top of page
Music Sheets

Music Curriculum Intent, Implementation and Impact


The Music Department at Archbishop Tenison’s aims to be an inclusive and welcoming subject area with an ethos of meeting the needs of our learning community, with exception outcomes for students.


Year 7 – 9 follow the National Curriculum for England and Wales, that seeks to develop a deepening understanding of the music that students perform and listen to, and its history. We aim to equip students with the skills to improvise and compose; and extend and develop musical ideas by drawing on a range of musical structures, styles, genres, and traditions. Our vision is to use music technology extensively from Year 7 onwards in the classroom, and to that end the intent is influenced by the National Plan for Music Education issued by the DfE. It is our hope to offer instrumental tuition to a widening percentage of the school cohort as time goes on.


Year 10-11 traditionally follow a broad GCSE diet of appraising, performance and composition. Western classical music, score reading, film music are examples of the intended coverage. From 2022, it is hoped that a balanced contemporary curriculum covering contemporary performance, mixing, writing and the music industry will also be offered.


The post-16 direction has shifted to become more encompassing. In-depth studies of classical works are still offered, but other options include performance only or composition only; or music technology and even studies covering the contemporary music industry.



Students study music from around the world, from different times and places for the majority of Year 7, which is followed up with an introduction to using Logic software and technology. Each section of KS3 is based on composites, so that students use skills and knowledge learnt in one unit as building blocks for new learning. Bach, Brown, Leitmotifs, Blues and Twentieth Century styles are just some of the topics covered. The elements of music appear across the topics in each year so that skills gradually deepen and embed in the minds of our pupils. Regular assessment during topics and at the end of topics give pupils regular feedback regarding ways to improve their understanding and skills as they work through the curriculum.


Students in KS5 study RSL, which can generate additional UCAS points. For example, the top grade, a Distinction*, is worth 1.5 A-Levels at A*; an ordinary Distinction is worth 1.5 A-Levels at grade A. This can widen the choice of university and make the difference between heading to a Russell Group University or not. GCSE music isn’t required, and for the Music Technology/Mixing or Music Industry strands, there is no requirement to play an instrument with the former based on studio work and the latter a written academic subject. For those that play or write – the choice to specialize in one or a mix of the strands is an appealing feature of the curriculum, as the department implements the subject by tailoring 6 units from a choice of over 100 to create individualized learning outcomes, ranging from mixing, live engineering, lead performance study, session musician study; to writing music for films.



Pupils complete their Key Stage 3 course with a greater appreciation and understanding of styles of music. Covid impacted GCSE student choice significantly, but it is hoped significant numbers will opt for music in 2022. Since the new course has arrived in Year 12, uptake has risen from 0 to 8 with numbers set to rise again next year. The current imported schemes have produced Progress 8 scores of 2.0 in the past, combined with 100% GCSE pass rates and 100% A or better at post-16.

Keystage 3


Year 7

  • Rhythm – developing an understanding of rhythmic notation

  • Voiceworks – developing an understanding of voices types and music textures

  • Performing together – enhancing and developing group performance skills

  • Ukulele – developing an understanding of chord sequences and performing fluently on the ukulele


Year 8

  • Musical structures 1 – developing an understanding of phrase structure as well as binary, ternary and rondo forms

  • Musical structures 2 – developing an understanding of the 12-bar blues

  • Musical structures 3 – composing using the blues structure

  • Musical structures 4 – developing an understanding of pop music conventions through listening and performing

  • Minimalism 1 - developing an understanding of the historical context, features and processes found in minimalism

  • Minimalism 2 – composing in a minimalist style using Sibelius


Year 9

  • Samba - developing an understanding of the musical context, instruments and features of samba music

  • Film Music 1 - exploring music for horror films including typical musical devices used

  • Film Music 2 - investigating leitmotifs in film music

  • Riffs and repetition - developing an understanding of the use of riffs in pop music and investigating riffs through musical history

Eduqas Music GCSE


Performing (30%)

  • A minimum of two pieces, one of which must be an ensemble performance of at least one-minute duration.

The other piece(s) may be either solo and/or ensemble.

  • The total length of the combined pieces must be 4-6 minutes.


Composing (30%)

  • Two compositions, one of which must be in response to a brief set by the exam board.

  • The other composition is a free choice to a brief set by the school or the pupil.


Listening and Appraising (40%)

  • A written exam lasting approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes.

  • There are eight questions in total, two on each of the four areas of study.

    • Area of study 1: Musical Forms and Devices

    • Area of study 2: Music for Ensemble

    • Area of study 3: Film Music Area of study

    • 4: Popular Music


Two of the eight questions are based on extracts set by the exam board.


Eduqas Music A Level


Performing (35%)

  • A performance consisting of a minimum of three pieces. At least one of these pieces must be as a soloist.

  • The other pieces may be either as a soloist or as part of an ensemble or a combination of both. One piece must reflect the musical characteristics of one area of study.

  • At least one other piece must reflect the musical characteristics of one other, different area of study.

  • The recital performance should last 10-12 minutes in total


Composing (25%)

  • Two compositions, one of which must reflect the musical techniques and conventions associated with the Western Classical Tradition and be in response to a brief set by WJEC.

  • Learners will have a choice of four set briefs, released during the first week of September in the academic year in which the assessment is to be taken.

  • The second composition is a free composition. 

  • The total combined time for both compositions is 4-6 minutes.


Listening and Appraising 40%

  • Appraising Written examination: 2 hours 15 minutes

  • Three areas of study: Area of study A: The Western Classical Tradition (The Development of the Symphony 1750-1900) which includes two set works (Haydn’s Symphony No. 104 in D major, 'London' and Mendelssohn’s Symphony No. 4 in A major, 'Italian')

  • As a Department we then follow these pathways:

    • Area of study C: Musical Theatre including works by Rodgers, Bernstein and Sondheim.

    • Area of study E: Into the Twentieth Century including two set works (Poulenc’s Trio for Oboe, Bassoon and Piano, Movement II and Debussy’s Three Nocturnes, Number 1, ‘Nuages’)

    • The final examination also includes a set work score reading analysis, extended written responses on the Western Classical Tradition and listening comparison questions.

bottom of page