The Curriculum at Key Stage 3 is extremely diverse and covers a wide range of musical styles. Students enjoy the largely practical-based activities, coupled with learning the basics of music theory.

All topics listed in the table below are assessed as an integration of Performing, Composing, Improvising & Listening and Appraising. Students in Key Stage 3 experience music on a carousel with other arts subjects. Students in Year 9 are offered music as an option.

Taught by Bea Wardlaw

Unit Year 7 Year 8 Year 9
A1 Singing through the Elements of Music (The Lion Sleeps tonight in four-part harmony in groups of six) Music video creationSamba Drumming (class/group performance)
A2 Singing in Harmony (class vocal performance) Rock and Roll (group performance) Axis of Awesome (keyboard performance of chords)
Sp1 Treble Clef Notation and the Classical Period (solo/duet performance on keyboards, hands together) African drumming (class/group composition) Gangsta’s Paradise (group performance)
Sp2 Understanding rhythms (group/class drumming composition) Axis of Awesome (keyboard performance of chords) Garageband (recording your previous Unit)
Su1 Film Music: James Bond theme (solo/duet performance of triads and chord progressions on the keyboard) Musical Theatre Class CD (put together a piece of music from a musical in groups and record in the studio, making the class CD).  Musical Futures (own choice group performance with vocals)
Su2 Introduction to Garageband (composition using music sequencing techniques and pentatonic melodies). Garageband (composition using only own pre-recorded sample). Ragtime (performance on the keyboards)

The Musical Futures programme (that we introduce in Year 9) is a personalised learning initiative, strongly supported by Government, which encourages young people to explore and develop their own musical skills through different stages based upon five common principles. These are:
  1. Learning music that students choose, like and identify with;
  2. Learning by listening and copying recordings;
  3. Learning with friends;
  4. Personal learning without structured guidance;
  5. Integration of listening, performing, improvising and composing.
After over a year of trialling this method, we have seen significantly increased motivation, engagement and enjoyment in Music lessons as well as stronger development of Key Skills and confidence amongst students. We also feel that it equips the students for their work on the BTEC course in Year 10.

Music Sequencing is a unit that we run each year in Key Stage 3. We are lucky enough to have an iMac Suite with Garageband and Sibelius available for us to use. Students learn how to multi-track record, adding their own rhythmic and melodic samples. They also learn how to use pre-recorded sounds within their piece and download and edit mp3 files.

Arts Award Bronze/Silver

We have two trained Arts Award advisers (Ms Wardlaw and Mr Walker).

Arts Award is managed by Trinity College London in association with Arts Council England working with ten regional Bridge organisations. Since its launch in 2005, the award has grown quickly and is now flourishing in arts centres, colleges and schools, community projects, libraries, galleries, local authorities, theatres, youth clubs and youth justice settings.

In Year 9 students can opt for two extra music lessons per week where they study towards their Arts Award qualifications:

To achieve Bronze, a Level 1 national qualification, young people take part in a music concert performing as a soloist or in an ensemble, go to watch a music theatre performance, research their arts inspiration and share their skills by teaching Year 7. Bronze is available to young people aged 11 to 25.

Silver Arts Award, a Level 2 qualification, has two units
  • Unit 1: arts practice
  • Unit 2: arts leadership
Doing Silver involves achieving an arts challenge, reviewing arts events, researching artists and arts organisations, and delivering an arts leadership project with other people.

Young people need to plan their work with an adviser and keep a record by creating their own Arts Award portfolio. Young people can pick their own style of portfolio - this could be a diary, video, website blog - or something different altogether. Silver has been designed for young people aged 14 to 25.

Please see the Arts Award website for further details: