St Michael's
We believe that a three way partnership between the school, its students and their parents is vital to success


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The music curriculum is carefully chosen to ensure students experience a wide variety of music through listening, composing and performance tasks. Music supports SMSC in the following ways:

Social: lessons involve teamwork and problem-solving skills through activities requiring discussion, explaining, thinking and presenting music. Students are encouraged to develop their musical skills, communicating with others and explaining responses to each other. Students grasp where they are in terms of their progress through self and peer assessment that supports their understanding of what they need to do to improve and how to go about it. Working in small groups or pairs is an essential part of Music lessons.

Moral: moral education in music involves students expressing their own response to moral dilemmas and emotions. Encouraging critical discussion in response to challenging music is an integral process in learning and understanding the context of certain styles of music.

Cultural: cultural education in music involves students developing an appreciation of music drawn from a wide variety of traditions with a diversity of genres, forms and purposes. Students have an opportunity to explore aspects of their own culture and begin to recognise and appreciate differences in music from different times and places.

Spiritual: spiritual education in music is encouraged through the experience and emotion of response to the creative process. Through a sensual approach to feeling, seeing and hearing students, respond creatively themselves.

What skills will pupils develop?

Students develop the following skills during their course of studying music: communication, self-confidence, self-discipline, listening, performance, creative thinking, creativity, composition, analysis of music, independent thinking, time management, problem-solving and application of IT.

What will help pupils to learn?

  • independent listening to practise analytical skills
  • GCSE Bitesize
  • OCR Student Revision Guide
  • being involved in extra-curricular music activities
  • learning to play a musical instrument
  • studying music theory – Grades 1 – 5 ABRSM workbooks by Eric Taylor
  • participating in concerts/performances

KS3 Course Structure

Year 7

Harry Potter and the Orchestra – students learn about the families of instruments and the orchestra through a scheme of work with close links to the Harry Potter theme.

Basic Keyboard Skills – students learnt the fundamental basics of learning to play the keyboard.

Recycled Rhythms – students learn about rhythm and about the concept of using junk instruments.

Year 8

Music and the Media – students learn how music is used in advertising and create their own advert in groups using jingle techniques.

Soundtracks – students learn how and why music is used in films and how leitmotifs are used to convey a character’s personality. All students learn how to play the James Bond theme.

Reggae – students learn about the culture of Reggae and its characteristics through a performance of Three Little Birds.

Year 9

Rock and Roll – students learn the characteristics of the style and its historical context. Performance work is based on Rock Around the Clock.

Rap – students learn about the gang culture associated with the style and compose their own raps.

Advanced Performance Skills – students develop their performance skills and strengths with a project designed to prepare them for GCSE performance work.

KS3 Assessment

Students are regularly assessed in their practical and written work. Feedback enables them to make progress. Students complete a written assessment for each project and have regularly assessed homework to complete.

KS4 Course Structure

(2 courses offered at present)


Listening Exam – 40%

Performance Coursework – 30% comprising one solo and one ensemble performance

Composition Coursework – 30% comprising two compositions based on the areas of study.

The areas of study for the course are:

  • Rhythms from around the World
  • Film Music and Computer Game music
  • Pop Music from 1960 to the present day
  • The Concerto through time

Edexcel BTEC First Award in Music

Unit 1 – The Music Industry – 25% - 1 hour written exam

Unit 2 – Managing a Music Product – 25%

Unit 4 – An Introduction to Music Composition – 25%

Unit 5 – An Introduction to Music Performance – 25%

KS4 Assessment

Students are assessed after every performance or composition task and feedback is given to inform them of how to improve further.

Regular listening activities in lessons help students to develop their analytical skills in preparation for the listening exam. Students are set theory homework and tasks which support the learning of new terminology and how to apply it.


Mrs R Hopson

Head of Music and Second in Faculty for Performing Arts

Mrs E Burchell

Teacher of Music (KS3)

Opportunities out of lessons

Students have the opportunity to learn a range of musical instruments including:

  • drums
  • violin
  • viola
  • cello
  • keyboard
  • piano
  • trumpet
  • trombone
  • euphonium
  • cornet
  • guitar
  • flute
  • clarinet
  • saxophone

Lessons cost £30 per term (£15 if free school meals). Instruments are provided free of charge but students are expected to purchase instrument specific equipment such as reeds or drumsticks. Students are also expected to purchase their own tutor/grade books.

Extra-curricular music activities include:

  • St Michael’s Concert Band
  • Vocal Affinity
  • String Group
  • Guitar Ensemble

Furthermore, we regularly organise visits to Symphony Hall to experience live music.

Career Pathways in this subject

  • BTEC Music (National Level)
  • BTEC Music Technology (National Level)
  • AS Music
  • A2 Music
  • BA (Hons) Music / Music Technology

Leading to careers as:

  • music  teacher
  • peripatetic teacher
  • professional musician
  • session musician
  • music journalist
  • composer
  • arranger
  • recording studio engineer
  • producer
  • roadie
  • band management
  • instrumental repairer
  • musical theatre performer
  • conductor
  • backstage crew
  • music director
  • music publisher
  • events manager
  • entertainer
  • music librarian