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KS3 Music

“Music is a moral law. It gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and charm and gaiety to life and to everything.”

Music enables learning through the medium of sound and individual expression. Music allows students to experience great enjoyment through a combination of simultaneous ear, eye, brain and kinetic activity and learning. Music is at the heart of spiritual, moral, social and cultural learning. Students develop confidence, resilience and empathy through performing and composing.


Year 7

Course Overview

Music at KS3 is a two-year course taught as one 60 minute lesson per week during Year 7 and 8, covering a wide range of musical skills. It encourages pupils to develop creativity, analytical thinking, technical skills, teamwork and an appreciation of the development of skill and creation of art. Pupils who do well in KS3 lessons and who are regularly involved in music beyond this are well-equipped to undertake music in year 9. The objective of Music in year 9 is to allow students taking music at KS4 to begin their studies at GCSE whilst still providing effective opportunities for students who do not choose Music to achieve the very best level that they can at the end of KS3.

Assessment of understanding

Understanding is measured by performing and recording practical work in response to given briefs, evaluative responses by students and by undertaking end of unit keyword tests.

Performing To perform in time with confidence and expression.

Skills are developed individually and in groups, on voice and a variety of instruments, using different notations covering a range of traditions and styles. (students learning an instrument externally are encouraged to use this skill in class, including sequencing, rap and beatbox)

Composition To generate, develop and structure ideas to captivate an audience.

Pupils will develop their ability to compose, improvise and notate music material through both live performance and music technology (Sibelius, pro-logic and GarageBand). They will explore a variety of musical structures and styles.



To recognise musical features, understand key concepts and coherently, analytically discuss Music.


Vocabulary is key to Musical education at Key Stage 3, as it is essential for success at Key Stage 4. Students are regularly quizzed on their musical vocabulary to ensure that knowledge and concepts are retained and understood. These concepts are also applied through performing and composing.


In Year 7, students learn how music fits together, how patterns are layered and combined within simple structures, from different periods and cultures worldwide.

Keyboard Skills: Students learn the very basics of playing the keyboard; note position and layout, hand positioning, where the notes are located and how to begin playing music. Students learn the beginnings of notation on the treble clef, and are given practical rehearsal time to learn pieces of increasing challenge levels, to progress through grades. Students are tested for vocabulary.

Soundscapes (Horror Music) Students are introduced to horror music, and within their studies learn eight musical devices and five features that are commonly used in horror music. Students engage with these concepts to compose their own horror music to a storyboard.

Band Project: Students learn to piece together music as a group, learning about song structure and texture, the layering of instruments and the skills needed to work efficiently in a group. Students at this point explore other instruments and transfer skills previously learned into this.

Keyboard Skills 2: Students build upon previously learned notation, this time with the option to extend learning into two handed playing using the bass clef as well as the treble clef. Students are challenged with reading full notation, in varying degrees of difficulty, learning the theory as they engage practically.

Music Technology: Students learn to use modern music technology software and hardware to create and edit music on computers. This unit ties in with the previous soundscapes unit, as students compose music on the computer to a specific movie scene, learning to write music to fit with differing emotions and tension levels.

Composition: Students learn to compose Pop songs using chord sequences, melodies, structures, and textures. Students begin working with pairs to create the very basis of a song, and then group together to play, as full bands, the song they have written. This includes but is not limited to, keyboard/piano, drums, guitar, bass, and vocals.

Enrichment activities
Enrichment activities are varied and provide an opportunity for pupils to progress as they move through the school. Informal events include lunchtime gigs for aspiring performers and rehearsal time. Formal events include Christmas concert and summer concert in which class work is showcased, in addition to extra-curricular groups. The school take opportunities, when available to invite students to work with outside musicians and participate in half-term workshops. Instrumental lessons are available on a range of instruments. Please contact Mr Edwards for details

To support progress in music
Students will be expected to take on more demanding, significant parts and roles within group work. This can be supported by:

  • Regular practice of an instrument skill at home either with a tutor or online.
  • Access to a keyboard or guitar at home will support this.
  • www.chordfind – fingers for any guitar chord
  • www.drummerworld – showcasing masters at work

Independent study of theory via online apps or theory club in term 2

  • Review of revision booklets shared to students in each year
  • Music theory guy
  • Teoria (tutorials and exercises for music theory and ear training)

Listening and understanding a wide range of instruments and styles


Year 8-9

Please note this information will be added in due course…