The Music department aims to stimulate a love of and an interest in Music. Music is essentially a practical subject and it is hoped that all students gain understanding and enjoyment through a variety of activities. All work is related and interlinked to the areas of Listening and Appraising, Composing and Performing.

The benefits of music within education are huge. Being a musician shows universities and employers that you can work in groups, solve problems, listen and be creative. There is extensive research outlining links between learning a musical instrument and attainment across the whole school.  Most importantly, music making is fun – if offers the chance to make friends and be part of groups of musicians, and gives you the opportunity to be creative.

Students are given a broad range of experiences, developing their appreciation of music, and their understanding of how music works. Students develop their knowledge of melody, harmony and rhythm through engaging practical lessons, which make use of old and new technologies.

Pupils will learn about the building blocks of music such as rhythm and pulse, melody, harmony, dynamics, texture and timbre. They will learn how to read and interpret chord boxes, tablature, standard notation and other forms of written music. There will be a focus upon learning how to play the Ukulele, guitar, bass guitar, keyboard and drums. They will also look world music, focusing upon the exciting and vibrant rhythms of Brazil and the Klezmer music of Eastern Europe in support of the Holocaust History project.

Year 8 students will begin our Decades project. Developing the musical and instrument skills learnt in year 7, they will learn about the many influences upon the music they listen to today. From Blues to Rap, from Disco to Brit-Pop and from Grunge to Grime they will work on practical musical skills such as reading, technique, rehearsal and performance. In any lesson, students might play a number of different instruments, challenge themselves by trying different roles in a performance, teach their friends, conduct the whole group, record a performance using real world technology or give their peers guidance.

How you can assist your child

Encourage them to listen to a wide variety of Music (Services like Spotify, Apple Music & Google Music are brilliant to allow students to listen to a range of music).

Encourage them to rehearse – there are loads of opportunities to do this at lunch and after school within the department.

Speak to the Music department if your child wants to learn an instrument.

Encourage your child to get involved with Music outside of lessons in the many extra-curricular activities on offer: The department currently runs a stage band, choir, samba band and a ukulele choir. Pupils are actively encouraged to use the rehearsal spaces before, during and after school.

Encourage them to use GCSE revision and theory websites such as BBC GCSE bitesize and

Encourage them to experiment with Music Technology (there are so many free, or very cheap apps allowing students to make music now on tablets and PCs – Audiotool, Audiosauna, Garageband, Musescore, Soundation etc.).

GCSE: Why study music?

GCSE Music helps pupils to develop subject knowledge, understanding and skills through; listening to a variety of music, playing music and creating their own music. It offers a solid foundation for progression to other musical qualifications and often to a music-related career. The course provides the opportunity for pupils to develop transferable skills such as self-confidence, creativity, evaluation and team work.

Course Content

Component 1: Understanding music

Candidates complete listening exercises using excerpts of music. Pupils are required to appraise, develop and demonstrate an in-depth knowledge and understanding of musical elements, musical context and musical language. They will also critically appraise music from specified study pieces.

Component 2: Performing music

Candidates perform one solo and one group piece either as an instrumentalist and/or vocalist and/or via music technology.

Component 3: Composing Music

Candidates compose two pieces. One set to a brief, the other a free composition with a minimum of 3 minutes and a maximum of 4.5 minutes of music in total.


Component 1: Understanding music is assessed through an externally marked exam in two sections lasting 1 hour and 30 minutes. It is marked out of a total of 96 marks and constitutes 40% of the total marks for the qualification (Externally marked by AQA).

Component 2: The performances are marked against a criteria set down by AQA (Internally marked and moderated by AQA).

Component 3: Each pupil must compose two pieces. One composition must be in response to an externally set brief and the other composition must be freely composed by the pupil (internally marked and moderated by AQA.


This qualification leads onto A-level study and other courses based around Music and Music Technology

Unit Specification Code Paper Percentage of Final Mark
Component  1 8271 Understanding Music 40% of the total GCSE
Component  2 8271 Music Performance 30% of the total GCSE
Component  3 8271 Composing Music 30% of the total GCSE