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Music - Key Stage 4

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Curriculum Year 10 / Year 11


Supporting your child

Extended learning


Exam Board and Course Code

OCR GCSE Music J536




What students will learn

How it builds on learning


Performance skills

Developing their skills as a performer, and preparing for their Year 11 submitted solo and ensemble performances

Composition skills

Initially exploring a range of methods and styles of musical composition, and in the second half of the year, working on their Free Composition (as part of their final Practical Music portfolio)

Listening Skills

Pupils will focus on various of the Areas of Study from the OCR syllabus, including:

-          The Concerto Through Time (Baroque, Classical & Romantic)

-          Conventions of Pop Since 1950

-          Rhythms of the World (some areas, not all studied in Year 10)

-          Music for Film and Computer Games


Pupils will develop a fully musical vocabulary, and specific music listening skills, such as aural dictation (writing down melodies), and identifying a range of instruments through listening. This will be supported by some elements of music theory that are covered as part of the course.


What students will learn

How it builds on learning


Performance Skills

These continue to develop as they did in Year 10, and recordings are made of best solo and ensemble performances.


They work on a second submitted composition, which is written in response to a brief set by OCR. There is also further time to develop and refine their earlier composition, or write further compositions is a style and manner of their choosing.


Pupils will revisit all the Areas of Study focused on Year 10, but in greater depth, and complete the exploration of music from different countries and cultures in the Rhythms of the World units.


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

Pupils are assessed using the frameworks provided by OCR for their final exam.

They are given ongoing feedback on performances, which are sometimes presented to the class, and at other times submitted as recorded performances. More formal performances are marked out of 30 – using the bands provided by OCR.

They regularly submit their composition projects for feedback, and guidance. When these compositions are completed, they are given a mark out of 30 – using the bands provided by OCR. For both performance and composition these marks are provisional, and whilst we strive to make them accurate, all submitted coursework goes through a thorough process of moderation before the final marks are given to the exam board.

The listening work is often assessed through exam-style questions, which are a combination of short questions, and more extended mini-essays which are answered in response to music they listen to.

Supporting your child

What you can do at home:

They will need to practise their instrument (or vocals) regularly in order to maximise their potential for the performance element of the course. They would certainly greatly 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 (and other GCSE pupils in need of financial assistance) can receive a substantial discount on the cost of these lessons.

Pupils should be helped to fit a regular practice into their weekly routine – maybe five times a week for between 15 minutes and an hour (depending on their level).

Pupils should also be encouraged to listen to as much music as possible from the broadest range of styles and genres, from different times throughout history, and from different areas of the world.


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 are an instrumentalist, they should bring their instruments to most lessons – they will be given notice about which lessons this is especially necessary for – but whether it is Performance, Composition or Listening work, their own instrument will be very useful.

Extended learning

Homework policy:

As mentioned above, instrumentalists and singers should be practising their performance skills at least 5 times a week in order to continue to progress at a good pace. This is not considered to be part of their homework time.

They will be usually working on a composition project – which they will develop in lessons, but they will be expected to further extend and develop these composition projects outside of lessons. This can either be done at home, or in school – where they have access to equipment in the music department, and further guidance is on hand where needed.

Clubs/ Enrichment opportunities:

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

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

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

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)