Music is a universal language that embodies one of the highest forms of creativity. A high-quality music education should engage and inspire pupils to develop a love of music and their talent as musicians, and so increase their self-confidence, creativity and sense of achievement. As pupils progress, they should develop a critical engagement with music.

The music curriculum aims to ensure that all pupils:

  • perform, listen to, review and evaluate music across a range of historical periods, genres, styles and traditions, including the works of the great composers and musicians
  • learn to sing and to use their voices, to create and compose music on their own and with others, have the opportunity to learn a musical instrument, use technology appropriately and have the opportunity to progress to the next level of musical excellence
  • understand and explore how music is created, produced and communicated, including through the interrelated dimensions: pitch, duration, dynamics, tempo, timbre, texture, structure and appropriate musical notations.

KS3 (Years 7 to 9)

The programme of study is based on the UK National Curriculum, and allows students to develop their musical skills and experiences through the three activities of:

  • Appraising
  • Performing
  • Composing

Students are always encouraged to aim for maximum effort. We recognise that our students have a wide variety of musical backgrounds and therefore all teaching material is fully differentiated to enable students to make the maximum progress at all times.

KS4 (Years 10 and 11): IGCSE

When studying the Cambridge IGCSE Music syllabus, learners listen to, perform, and compose music, encouraging aesthetic and emotional development, self-discipline and, importantly, creativity. As a result, learners enhance their appreciation and enjoyment of music, an achievement that forms an ideal foundation for future study and enhances life-long musical enjoyment. 


What will I learn?

Learners studying Cambridge IGCSE Music are given the opportunity to:   

  • listen to and learn about music from a wide range of historical periods and major world cultures   

  • develop their skills in performing music, both individually and in a group with other musicians   

  • develop their skills in composing music in a style of their own choice.   

Learners study music of all styles; each style is placed in its historical and cultural context, and learners are encouraged to be perceptive, sensitive and critical when listening. Although the majority of the syllabus examines Western European music there is also a World music focus.   


Curriculum Content

The Music course comprises or 3 main assessment objectives:

Component 1- Appraising

This is a listening exam which involves answering questions on western and classical traditions; instrumental and vocal extracts, world music, skeleton score and set works. The duration of the examination is 1hour and 15 minutes.

Component 2-Performing

Students perform two pieces altogether. One of the pieces is a solo in any style and on any instrument as agreed with their teacher. The other performance is with other players in an ensemble.

These performances take place in the classroom, in school music groups or outside school. They are then recorded and marked by their teacher and moderated by the exam board.

Component 3- Composing

Students also compose two pieces according to a given brief. These will also be recorded and marked by their teacher and moderated by the exam board. There is a variety of DAW options provided for students to compose using music technology.


What sort of homework will I be set?

You will be expected to practise regularly on your instrument/voice in order to improve your standard as much as possible. You will also be expected to take part in other musical activities where available, either in or out of school. All of the composition work will take place in school, but it will be necessary to do short exercises and preparation work at home. You will need to listen to a wide variety of music of different periods and styles and learn vocabulary to help your understanding of them. You will also be required to create your own revision material based on the work completed during lessons, as well as material provided by the teacher (such as hand outs, PowerPoint).  


Sixth Form: A level

This is a two-year linear course, both years must be completed to achieve an A level in Music


What topics does the course cover?

For the appraising components of A-level music students have to:

  • Study set works from six areas of study
  • Listen to music other than set works
  • Develop aural perception skills 

What skills will be taught?

Performing skills: students will refine the performance skills based on the chosen instrument and prepare 1 live recording of their chosen repertoire.

Composing skills: following from IGCSE, students will continue to develop the composing skills, as well as expanding their skills on music software as a notation tool.

Aural skills: Students will widen their musical horizons by exploring a vast selection of repertoire from different eras and genres. Students will also improve their aural perception of musical elements and analysis. 


Curriculum Content

Component 1 Performing

This unit gives students opportunities to extend their performance skills as soloists and/or as part of an ensemble. Teachers and students can choose music in any style. Any instrument(s) and/or voice(s) are acceptable within a total time of 8-10 minutes assessed performance of a balanced programme of music, approximately equivalent to grade 7 and/or 8. There is a professional studio recording offered as well as a small recital for students to perform their repertoire.

Component 2 Composing

This unit focuses on two compositions overall. The first composition can be based on a brief which is set by the exam board (4 minutes minimum duration). The second is based on a brief assessing technique (2 minutes minimum duration). There is a level of flexibility in choosing the right software for each student (Sibelius, Logic, Garageband or Cubase).

Component 3 Appraising

This unit focuses on listening to music, familiar and unfamiliar, and understanding how it works. Set works from an anthology provide the focus for much of the unit. Students should learn how to compare pairs of excerpts, contextualise music and identify harmonic and tonal features. Assessment is through a 2-hour examination paper (externally set).


What are the GCSE requirements of the course?

Ideally an A or A* in GCSE Music is needed. Students with a B will be considered also. In exceptional circumstances students with a minimum of Grade 5 Music Theory and Grade 5 Practical will be considered.


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