At St Edward’s, the Music department provides students with the opportunity to express themselves through creating and exploring music from different cultures, times and genres.

Curriculum Intent

At St Edward’s, the Music department provides students with the opportunity to express themselves through creating and exploring music. This may be in class, part of an extra-curricular activity or working in a practice room during lunchtime.

Music develops a wide range of skills that are essential for success in any career path, including: active listening, working with others, confidence in communication and creativity.

In Music we aim to:

  • Build confidence and aptitude in performance skills, focusing on developing technical ability
  • Harness students’ creativity and imagination through composing in different musical styles
  • Develop a strong understanding of musical theory and be able to apply to practical activities
  • Encourage students to work well in an ensemble showing empathy and the ability to listen, able to take on different roles including leading the group.
  • Grow pupils’ analysis skills so they are able to understand the inner workings of musical pieces.
  • Foster a culture of resilience and independence, where students manage their own learning and set ambitious targets
  • Use music technology to grow musical understanding
  • Encourage an appreciation of music from other cultures and celebrate the contribution it makes to our own musical experience

Key Stage 3

Year 7 – Students join the school having had a wide variety of music education experiences at primary level. Year 7 is an opportunity for all students to gain the fundamentals of music and begin to build on those foundations.  The topics they study are:

Elements of music: students will learn about the main components of music and being able to apply them in a wide variety of performing, composing and listening tasks.

Performing skills: students will be taught the basis of music notation and theory, how to play simple tunes on the keyboard and chord patterns on the ukulele as well as singing pieces in different styles.  They will perform individually, in pairs and small groups.  Students who are learning an instrument will be able to develop their performing skills further and will have a personalised rehearsal and performing plan that challenges them based on their ability.

World music: students will explore a number of different musical cultures including Brazilian Samba, Chines music with improvisation and Reggae and will perform, compose and improvise in that style individually and in groups.

Year 8 – Students develop skills they have gained previously and continue to apply the musical elements to different styles of music.  They will also begin using music technology to gain an understanding of how music can be created using computers.  The topics they study are:

Film music: students will study the common features of film music, perform and record a well known piece of film music and compose their own soundtrack synchronised to a short film clip using Cubase Pro 8.

Musical theatre: students will study the history of musical theatre and learn a well-known piece on the keyboard.  They will also have the opportunity to rehearse the piece in a small ensemble including keyboard, percussion, guitar/ukulele and vocals.

Minimalism: students will explore the style, learn the common features and compose a minimalist piece in a group as well as working as a whole class ensemble on a variety of instruments.

Theme and variation: in this project, students explore the concept of using a well-known tune as the basis for a composition and varying ideas using a range of techniques.

Blues and jazz: students will learn the history of blues and jazz and then compose their own piece of blues music based around the 12 bar blues and the blues scale, using keyboards, ukuleles, percussion and voice. Students who learn another instrument outside of the class are encouraged to incorporate it into their blues piece.

Year 9 – Students extend their skills and knowledge in a range of other musical styles.  They will be expected to carry out a variety of roles within ensembles as well as use music technology to a more advanced level.  The topics they study are:

Dance music: students will be exposed to a wide rang of traditional, modern and world dance styles.  The first half of the project involves learning, rehearsing and performing a traditional dance piece as a whole class, taking a particular role in the ensemble and performing on the instrument they are most confident with.  This will then be followed by using music technology to compose and sequence a club dance piece on Cubase.

Pop performing: students study the history of pop music and analyse it’s main features, then apply this by working in ensembles rehearsing and performing a well known pop song.

African music: students will discover the main features of African music and will compose a piece in a small group using these elements, using African drums, xylophones and vocals.

War music: students partake in a number of small performing and composing projects relating to war music including fanfares, pastiches and war songs, exploring the link between conflict and musical expression.

Key Stage 4

At Key Stage 4, the music department offers two qualifications.

GCSE Music – is an exciting and enjoyable course about making and listening to music.  It covers performing, composing and listening to a wide variety of musical styles – popular music, world music and classical music.  There are also opportunities to use music technology to create your own compositions, as well as rehearsing and performing on your instrument/voice individually and in a group.

You will enjoy this course if you want to study a subject that:

  • Involves performing on your own and with others
  • Involves listening to and understanding a wide range of music
  • Involves composing or arranging music on your own and with others e.g. in a rock group, band or orchestra
  • Will broaden your knowledge of music theory

The BTEC First in Music – involves performing and composing music, studying the music industry and recording and producing music using our high quality recprding studio. The BTEC First in Music, is a Level 2 qualification equivalent to one GCSE grade 1-9).  This qualification is ideal for students who have a keen interest in music performance and production, but are perhaps less interested in Western Classical Music and traditional music theory.  This BTEC First in Music will allow students to:

  • Be inspired and enthused into considering a career in the music industry
  • Develop a broad knowledge and understanding of the music industry, e.g. The live sound industry, solo or group professional performance, or music promotion and publicity
  • Have the opportunity to use music technology facilities to record, edit and produce their own music
  • Work with industry specialists on creative music projects and visit recording studios and other relevant music venues to gain an insight into the music business

 Method of Assessment

GCSE – There is one exam in the summer worth 40% of the final grade.  Students listen to a CD and answer questions on different pieces they have studied as well as unfamiliar pieces

Coursework consists of two compositions (15% each) and two performance (one solo and one ensemble both 15% of final grade) which are worth 60% of the total mark.

BTEC – The qualification consists of four units each worth 25% of the final grade.  Three of the projects are coursework based:

  • Introducing Music Performance
  • Introducing Music Composing
  • Managing a musical product

The fourth project is an in-depth study into the music industry and is assessed through a 1 hour exam.

Pathways after Year 11

GCSE music develops a wide range of vital skills including confidence to perform in front of others, the ability to work effectively in a team, analysis skills, essay writing, target setting and creativity.  The skills are essential for further study or any career you choose to pursue after Key Stage 4.

GCSE music is highly regarded by universities and leads on perfectly to A Level music as well as BTEC Level 3 music.

BTEC Music is an excellent foundation for any student that has an interest in or would like to work in the music industry.  You will gain a solid understanding of how each area of the industry works and will have developed a range of vocational skills such as planning a performance, monitoring rehearsal schedule, working in an ensemble, composing to a brief, writing up reports, taking part in production meetings and promoting a musical product.

The course leads perfectly onto the Level 3 BTEC which builds on what has been taught at Level 2.

Key Stage 5

At Key Stage 5, the music department offers two qualifications:

A Level Music – this qualification is for students who are looking to form personal and meaningful relationships with music through the development of musical knowledge, understanding and skills.  Students will be encouraged to engage critically and creatively with a wide range of music and musical contexts, develop an understanding of the place of music in difference cultures and contexts, and reflect on how music is used in the expression of personal and collective identities.

BTEC Music – this qualification is for students looking for a more practical approach to music education.  Students will study ensemble music performance techniques, practical music theory and harmony, professional practice in the music industry and composing.  There is also the option to have a more in -depth focus on music technology and the use of computer software to create and edit music.

Course Contact

Mr Justin Sloan

Subject Leader Music