Instrumental and vocal lessons are provided by peripatetic teachers from Essex Music Services. Details are available from Mr Mouchel.


Key Stage 3


Year 7

Autumn 1 – Introduction to Music

Through the integrated activities of performing, composing and listening, pupils will begin development of their own feeling for and awareness of the elements of music.

Autumn 2 – African Drumming

Pupils learn to perform different drum strokes on a drum before composing, performing and improvising simple rhythms, turning these into cyclic rhythms. These are then combined to form a polyrhythmic texture, characteristic of much African music.

Spring 1 – Folk Music

Pupils will develop their knowledge and understanding of folk music as a genre. They will learn how folk music is passed down through generations and learnt by ear rather than written down. Pupils will experience arranging a traditional folk tune and use a given scale to compose their own melody.

Spring 2 – Instruments of the orchestra

Pupils learn about the construction, sound production and timbres of different orchestral instruments using Benjamin Britten’s “Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra” to enhance their learning. Pupils are introduced to the modern symphony orchestra and learn about its layout, grouping and the instruments which belong to each section including their individual and characteristic timbres.

Summer 1 – Latin Beats

This unit covers music from Latin America. Pupils will learn about instruments from the region as well as key musical techniques. Pupils will be assessed on their ability to create a performance of different Latin rhythms and comparing and contrasting different extracts by using listening skills.

Summer 2 – Impressionism

This unit explores the genre of Impressionism and its links to art. Pupils will learn about how composers use instruments to create different moods and atmospheres. Pupils will learn how to use these techniques to create their own melodies.

Year 8

Autumn 1 – Going Solo

Pupils will explore the genres of pop and rock music and discover how riffs and hooks are used in songs to create a memorable theme. Pupils will also learn to improvise based on a theme and arrange a piece of music focusing on structure and form.

Autumn 2 – Night Music

Pupils will get to know some of the most influential music that describes the night. The scheme of work takes inspiration from music from a wide range of genres and styles and also music with meaningful messages. These areas are explored through listening, performance and composing.

Spring 1 – Film Music

Pupils will discover how music is used to enhance the film experience. Pupils will have the experience of being a soundtrack composer by using musical devices to create certain atmospheres for genres such as horror, adventure and westerns.

Spring 2 – Reggae

This unit explores reggae music and culture it comes from. After exploring the origins of reggae music as a one of a number of different styles of Caribbean music, pupils learn about the importance of bass lines in reggae music and how offbeat chords are a key feature of music in this genre. Pupils will apply this knowledge by performing a number of reggae songs.

Summer 1 – Indian Music

In this unit, pupils will examine how music is used and performed in the non-Western culture of India. They will develop an awareness of the cultural and historical background of Indian music through listening and compositional tasks and develop their knowledge and skills in areas such as scales, improvisation and notation.

Summer 2 – Minimalism

Pupils will discover the Minimalist genre through performing and arranging. Taking examples from the music of Steve Reich, pupils will create their own version of ‘Clapping Music’ and will analyse in depth and perform one of the most well-known Minimalist melodies.

Year 9

Autumn 1 – Blues

Pupils will examine the genre of the Blues and its links to the dark history of slavery. By understanding the cultural and historical significance, pupils will be able to fully appreciate the nature of lyrics to some Blues songs. The practical aspect of the unit will involve understanding of the 12 bar blues form and understanding will be embedded and assessed by means of performance.

Autumn 2 – Rock and Roll

Exploiting its links to the Blues, the unit of Rock and Roll focuses on performance. By starting off with a simple bass line, pupils will add features such as chord progressions and melodies to form a song.

Spring 1 – Fanfares

Pupils will learn the working mechanics of musical instruments from the brass family and how they link to the concept of a harmonic series. They will discover the sense of majesty and occasion that goes with a fanfare in which these instruments are used. Pupils will explore the style themselves by listening to different fanfares and by creating their own.

Spring 2 – Musicals

This unit explores songs and music from the stage beginning with an exploration into “What makes up a musical?” Pupils explore the history and developments of elements of a musical, from their origins in opera, before exploring some examples of songs and the purposes they serve.

Summer 1 – My Music

Pupils have already learnt the basics of composing their own music. This unit will further those skills taking into account elements such as harmony, melody and rhythm to form a piece of music which they will be able to notate. Pupils will find these activities to be engaging and interesting but the skills are also very helpful for the GCSE Music course.

Summer 2 – Pop Music

Pop music is all about what is popular with the population at the time. Taking examples from some of the most up-to-date chart songs, pupils will analyse what makes a successful pop song. Alongside modern songs, some inspiration has been taken from pop songs from years gone by to see how pop music has changed. By singing and using instruments, pupils can build a performance of a song of their choice.


Key Stage 4

What will I learn on this course?

You will learn about a range of musical genres and improve your performance skills.

Instrumental Music 1700-1820

  • J S Bach: 3rd Movement from Brandenburg Concerto no. 5 in D major
  • L van Beethoven: 1st Movement from Piano Sonata no. 8 in C minor ‘Pathétique’


Vocal Music


  • H Purcell: Music for a While
  • Queen: Killer Queen (from the album ‘Sheer Heart Attack’)


Music for Stage and Screen


  • S Schwartz: Defying Gravity (from the album of the cast recording of Wicked)
  • J Williams: Main title/rebel blockade runner (from the soundtrack to Star Wars EpisodeIV: A New Hope




  • Afro Celt Sound System: Release (from the album ‘Volume 2: Release’)
  • Esperanza Spalding: Samba Em Preludio (from the album ‘Esperanza’)


What is the importance of music at GCSE?


GCSE Music is an ideal course for anyone interested in the subject and who has already started to develop practical skills as an instrumentalist or singer, or has particularly enjoyed the music course in year 9. It is not, however, essential to take GCSE Music if you wish to be considered for Music or Music Technology in a Sixth Form or local college.


What are the requirements when completing an Internal Assessment


The internal assessments tasks are completed in lessons and they are very much like the practical activities you have carried out during your year 9 lessons. You will have a plenty of time to prepare, rehearse and perform your solo and ensemble performances. You also have lesson time to compose and record two pieces of music. You will be able to get help and advice from your teacher and your musical coach but the composition must be based on your own ideas.


What resources are available to use?


You have access to the whole music department and its wide range of resources, from text books and audio files to peripatetic teachers and instrument coaches. Lunch-time and afterschool provision is available for all students to develop their performance and listening skills. Students interested in directing an ensemble will be expected to take charge of one of the lower school musical clubs.


Why students should study the course?


Music is all around us, it influences our moods and emotions, it stimulates and excites us in many ways. Choosing GCSE Music will develop your understanding of how music is created through four areas of study. These provide focus and detail of specific areas of music. You will learn to compose and develop skills in performing and appraising music. Instrument tuition is available in a range of instruments.


Exam Board: Edexcel