Curriculum Intent

The Music Department aims to provide an enriching and inspiring curriculum which encourages the students to be the best musicians they can be. We want to help students to develop a lifelong appreciation of music as listeners, performers and composers. 

Music is a powerful and unique form of communication that can change the way pupils feel, think and act. It brings together intellect and feeling, and enables personal expression, reflection and emotional development.

As an integral part of culture, past and present, it helps pupils understand themselves and relate to others, forging important links between the home, school and the wider world.

The teaching of music develops pupils’ ability to listen and appreciate a wide variety of music and to make judgements about musical quality. It encourages active involvement in different forms of music making, both individual and communal, developing a sense of group identity and togetherness.

As an inclusive school the arts are a valuable means of developing confidence and communication skills, and facilitating expression, ideas and feeling. In addition, through purposeful, imaginative and creative activities, pupils learn to take managed risks, trying out new ideas and new ways of working without fear of failure.

At KS3 (years 7-9) students study music for one lesson a week. Whatever musical experience a student has had at primary school, we aim to build on this with a strongly based practical course where singing, playing instruments such as keyboards, ukuleles, guitars, and drumkits; composing and improvising are deeply embedded. All students learn to read conventional notation, chord boxes and tablature to enable them to perform a range of music on a variety of instruments.

Our KS3 provision broadens students’ musical horizons, and aims to give students the skills and knowledge they need to discover new styles and pursue the musical activities of their choosing in the future.

As well as studying the work of famous composers from throughout music history students will learn how to compose music and create several pieces of their own work. Thy will develop an appreciation of music by learning how to critically listen to music, analyse and understand how music works.

All students will be given the opportunity to experience music in both live and recorded form, with enrichment from visiting live performances where appropriate.

At key stage 4, GCSE music will motivate and stretch students of all abilities, equipping them with the skills and experience to succeed at GCSE and go on to further study if they wish. The GCSE course appreciates all styles and genres, skills and instruments, catering for different learning styles and musical tastes. The enjoyment of the subject is always at the forefront of teaching with students encouraged to further develop their passion for creativity.

The music curriculum is primarily taught through practical learning where high quality teaching builds on previous knowledge and skills mastered in each unit of work.

Music at key stage 3 is taught in mixed ability groups with smaller class sizes ranging between nineteen to twenty-four students. The music curriculum is designed to enable all students, whatever their individual needs, to make good progress across the musical disciplines of performing, composing and appraising. All musical activities are differentiated to ensure participation and success. A wide range of musical styles and genres, together with opportunities to use different instruments ensures that learning is engaging and enjoyable.

The music department provides opportunities for students to hone their personal musical development through a range of inclusive and stimulating extra-curricular opportunities, including: choirs, pop/rock bands and scratch orchestra. In addition to the staff-led groups, students are encouraged and supported in finding where their own interests in music lie and creating their own ensembles from these.  Students at Sunbury Manor School are given opportunities to share their musical skills through annual performances at a range of venues, including an end of year concert, carol singing and through collaborative school shows with the drama department.

We are committed to developing and widening student’s cultural capital by not only exposing students to a range of musical genres inside school, but also by providing the students with inspiring trips, such as West End theatre trips to see musical shows.

The music department seeks to provide students with skills that are not only applicable to a music lesson or future studies in music, but with transferable skills that will provide an excellent foundation for all future study. These skills include, but are not limited to: creative thinking, discipline, resilience, communication, analytical skills and collaboration. In addition to this, we know that learning and engaging with music can be an excellent pathway when developing student’s self-confidence and self-esteem.

In an ever-changing world of technological advancements, the creative skills learnt in music are invaluable to the future of the workplace. These skills learnt in music will allow students to be team-oriented workers, who are able to see different approaches to a job and help form and develop the ideas and goals of a company.

The music department at Sunbury Manor School comprises of two teaching rooms for whole class teaching and practise rooms for individual/ group work. Each music room contains different musical instruments and students are given the opportunity to use both rooms throughout their studies, to allow them to access all instruments - from a whole-class set of ukuleles to African drums and pop band instruments, such as guitars, bass guitars, drum kits and keyboards.

The music staff are made up of 2 specialised music teachers who deliver all KS3 and GCSE music lessons. The school also collaborates with a local peripatetic music provider, who offer specialist instrumental lessons to students who would want to develop their personal skills on a chosen instrument.

Curriculum Overview




Autumn 1

Autumn 2

Spring 1

Spring 2

Summer 1

Summer 2




I’ve Got rhythm’

Main project – Performance ‘Time Flies’

Drumming skills

Keyboard Skills

‘Pitch Perfect’

Main Project – performance ‘Country Roads’

‘Steps Leaps Repeats’

Melody, Structure and Pitch Notation

Main Project - Composition

‘Minimalism, Gamelan and Wind Turbines!’


Main Project –

Solo and ensemble composition

Band skills

‘Bach Beethoven and the Boys 1’ -

‘Elise Rocks!’

Main Project – Ensemble performance

‘Accompany me 1!’

Ukulele Performance Skills

Main project –

Performance – melody and accompaniment




Keyboard Skills

‘Pitch Perfect’

Main Project – performance ‘Country Roads’


Rhythmic notation revisit.

‘Accompany me 2!’

Chords and accompaniment patterns

Main project – Performance; solo. Composition

African music/ drumming

Main project – Performance by ear; ensemble.

Composition through improvisation


‘The Twilight Zone’


Main Project –

Composition using DAW (technology)

‘The Twilight Zone’


Main Project –

Composition using DAW (technology)


African music/ drumming

Main project – Performance by ear; ensemble.

Composition through improvisation

‘I Got the Blues’

The Blues

Main Project – Performance; solo, ensemble. Composition through improvisation


Band Skills: Rock Music

Eye of the Tiger

Main Project – Ensemble Performance


Band Skills: Rock Music

Eye of the Tiger

Main Project – Ensemble Performance


‘I Got the Blues’

The Blues

Main Project – Performance; solo, ensemble. Composition through improvisation






Understanding styles and song structure.

Main project – Higher and Higher ensemble performance

Song writing

Understanding styles and song structure.

Main project – composition

Film Music

Understanding genres.

Main project – Composition using DAW (technology)


Rap and Musical Theatre

Understanding genres. Main Project - Performance and composition


Understanding genres.

Main project - performance

Live Lounge


free project.

To be recorded (audio)




Western Classical Tradition 1650-1910

The areas of study provide an appropriate focus for students to appraise, develop and demonstrate an in-depth knowledge and understanding of musical elements, musical context and musical language. The four areas of study also provide a rich source of material for students to work with when developing performance and composition skills.

Preparation for the performance component of the GCSE is ongoing.

Popular Music

This area of study encompasses Rock music of the ‘60s and ‘70s, Pop music from the 90’s to the present day, film and gaming music and musical theatre.


Preparation for the performance component of the GCSE is ongoing.


Preparation for the free composition begins.

Traditional Music

This area of study encompasses Blues music from 1920–1950 Fusion music incorporating African and/or Caribbean music, Contemporary Latin music and Contemporary Folk music of the British Isles.


Preparation for the performance /composition component of the GCSE is ongoing.





Western Classical Music since 1910

This area of study focuses on music that comprises modern, contemporary classical music, experimental and minimalist music as well as other forms.

Students begin preparing for composing to a brief.

Performance is ongoing

Preparation for the performance component of the GCSE is ongoing. Students to compose to a brief. Completion of both controlled assessments (two compositions and two performances). Revision of all set works and consolidation of wider listening

FOR Year 11 2022 there is only one performance and one composition submission.

Revision of all set works and consolidation of wider listening.

Completion of listening/written exam.


Key Stage 4 Specification 

Subject Leader:

Ms C Yangopoulos


Exam Specification:

AQA GCSE Music 8271

QN Code:



The music GCSE will motivate andstretch students of all abilities, equipping them with the skills and experience to succeed at GCSE and go on to further study if they wish.The GCSE course appreciates all styles and genres, skills and instruments, catering for different learning styles and musical tastes.

Summary of course content

During GCSE Music pupils study three musical disciplines, composing 30%, listening 40% and performing 30%. The GCSE course is largely comprised of coursework 60% with 40% of the overall grade gained from a one and a half hour listening exam.


Students have to study two set musical pieces from four different musical traditions, analyse and dissect the musical elements and contexts in which the pieces have been composed. To do this pupils will learn how to read basic staff notation, identify key signatures and critically listen to unfamiliar music.


Students are required to perform at least four minutes of music on a chosen instrument that also includes the voice. During class time pupils will have the opportunity to rehearse and refine their performance skills. Students should also take an active interest in rehearsing outside of the classroom.


Pupils have the opportunity to study a variety of compositional techniques and from their research and learning, produce two compositions one from a set brief and one free choice. Compositions will be either written down using staff notation, lead sheets and chord diagrams, or produced using Cubase software.

The Music GCSE is perfect for those students who enjoy practical music making and are open to learning about compositional techniques and analysing sound in a critical manner.


This qualification is linear which means that students will sit all their exams and submit all their non-exam assessment at the end of the course. Over the two years in key stage 4, pupils will build up a body of knowledge on musical history, notation and theory. This will form the basis for an exam paper centered on listening exercises and written questions using excerpts of music.

Elsewhere pupils will have the opportunity to refine their performance skills on a chosen instrument, vocal or DJ. Pupils will need to perform at least four minutes of music, one of which must be as part of an ensemble.

For the composing element of this course pupils are required to produce two compositions over the two year course. One, from a set brief, the other as a free composition. Pupils will notate, use chord diagrams, record and annotate these compositions.                                                                                              

What type of activities take place in lessons?

During the GCSE, some lessons will be practical based and others will be more theoretical. Students will be required to listen attentively to unfamiliar music from all four areas of study, describe musical elements, musical contexts and use musical language (including staff notation).

Area of study 1: Western classical tradition 1650–1910 (compulsory)

Area of study 2: Popular music

Area of study 3: Traditional music

Area of study 4: Western classical tradition since 1910

In practical lessons students need to engage in independent and high quality rehearsal, preparing two pieces of music for their portfolio. Students need to rehearse out of the class as well as within lessons to hone their personal musical skill.

For GCSE Music composition, pupils will learn score writing and use software to realise their compositional ideas. Pupils will learn about various compositional techniques and will apply knowledge gained from the listening aspect of this course into practice.

What type of homework tasks will be set?

  • Instrumental rehearsal (at least 15 minutes per day recommended).
  • Research.
  • Compositional tasks
  • Writing up or completing class work.
  • Listening and musical comprehension.
  • Revision

Access to a computer at home can be helpful but if this is not possible, students must be prepared to spend some extra time completing work at lunchtime or after school.

How will it help me in the future?

GCSE music gives you a fantastic opportunity to learn more about something that is a major part of all our lives; whether you go onto study music at a higher level or not, you will develop skills that will remain with you for life and mean you can understand, appreciate and enjoy music in all its forms.

Music is recognised as a challenging but enjoyable subject. This subject leads well into Music A Level, Music Technology A Level or the BTEC level 3, but you might just see it as a way of studying something creative and varied at Key Stage 4. If you are interested in music and music performance, this is the course for you!

How will this course build on what I have studied in Year 9?

Music at Key Stage 4 centres on performance composition and listening. You will further analyse music and gain the knowledge to reinforce your existing practical skill set. If you have enjoyed the band skills modules you may enjoy this course, if you have enjoyed listening to music and want to know how it is made you will enjoy this course.

What skills will I develop?

Musicians are recognised as being well-rounded people who can work independently and are able to persevere at a skill. Making music develops your teamwork skills and allows you to explore your creativity.

You will also gain the skills required to read music as a creative language and convey your musical ideas to others through notation and practical theoretical application.