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Music is part of the Performing Arts Faculty and has 1 large, specialist teaching room and 3 practice rooms.  Music is taught to all students in key stage 3 and is offered at key stage 4.  Students in key stage 3 receive two hour-long lessons of Music per fortnight.

In addition to this all students have the opportunity to study an instrument with one of our visiting instrumental teachers. Most instrumental lessons are arranged during the school day with every effort made to ensure minimum disruption to lessons. Students receiving lessons are expected to participate in Hillcrest concerts and shows.

Year 7 

Term 1 Building bricks: Introduction to the musical elements, whole class singing, reading graphic and rhythm notation.

Term 2a Instruments of the orchestra: Listening to and performing using instruments of the orchestra.

Term 2b Keyboard Skills: Introduction to the keyboard and reading treble clef.

Term 3 Band Skills: Performing as an ensemble and exploring the different roles of an ensemble

Year 8

Term 1 West African Music: Exploring African drumming techniques, structuring and arranging a musical performance.

Term 2 The Beauty of the Baroque: Musical history of Baroque, composing a baroque inspired piece and reading bass clef.

Term 3  Blues: Performing as an ensemble, Improvising using the blues scale.

Year 9

Term 1 Film Music:  Exploring the musical elements in film, Mickey-mousing and composing a soundtrack for film.

Term 2: Electronic dance music: Using a digital audio workstation to create drumbeats, chords and riffs.

Term 3 Music Covers: Manipulating the musical elements to create a cover of a familiar song.

Key Stage 4 Curriculum 

GCSE Music Option Subject


Exam board website 

Course Content 

This qualification enables students to develop knowledge and understanding of music through four interrelated areas of study.

Area of study 1: Musical Forms and Devices

The music of the Baroque, Classical and Romantic eras provides the context for a study of binary, ternary, minuet and trio, rondo, variation and strophic forms. Students are encouraged to engage with a variety of music from the prescribed area, through a range of performing, composing and appraising activities.

Area of study 2: Music for Ensemble

Music for ensemble forms the basis for a study of texture and sonority. Through the study of diverse musical styles composed for ensemble, such as jazz and blues, musical theatre and chamber music, students will consider how music is composed for small groups of instruments and voices.

Area of study 3: Film Music

Through this area of study students are encouraged to consider how music for film is related, developed and performed, and the impact this has on the audience. Students have the opportunity to compose and perform film music and are encourage to use musical technology to create mood and atmosphere through engaging with the story of the film.

Area of study 4: Popular Music

Through popular music students are encouraged to explore the musical idioms associated with a variety of genres of popular music. Students will have the opportunity to perform popular music and are encouraged to use music technology, understanding the impact this has on the way music is developed and performed.

Assessment Details 

This qualification is divided into 3 components based on performing, composing and appraising.

Component 1: Performing

Worth 30% of the qualification. A minimum of two pieces, one a solo performance and the other an ensemble performance are required with a total duration of 4-6 minutes.

Component 2: Composing

Worth 30% of the qualification. Two compositions, one of which is in response to a brief set by the examination board are required with a combined duration of 3-6 minutes

Component 3: Appraising

Worth 40% of the qualification. This component is assessed via a 1 hour 15 minutes listening examination where eight questions are set on extracts of music relating to four areas studied throughout the duration of the course.

Why Study This Course? 

This course provides opportunity to progress onto other music related courses such as A Level Music, a degree and a career as music profession.

Year 10

Term 1a AoS1 – Musical forms and Devices

Term 1b AoS4 – Popular Music

Term 2a AoS2 – Music for Ensemble

Term 2b AoS3 – Film Music

Term 3 Review All Topics

PEPA Careers in the Curriculum Priorities'

PEPA intent:

Career intent statement for PEPA: 

1 – Identify and demonstrate different employability skills  

2 – Develop an understanding of career based roles and responsibilities within our subjects  

3 – To create a careers display advertising jobs within our subject  

4 – To engage pupils with professionals in our industry