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Sixth Form



The intent of the Music Curriculum

Music is important to many of our students whether they take an active role playing instruments or taking part in extra-curricular activities or a more passive role by taking advantage of listening to the huge variety of music available to them.

The KS3 Music curriculum at Sir John Leman High School has been created to develop students' interest and enjoyment of music. We aim to ensure students experience a wide range of musical genres and styles. The curriculum focuses on the main skills of:

  • Singing
  • Performing
  • Composing
  • Improvising
  • Appraising
  • Analysing

The Music Curriculum gives students the opportunities of exploring a broader and richer variety of music; giving students the opportunities to see how music links into the real world and promoting SMSC and CIAG/Gatesby benchmarks. 

How is the Music Curriculum implemented?

The skills listed above are then taught and developed through the following curriculum-based projects:
Curriculum Road Map - Music

Curriculum Sequencing Plan - Music

The impact of the Music Curriculum at the end of Key Stage 3

Through a variety of activities students develop their understanding and awareness of music notations, vocabulary and different genres and styles as well as developing their confidence with singing, performing, improvising, composing, appraising, and listening. The KS3 Music curriculum develops these skills to enable further study at GCSE and A level as well as ensuring students have the skills to take part in music activities beyond the curriculum.

How is it assessed? 

For each half term there is an assessment of the work undertaken. Students are made aware of the area in which they are to be assessed and the criteria for assessment are shared with them.

How can I help my child?

Encourage your child to listen to and discuss music with you - what do they like/dislike? Why? Encourage them to use musical vocabulary. Try listening to a different genre/style from your usual choice - you may find something new to enjoy! There are many different genres and styles now available online for everyone to listen to and enjoy but don't forget to encourage listening to a wide range of music and not just pieces you like!

Useful websites:


The intent of the Music Curriculum

GCSE Music encourages students to study a range of music to nurture in-depth musical understanding, develop performance skills both as a soloist and as a member of an ensemble, develop creativity through developing composition skills and, develop as effective and independent learners and as critical and reflective thinkers with enquiring minds

How is the Music Curriculum implemented?

You will develop your own performing skills on an instrument or voice and will be expected to perform a solo and as part of an ensemble through work completed in school. You will also compose music in different styles once you have learnt about different approaches and techniques. You will expand your knowledge and understanding of music through listening and learning about set works from different times, places and cultures.

Homework is set regularly and students will also need to develop a regular practice routine. All basic work is completed in school but to achieve a good grade the extra hours will pay dividends.

The impact of the Music Curriculum at the end of Key Stage 4

How is it examined?

  • Component 1: Performing (NEA) - total 60 marks (30% of GCSE)

Solo Performance (30 marks)
Ensemble Performance (30 marks)

  • Component 2: Composing (NEA) - total 60 marks (30% of GCSE)

Free Composition (30 marks)
Brief Composition (30 marks)

  • Component 3: Appraising – total 80 marks (40% of GCSE)

Listening and written examination: 1 hour and 45 minutes

How important is the Non-Examined Assessment (NEA)?

Very. You complete 60% controlled assessment for this course. 30% for performance (two pieces - one solo and one ensemble) and 30% for two compositions. It is very important that you keep up to date with NEA tasks and develop a regular practise routine.

What qualification will I get? What could it lead to?

  • Pearson Edexcel Level 1/Level 2 GCSE (9-1) in Music

From this you might go on to study A Levels in Music or Music Technology or a Level 3 BTEC Diploma.

Work in this subject would enhance or is enhanced by work in Media Studies or Performing Arts.

Career directions could include:

Performing, Teaching, Music Therapy, Recording and Music Production, Media work or Administration, Arts Management and Concert Hall/Events Manager.

Useful Websites


Music – A-Level Qualification

Examining Body:


Entry Criteria:

Grade 4 GCSE Music or equivalent BTEC qualification alongside a minimum performance standard of Grade 5 and a good theoretical understanding

Course Leader:

Miss M Ellis

Why? :

The course provides a holistic understanding of Music in which students investigate, analyse, perform, compose and evaluate music and its features from a variety of styles and genres. This will provide a strong foundation for studying Music at Higher Education level. This can lead to a career in composing, performing, teaching or working in the music industry for TV, radio or film companies. Music is a highly regarded subject due to the range of skills required and the self-discipline of learning an instrument.

Course Structure:

The A level is divided up into three key components of Performing, Composing and Appraising. Performing – A public performance of one or more pieces will be completed at the end of the course lasting a minimum of 8 minutes. This forms 30% of the final grade and is externally assessed.

Composing – Students complete two compositions, one which is a 4 minute free choice composition and the other is a composition technique exercise. Both compositions together should last a minimum of 6 minutes. This forms 30% of the final grade and is externally assessed

Appraising – Students will study a variety of set works based on the following areas of study:

• Vocal Music
• Instrumental Music
• Music for Film
• Popular Music and Jazz
• Fusions
• New Directions

There are two set works for each area of study and students will also complete wider listening tasks on related works. Analysis, knowledge and understanding will then be tested in a 2 hour 10 minute examination. There will be an aural element to the examination along with an extended response question exploring the key features of the set works. This forms 40% of the final grade.

Extended Learning:

A variety of extended learning tasks will be set weekly to cover the various elements of the course. Students are expected to develop a regular practice routine to develop their performance skills. Students who do not have a grade 5 theory qualification will be expected to attend the theory classes run weekly to develop knowledge and understanding

Music Technology (KS5)

Music Technology – A-Level Qualification

Examining Body:


Entry Criteria:

GCSE Music grade 4 or equivalent BTEC qualification along with a good theoretical understanding and/ some appropriate experience in the field of music technology

Course Leader:

Miss M Ellis

Why? :

A Level Music Technology provides an enjoyable and valuable experience in understanding, capturing, producing, and composing popular music. It is also provides good preparation for students aiming for Higher Education in the subject or similar related fields. Music Technology careers could include work in a recording studio with a job such as a sound engineer, work as a technology based composer and/ or music producer, or a teacher. The course provides opportunities to embrace recent developments in the field and involves much practical work which encourages the cultivation of a wide range of skills. You will have opportunities to sequence MIDI and audio, record live instruments, produce and compose using music technology.

Course Structure:

For A Level you are required to complete two pieces of coursework. The first is a multitrack recording from a choice of 10 commercially available songs, which you will individually capture, mix and master. This is worth 20%. The second is a technology based composition, chosen from a choice of 3 briefs at the start of the year which is also worth 20%. There are two exams at the end of the course. The first is listening and analysing worth 25%, and the second is a producing and analysing exam, worth 35%. The latter is a more practical based exam with production tasks in timed exam conditions, and the first is based on the use and development of technology throughout the history of popular music, and the effect on popular music’s development.

Extended Learning:

Extended learning studies will be given to students during the course to expand their knowledge of Music and Music Technology. Projects will include topics on sound recording methods throughout history, the development of electronic instruments and studio production techniques. Students will also be encouraged to explore all types of popular music, development of various genres and the impact made by notable pop artists. The knowledge gained during these studies will be applied during the written papers.

Curriculum Road Map - Music Technology

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