Curriculum - Subject Information



Music is studied by all students in year 7 to 9. Students can choose to study the subject further in year 10 and 11, as one of their GCSE option choices.

Reason for sequencing the curriculum for every year group in the way it is, and the subject specific/pedagogical approach taken:

The music curriculum at Stradbroke High School aims to nurture in all students a life-long love of the subject. It aims to embed and develop the necessary knowledge, skills and understanding for all students to engage positively with both practical and essential theoretical aspects of music.

Year 7 aims to build upon students’ musical experiences at primary level, by exploring and reinforcing some of the fundamental processes and concepts, including pulse and rhythm, pitch and melody writing and the elements of music. Music from a variety of contrasting historical and stylistic periods is used, as well as from a range of world cultures.

Year 8 aims to build on the secure foundations laid in year 7, by nurturing students’ ability to combine and develop melodies, understand how structure is able to shape their ideas in performance and composition, and begin to handle harmony with confidence. Music from a number of world cultures, as well as from the Baroque, Classical and Twentieth century is used to embed this learning.

At year 9, students have greater independence and can apply the knowledge, skills and understanding that they have acquired in years 7 and 8, in projects which seek to support and challenge their learning further. These include an exploration of Blues and Rock n’ Roll, variation form through time, music and advertising, modal music through the lense of the popular song and film music.

By the time students reach year 10 and 11, they will have acquired through the Key Stage 3 curriculum, a secure understanding of a wide variety of thematic strands that they will study in more detail in their GCSE music course. Having had many opportunities to perform and compose individually and in ensembles, as well as reflect critically upon their own music and that of others, they will be equipped to engage with curriculum content at GCSE, which includes a study of their own instrument or voice, the concerto through time, rhythms of the world, film music and conventions of pop.

How we build on prior learning:

The music curriculum at Stradbroke High School aims to nurture and enhance the knowledge, skills and understanding developed at primary school by pupils at Key Stages 1 and 2. Liaison with our feeder primaries has meant that we have been able to build a picture of the overall music curriculum offered at Key Stages 1 and 2, which provides pupils with a secure basis, with a strong link to vocal skills and an understanding of musical elements, as well as experience of a variety of important styles and genres.

With this information in mind, we can ensure coherence and progression in the curriculum as students move from one phase to the next and avoid unnecessary repetition of content. A benchmark music assessment is also conducted in the September that the new year 7 arrive at Stradbroke in order to ascertain where they are in terms of their music learning and to identify strengths and weaknesses.

Students at Key Stage 3 are assessed every half term. This assessment may focus on performance, composition or listening/appraising. At these points, prior learning and understanding can also be checked and areas for further development or recap can be identified.

At Key Stage 4, students work towards presenting a portfolio of performance work and compositions, with this being finalised in year 11. Prior learning and understanding is measured along the way so that final work draws on this guidance and experience. In terms of listening and appraising, regular informal assessments take place to check on prior learning and understanding of the set areas of study. Feedback aims to support students in the preparation for mock listening papers sat in year 10 and year 11.

How we prepare students for the future:

Music helps to develop students’ critical skills, their ability to listen, to appreciate a wide variety of music and to evaluate and analyse music. These skills are useful for students going on to study at ‘A’ Level and beyond, for example those exploring careers in the arts, teaching, creative media and so on. Music also provides students with wider transferable skills for the future e.g. self-discipline, perseverance, creativity and fulfilment and working effectively as a member of a team. This links directly with Gatsby Benchmark 4 (linking curriculum learning to careers). It ultimately aims to equip students with the essential knowledge, skills and cultural capital necessary to go on to future study, helping them to contribute positively to life beyond school.

Additional provision to support learning:

In addition to students developing their ability to ‘read’ and interpret musical notation, they are also encouraged to read from a range of subject specific texts when undertaking research tasks across Key Stages 3 and 4.

Curriculum enrichment includes a variety of extra-curricular music clubs for students to actively participate in.

Peripatetic music tuition is offered on a wide variety of instruments.

We host concerts during the academic year, plus a bi-annual full school production, providing the opportunity to celebrate music and the arts.

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