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Music Curriculum 7-11

Year 7

Year 7 students study schemes of work based on ‘Rhythm and Structure’, ‘Call & Response and Dynamics’, and ‘Musicals and Tempo’. During these schemes of work, students learn to read treble clef staff notation, and to understand expressive directions such as dynamics and tempo markings. Students learn to analyse music in terms of its mood, instrumentation, musical changes, and its fundamental structure. Students sing as a class, and learn to play a variety of pieces on the keyboard, ranging from simple melody line pieces for those who are complete beginners, to graded two-handed pieces for those who have prior experience in keyboard or piano skills.

Year 8

Year 8 students study schemes of work based on ‘Caribbean Music and Metre, ‘Pop Ballads and Film Music’, and ‘Ragtime and Blues Music’. During these schemes of work, students develop their understanding of treble clef staff notation, and many extend this by learning to read bass clef staff notation. Students develop their understanding of expressive directions, often thinking about how to apply these to their work themselves, with some also adding tempo changes, and techniques such as pedalling. Students develop their analysis of music, using more complex musical vocabulary to describe its mood, musical changes, and fundamental structure, and begin to consider musical context. Students sing as a class, and continue to develop their keyboard skills, with the vast majority performing two-handed pieces, either in pairs or individually.

Year 9

This is the first year of GCSE Music for students who have opted for it. We study the AQA syllabus, which is split into 3 disciplines: Performance (30%), Composition (30%) and Listening (40%).

Year 9 is a skills year. Students receive one performance lesson a fortnight, two composition lessons, and two theory lessons. In Performance lessons, students focus on the instrument of their choosing, working on either solo or ensemble performances, building up a portfolio of performances throughout the year. In Composition lessons, students begin to create and notate their own music. Starting points for mini compositions completed throughout the year include 12-Bar Blues with improvisation, 4 chord pop song pattern, Ligeti-inspired one note composition, and Aleatoric dice-rolling composition. These culminate in a 32-bar composition completed on Sibelius software at the end of the year. In Theory lessons, the focus is on basic Western classical notation understanding and skills. We complete AoS1, ‘Western Classical Traditional 1650-1910’, from the AQA exam syllabus focusing on keywords, and different styles and contexts of music.

Year 10

This is the second year of GCSE music following the AQA syllabus. In Performance lessons, students continue to work on their portfolio, developing their skills on their chosen instrument and improving their performances according to the feedback given. In Composition lessons, students begin to work on a free composition which must last a minimum of 2 minutes. Students are given a variety of starting points to work from including Film Music, Jazz Riffs, 12-Bar Blues, and Minimalism. These compositions are completed in Year 11. In Theory lessons, students continue to build on their keyword vocabulary, and cover the three remaining areas of study set out by AQA, focusing on ‘Popular Music’, ‘Traditional Music’ and ‘Western Classical Traditions since 1910’.

Year 11

This is the final year of GCSE music following the AQA syllabus. Students continue to work on their Performance grades independently throughout the year, with consistent advice and support, recording their final solo and ensemble performances during the year. In Composition lessons, students complete work on their free composition, and also complete a 2-minute composition to a brief set by AQA, which will be based on one of the four areas of study. In Theory lessons, students focus on the application of their previous knowledge to the two set works, Haydn’s ‘Symphony 101 in D Major The Clock, movement 2’, and three tracks from The Beatles’ ‘Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band’. Students also practise applying their knowledge to previously unheard music.


Key Stage 5

Music can be studied at AS Level in Year 12, leading on to A2 in Year 13.

To begin the course, students must have at least a Grade B in GCSE Music, or must have successfully passed Grade 5 on their main instrument.

Students study three units at AS Level. These are Performing, Developing Musical Ideas and Listening & Understanding. This involves performing pieces of at least Grade 5 difficulty, composing a piece of extended Music and learning about two different genres of Music in detail.

Successfully passing AS Music can lead to A2, where three further units are studied.

All students are expected to participate in at least one lunchtime Music club.


  • Miss L Lowing, Head of Music; Second in Charge Expressive Arts: llowing@chsfg.co.uk
  • Miss C Mackintosh


Peripatetic Music Teachers

  • Mr R Bolanos
  • Ms A Carter
  • Ms A Cousin
  • Mr P Hinds
  • Mr M Ingleby
  • Ms Isabel Jones
  • Ms Elena Kazakevich
  • Ms Caroline Rowlands
  • Ms Michaela Tarlton
  • Mr Chris Woodham