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Music - Key Stage 3

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Curriculum Year 7 / Year 8 / Year 9


Supporting your child

Extended learning





What pupils will learn

How it builds on learning


Unit 1: Keyboard 1 – Getting Started

“Oh When The Saints” (trad)

An introduction to playing the keyboard, starting with the notes C, D, E, F & G

Unit 2: Ukulele – Getting Started

“Riptide” (Vance Joy)

An introduction to playing the ukulele, starting with the chords C, Am, F & G

Unit 3: Melody Composition (Major & Minor)

“Musical Stories”

Building on the keyboard performance work, developing composition skills

Unit 4: Whole Class & Ensemble Percussion

“Rhythms of the World”

Exploring some of the music from Brazil (Samba), West African (Drumming), Indonesia (Gamelan)

Unit 5: Keyboard 2 – Renaissance Music

“La Mourisque” (Susato)

Developing keyboard skills, using a wider range of notes, and more complex rhythms

Unit 6: Rap Music

Developing creative composition and arranging skills, using Garageband

Although it is not a discrete unit, singing runs throughout the KS3 music curriculum, and songs and sung music in a wide variety of styles and genres are explored throughout Year 7 and beyond.



What pupils will learn

How it builds on learning


Unit 1: Keyboard 1 – Baroque Music

“Toccata in D Minor” (J S Bach)

Keyboard skills are further developed, and phrases using sharps and flats are introduced

Unit 2: Ukulele

“Hanging Tree” (from ‘Hunger Games’)

Ukulele skills are broadened focusing on melodic performance (picking), and reading ukulele tablature

Unit 3: Indian Music

“Krisha and the King of the Snakes”

Group-based composition is explored through Indian Classical Music, and the development of raga-derived melody

Unit 4: Keyboard 2 – Classical Music

“Eine Kleine Nachtmusik” (Mozart)

Keyboard skills are developed with music that demands more precise phrasing, and greater subtlety of dynamics

Unit 5: Ensemble Performance

“Paradise” (Coldplay)

The skills of playing as a musical ensemble, and combining and balancing different – yet complementary – musical elements are developed

Unit 6: Song Composition

“The Year 8 Band Competition”

Group-based composition skills are developed, through a project focusing on the structures and styles of modern pop music


What pupils will learn

How it builds on learning


Unit 1: Keyboard 1 – Film Music

“Star Wars” (John Williams)

Keyboard skills are further developed, with music of greater melodic and rhythmic complexity

Unit 2: Ukulele

“Seven Nation Army” (White Stripes)

Extending ukulele skills through a combination of strumming and picking techniques, and a wider range of three-finger chords including Em and B7

Unit 3: Blues Composition

“The Twelve Bar Blues” (Riffs & Improvisation)

The skills of musical improvisation are developed, through composition work based around the Blues Scale

Unit 4: Reggae Music

“Three Little Birds” (Bob Marley)

Ensemble performance skills are extended through music with a high degree of rhythmic complexity and syncopation

Unit 5: Keyboard 2 – Romantic Music

“Peer Gynt: Mornings & Mountain Kings” (Grieg)

Keyboard skills demanding performers play very fast and complex musical patterns are developed

Unit 6: Band Project

Instrumental and ensemble skills developed through a range of pieces / songs of pupils’ choosing


How pupils are assessed (including ongoing/formative + key dates if helpful)

Pupil assessment is largely focused on practical instrumental skills, principally on the keyboard, but also on the ukulele and other instruments, as well as singing.

All projects work towards a performance – usually a performance to the class – and usually based on differentiated musical arrangements (suitable for all levels from beginners through to highly expert players). Some performances additionally include elements of composition and arrangement.

As performances are being prepared, pupils are given formative feedback, and consequently their assessment is ongoing, but the final performance at the end of a unit is more formally assessed, and pupils are given a grade, and an opportunity to self-evaluate their performances.

The grade they are given is a combination of a number and a letter. The number (usually 1 – 6) expresses the musical challenge of their performance, whereas the letter (A – D) represents the musicality demonstrated through their performance.

The self-evaluation is focused on questions of how they progressed through the unit, what aspects of their performance they were happy with, and what elements of future performances might benefit from additional focus.

Where performances are presented by a group rather than an individual, some aspects of their assessment and feedback is consistent across the group, whereas others are focused on each member’s particular contribution.

Supporting your child

What you can do at home:

They can spend time practising performances, and even if they don’t have access to a piano or keyboard, they can benefit by working on the Garageband app on their iPad.

We encourage listening widely to music in a range of genres.

If they are keen to progress in music, they would benefit from receiving more one-to-one input through instrumental or singing lessons. These are offered in a wide range of instruments, and although there is an associated cost, pupils receiving the Pupil Premium can receive a substantial discount on the cost of these lessons.


It is essential that all pupils bring a pair of in-ear (or over-ear) headphones with them to lessons. These must be the kind of headphones with a mini-jack, rather than Bluetooth headphones, or other connectors (eg. lightning connector). Pupils are not encouraged to bring large and expensive headphones; the kind of earphone / headphone they need can be purchased for £2-3 from supermarkets or online.

If they have other instruments, they are often able to use these in music lessons, especially when the class is working on ensemble performances.


Extended learning

Homework policy:

There is no formal homework set in music during KS3 – but pupils are encouraged to practise their performances where they can, either on instruments they have at home, or using the school iPads, or they are welcome to use the practice rooms at break and lunchtimes with permission from a member of the department.

Clubs/ Enrichment opportunities:

There is a varied programme of extra-curricular music, including:

Monday 3 – 4pm: Orchestra (for all instrumentalists)

Tuesday lunch: Junior Choir (Years 7 & 8)

Tuesday 3 – 4pm: Jazz Band (Years 9 – 11)

Wednesday lunch: Beginner Ukulele Club

Thursday lunch: Advanced Ukulele Club

Thursday 3 – 5pm: School Production

Friday 3 – 4pm: Senior Choir (Years 9 – 11)

Possible trips and visits:

Music concerts (either local, or London-based)

Musical productions (either local, or London-based)

Musical exchange (Germany)