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Music surrounds us. Nothing equals it in the way it enhances life: its scope is infinite. We hear it in concerts, festivals, theatre and film, in times of sorrow and moments of joy. It is a reflection of our life, our politics, our society: it is the narrative thread that binds us whether in unity, protest or rebellion. It suffuses intimacy and offers solace in solitude. Come and explore this incredible subject. Studying art forms is an essential part of education because they provide opportunities to empathise through mediums of expression. We believe music is irrefutably the most exciting art form and we invite students to join us in sharing our adoration of this great subject. Not only do we want students to share our passion for Music, but we also want students to be able to identify themselves as musicians.

We don’t want you studying Music because it looks good on your CV or supposedly makes you better at Maths, or opens neural pathways in your brain or because people who study music have greater than average intelligence. We want you to study music because you are passionate about the subject and you understand the value of studying something interesting just for the sake of it.

People who engage with music experience something that is beyond themselves: those who don’t must always regret an opportunity lost.

Sing an opera, learn the cello, shred a guitar solo, join a choir, spit bars over beats, sing in four-part harmony, play in an orchestra compose a symphony, learn some Mozart, analyse a film score, improvise a melody, groove in a jazz band, write a song, perform in a musical, scat a riff, marvel the beauty of late Beethoven string quartets - whatever it is, get involved, you won’t regret it. Above all this subject endlessly enjoyable. Interesting people do interesting things. Everyone is welcome, everyone is included, everyone is celebrated.

‘No eternal reward will forgive us now for wasting the dawn.’

Jim Morrison

‘The object of art is expression.

The essence of expression is the imagination

The control of the imagination is form

The medium for all three is technique.’

Herbert Witherspoon

Music at Key Stage 3

The Music department aims to develop the musical talents of all pupils, regardless of ability.

By the end of key stage 3, pupils will have a thorough grounding in the elements of music, and are able to compose, perform music and to analyse and discuss the subject with reference to relevant technical terms. Above all, the aim is that students enjoy Music and gain an increased understanding of the subject and identify themselves as musicians.

Year 7

Year 8

Pupils in Year 7 will study and utilize the elements of music – harmony, rhythm, melody, timbre – throughout the course topics, including:

Pupils in Year 8 will study more complex topics building on the knowledge they have previously acquired. These topics include:



  1. The elements of music
  2. Harmony
  3. Melody
  4. Introduction to the Orchestra and Programme Music
  5. Band Project
  6. Rhythms of the World
  1. Freedom Song - The Story of the Fisk Jubilee Singers
  2. Harmony and the Blues
  3. 3 How to Build a Pop Song
  4. Rhythms of the World
  5. Film Music
  6. Band Project

Year 7 curriculum map | Year 8 curriculum map

Year 7 assessment grid | Year 8 assessment grid

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The basics of music are studied in Year 7.

Music at Key Stage 4

OCR’s GCSE Music (9–1) — Learners will:

  • engage actively in the process of music study
  • develop performing skills individually and in groups to communicate musically
  • develop composing skills to create and communicate musical ideas
  • broaden musical experience and interests, develop imagination and foster creativity
  • develop knowledge, understanding and skills to communicate effectively as musicians

OCR Music is designed to appeal to, and cater for a wide range of interests, instruments, personalities and directions. Learners will have the opportunity to explore instruments and Areas of Study depending on their personal preference and ability.

The key features of OCR’s GCSE (9–1) in Music are:

Component 1: Performance 30%

  • Integrated performance component with learner choice of instrument – non-examined assessment completed during the course - 15% solo performance, 15% group performance

Component 2: Composition 30%

  • a practical portfolio that includes the board set composition task and an open composition – non-examined assessment completed during the course - 15% composition to a brief, 15% free composition

Component 3: Appraising music (40%)

  • an examined listening and appraisal component sat at the end of the linear course
  • The performance and composition components will enable learners to pursue their individual preference with a broad range of Areas of Study.

NCFE Level 1 Award in Music Technology | Key stage 4

The Level 1 Technical Award in Music Technology enables learners to develop skills, knowledge and understanding of the Music Technology industry. It is suitable for learners who are motivated and challenged by learning through hands-on experiences. The qualification will allow learners to gain practical skills in creating music using technology. The Level 1 Technical Award is aimed at 14-16-year-olds with an interest in music production and recording and is designed to sit alongside GCSEs in the Key Stage 4 curriculum. The qualification provides an introduction to the music technology industry and enables learners to acquire, develop and apply the skills and knowledge required for further academic and/or vocational study. More information on this qualification is available here.

Here is the link to the curriculum and course information.

Year 9 music curriculum map | Year 10 music curriculum map | Year 11 music curriculum map

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Music at Key Stage 5

Component 1: Composition (25%)

One composition to a brief and one free composition (25 marks)

  • A minimum of four and a half minutes of music in total is required.

Component 2: Performance (35%)

Solo and/or ensemble performing as an instrumentalist, or vocalist and/or music production (via technology).

  • A minimum of ten minutes of performance in total is required.

Component 3: Appraising music (40%)

Exam paper with listening and written questions using excerpts of music. What's assessed:

  • Listening
  • Analysis
  • Contextual understanding

There are seven areas of study:

  1. Western classical tradition 1650–1910 (compulsory)
  2. Pop music
  3. Music for media
  4. Music for theatre
  5. Jazz
  6. Contemporary traditional music
  7. Art music since 1910

*Students must study Area of study 1: Western classical tradition 1650–1910 and choose two from Areas of study 2–7.

The areas of study provide an appropriate focus for students to appraise, develop and demonstrate an in-depth knowledge and understanding of musical elements, musical contexts and musical language. The areas of study can also provide a rich source of material for your students to work with when developing performance and composition skills.

Year 12 Curriculum Map | Year 13 Curriculum Map

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  • Singing Club
  • School Musical Rehearsals
  • Logic Pro Club
  • GCSE and A Level Coursework Catch-Up Club
  • Theory Club
  • SNS Orchestra
  • SNS Jazz Band
  • Show Choir
  • Woodwind Club
  • Keyboard Club
  • Tech Team

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Career and future pathways

  • Virtuoso Concert Soloist
  • Conductor
  • Orchestral Musician
  • Opera Singer
  • Musical Theatre Singer
  • Pop Performer
  • Actor/Musician
  • Pit Band Player
  • Session Musician
  • Function Band Player


  • Film Music Composer
  • Music Producer
  • Game Music Composer
  • Commercial Composer
  • Musical Editor


  • Instrumental Vocal Teacher
  • University Tutor
  • Classroom Teacher
  • Primary Music Specialist
  • Educational Projects/Workshops Specialist
  • Music Therapist


  • Studio Technician
  • Sound Engineer
  • Record Producer
  • Arts Administrator
  • Festival/Events Organisation