and performing. They gain increasing competence at applying their understanding of chords within their own compositions and be able to evaluate the effectiveness of the chord progressions they have used. Throughout this process they continuously link back their learning to the elements of music, analysing and evaluating how they are used in their work. Through practice, students develop their technical expertise and as a result are able to be more creative and expressive in their performances and compositions. As students progress through the curriculum they learn to refine their work with increasing confidence and skill.


The music curriculum aims to develop a love of music through listening, performing and composing. At KS3 students develop knowledge and understanding of the elements of music through performing and composing. They learn to identify the structure of chords, play them with increasing confidence and compose their own pieces using chord progressions and melodies they have created. They begin to learn musical notation and this knowledge is applied through performing and composition. Students listen to a wide variety of musical genres from the great composers to popular music. Students learn to demonstrate musical awareness and understanding through musical analysis and are able to give and justify opinions about music using wide vocabulary. The curriculum focuses on the development of knowledge, understanding and skills through practical application with students learning to perform as individuals, in pairs and in ensemble settings. As students progress through the KS3 curriculum they develop an understanding of the growth of music technology and use loops to compose their own music drawing on a range of musical styles and genres.

As students progress to KS4 they develop their skills and knowledge in performance, composition, instrumental study and music technology. They specialise on a chosen solo instrument and/or voice whilst increasing their use of music technology/DAW for both sequencing and as a tool for composition.

In Year 9 and 10 all students have the opportunity to explore and develop these skills, giving them ample time to garner solid understanding of what is involved in each area of study. In Year 11 they focus on a chosen pathway of either performance or composition with multiple opportunities for crossover between the two.


Students work in solo, small group and ensemble settings learning how to effectively rehearse and perform music, learning how to incorporate their knowledge from KS3 and applying it in a live music setting. They develop rehearsal and performance skills alongside instrumental techniques and stylistic characteristics appropriate to their instrument. They learn to identify strengths and areas for development of performance skills and/or instrumental skills.


Students work independently, learning how to compose music in a defined style, drawing on a range of compositional skills and techniques and using music technology as appropriate. They will build on learning from KS3, learning contextual knowledge of genres, styles, composers and instrumentation, and developing their practical knowledge of music theory to compose their final piece. They will reflect on their work and consider areas for development.


The KS4 curriculum continues to develop musical knowledge and understanding. Students build a wider contextual and theoretical knowledge through developing their understanding of music theory and continuing to broaden musical horizons through listening to and analysing music across a wide range of genres and styles. They will also explore the social and cultural impact this music has had. Throughout KS4 students develop and apply in depth analytical and evaluation skills to all areas of their work.

There is an emphasis on independent learning throughout, with students working to objectives based on real life scenarios for working musicians. They will learn additional valuable real-life skills that apply to these scenarios including organisational, time management, communication and project management skills.


When designing the curriculum, to ensure that students with SEND have the opportunity to develop the same knowledge and skills as their peers we adopt a range of strategies within the classroom which are adapted to the individual as we recognise that no ‘one size’ fits all. This includes 1-1 and small group intervention and a range of ways to present and submit work, for example practical, performance, written work, audio/video recordings and presentations. This means students have opportunities to focus on their strengths whilst giving opportunities to develop areas of weakness.


KS3 students are baseline assessed when starting in Year 7. Formative assessment takes place in the vast majority of lessons, with verbal feedback given to ensure that students can progress and misconceptions can be quickly addressed. Peer and self-assessment are regularly used throughout KS3 and KS4. Summative assessment takes place termly. Formative and summative assessments inform lesson planning and the curriculum.