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Head of Department: Mr G Page

Teacher assessment is continuous in Music and learners’ progress is tracked across a wide range of performance, composition and music ICT tasks. Feedback is given after each piece of work shown, but learners also carry out some self-assessment during the task itself.

KS3 Curriculum

The KS3 Music Curriculum is very practical in its focus, centred around the three key skills:

  1. performance
  2. composition (and arrangement)
  • listening and appreciation.

These three skills are not equally balanced in the curriculum, and the greatest emphasis is given to performance.

Whilst we offer pupils a broad range of musical experiences in KS3 lessons, the majority of lessons are focused around four key areas:

  • Keyboard skills
  • Ukulele skills
  • Singing
  • Garageband (ipad)

Keyboard Skills

Pupils’ keyboard skills develop across Year 7, Year 8 and Year 9. As they progress, they develop the following keyboard skills:

Identifying C, D, E, F & G

Playing simple melodies (in closed hand position)

Using 5-fingers to play, rather than only the index finger

Developing the technique to play evenly, controlling touch-sensitive keys etc.

Moving hand position to include A & B, and C, D, E, F & G in higher and lower octaves

Performing melodies with larger leaps (requiring open hand position)

Playing tunes with more complex and faster rhythms

Developing the technique of playing root position chords

Playing chords in a variety of inversions (and requiring a variety of hand shapes)

Learning to read and play the flats and sharps (and knowing the difference)

Adding a simple left-hand part

Developing two-handed playing to involve two rhythmically independent parts

Extended techniques


Keyboard Repertoire

We play lots of different songs and pieces in lessons, in a range of different style. Some of the music we learn is listed below, but this list is regularly refreshed and updated.

Year 7

Year 8

Year 9

Oh When The Saints (Trad.)

Toccata in D Minor (Bach)

Star Wars (John Williams)

Ode To Joy (Beethoven)

Fur Elise (Beethoven)

The 12 Bar Blues

La Moursique (Susato)

Hall Of The Mountain King (Grieg)

The Entertainer (Scott Joplin)

Ukulele Skills

Ukulele skills allow pupils to become familiar with a very different instrument from the keyboard, and it is a good introduction to similar instruments – principally the guitar.

Across KS3 they are expected to develop the following ukulele skills:

Learning basic chords: C, Am, F

Learning more complex chords: G, Dm, E7

Learning a variety of strumming patterns, and performing chord sequences

Learning a wider range of chords: including Em, G7, A, A7, Cm, B7 etc.

Developing the ability to pick melodies (and read TAB notation)

Combine picking and strumming

These ukulele pieces are often then developed into ensemble pieces using a combination of elements, including: ukulele, keyboard, guitar, singing and other instruments.


Ukulele Repertoire

Year 7

Year 8

Year 9

Riptide (Vance Joy)

Hanging Tree (Howard)

Seven Nation Army (White Stripes)

Stand By Me (Ben E King)

Paradise (Coldplay)

Wonderwall (Oasis)


Singing is very much embedded into our KS3 curriculum as offers a very different musical experience from the more technical aspects of learning keyboard and ukulele. Throughout Year 7, single lessons are mostly dedicated to whole singing style workshops which lead to two large performances, in the Christmas Concert and in the Year 7 Production.


All pupils in KS3 have access to Garageband on their school ipad, and throughout KS3 they are taught how to perform, arrange and compose pieces using Garageband. This consolidates some of the keyboard performance work they have done, but also gives them the satisfaction of developing music of far greater complexity than their keyboard skills would allow, and exploring the different techniques of popular music (such as layering, loops, EQ, FX, synthesizers, sampling etc.).

Composition and Arranging

As well as performing existing pieces, pupils are also given the opportunity to compose their own music and songs. They also developing the related skills of arranging and improvisation.

Listening and Appreciation

In Music lessons we listen to a wide range of music, often as a preparation for performance, but also to understand one piece of music in its wider context. Whilst listening we consider technical aspects of the performance, as well as considering issues relating to a piece’s social, historical and cultural context.

We listen to pieces that are:

  • Familiar to pupils, in order to deepen their understanding of music they enjoy
  • Less familiar to pupils (classical music and world music) to broaden their musical understanding and experience

Years 10 & 11

Course Content

You will be developing your skills as a solo performer (instrument or voice) and performing within an ensemble. You will also develop your skills as a composer, writing songs and instrumental pieces. Some of these pieces will be composed using the music software Garage Band, Logic and Sibelius. These songs will be recorded and some form of musical notation will be produced so accompany them.

You will also be studying a wide range of musical styles, some more familiar, some very new. These broad areas include:

  • The Concerto Through Time
  • Rhythms of the World
  • Film Music
  • Popular Song (1950 – today)


Homework will be set weekly and will often be in the form of consolidation exercises, either based on the theory of the course or simple composition tasks.  There is an additional expectation that you will be actively practising your instrument or voice.  There will be clearly set longer term deadlines for completed compositions and performances.

Furthermore, learners will progress well on this course if they listen widely and attend a range of events and concerts.


You will need to have your musical instrument with you for most lessons (but you will also need to take it home in order to practice!). In addition you will need a comfortable, and reasonably good quality set of headphones. You will also need a memory stick so that you can back up any work that you have done on the computers.


There are a wide range of extra-curricular clubs that you can be involved with, and as a GCSE Music student you are expected to commit to being in at least one of these clubs. These will help your wider musicianship skills to develop in a variety of ways. You will also be able to use the practice rooms at break and lunchtimes.

We are planning a number of trips to see performances and meet performers and composers and recording engineers, and also to have some opportunities to perform as individuals and as a group.