KS3 Curriculum Intro:

All students in Years 7 to 9 study music as part of the National Curriculum. Students are taught in mixed-ability groups and have two hour-long lessons a fortnight. Homework is set once every two lessons. Lessons are differentiated to cater for all ability levels. Each topic usually lasts for half a term and will consist of a variety of performing, composing and listening activities.


Autumn Term

Spring Term

Summer Term


First half: Music from Africa .

Students learn about instruments, musical devices and conventions associated with music from sub-Saharan African. Activities include learning to perform a piece on the djembe and developing vocal techniques.

Second half: Marches – Note Values and Timekeeping.

Students become familiar with or build on their knowledge of Western Classical notation. They learn about note values, time signatures and marches through rhythmic exercises and learning to play ‘The Black Note March’ on the keyboard.

First half: Composing for Characters.

Students learn about major, minor and chromatic scales. They use these to write melodies based on motifs to suit different characters. Students look at the story of Peter and the Wolf and explore the instruments of the orchestra.

Second half: The Blues .

Students learn about the origins of the Blues. They learn to play the twelve bar blues and to improvise a melody using the blues scale over the top. They look at blues-style songs.

First half: Breaking with Convention.

Students explore using found objects as musical instruments and create instruments of their own. They write their own experimental pieces in groups. They look at different styles of music that have broken with convention.

Second half: Music for an Occasion.

Students listen to, perform and write music for different occasions, for example Remembrance Day. They write a song for charity.


First half: Musicals

Students gain an awareness of different types and styles that exist and learn how to identify them. They study two in detail: The Wizard of Oz and The Phantom of the Opera and learn to perform songs from them.

Second half: Music and the Media – Elements of Music.

Students look at the effect music can have in relation to different media (pictures, film, etc.). They will analyse techniques composers have used. Activities include composing music for trailers and animated clips, writing radio jingles and responding to works of art.

First half: Music and the Media – Melodic Intervals and Harmony.

Students continue to look at film music whilst looking at how key and harmony can affect the mood of a piece. They will look at intervals in terms of melodic writing. They will learn to play film themes.

Second half: Music from the Caribbean.

Students will learn about different styles of music from the Caribbean. They will focus on calypso music learning to perform a piece and how to compose one in the same style. They will also learn about reggae music and work towards a performance of Bob Marley’s ‘Three Little Birds’.

First half: Working Towards a Performance.

Students work in groups towards putting on a performance of a popular song. They must reflect on their skills, create their own performance targets and plan how to use rehearsal time effectively. This will lead towards a small-scale but formal class concert.

Second half: The Music Industry.

Leading on from the previous topic, students work in the same groups to market themselves as performing artists. They learn about the different aspects of the music industry and work towards a presentation including a composition and/or performance.


First half: Western Classical Music.

This unit focuses on three periods of Western Classical Music: the Baroque, Classical and Romantic eras, and typical features associated with these. They will learn to play pieces from these periods and compose pieces influenced by them. It will refresh their knowledge of harmony and build on it.

Second half: Structure in Music.

Students will focus on structural aspects used within the periods studied in the previous unit and make connections with the music of today. Activities include composing their own ternary-form piece and looking at Beethoven’s ‘Ode to Joy’.

First half: Blues and Jazz.

Students will revisit the Blues, which they studied in Year 7, and build on their prior knowledge. They will study different jazz styles, learn pieces and build on their improvisation skills.

Second half: Dance Music.

Students work in groups to research a dance music style of their choice, for example disco, house, hip-hop or drum ‘n’ bass. They work towards a presentation to the class on it, including a PowerPoint, performance and handout.

First half: Reggae Music.

Having briefly looked at reggae during Year 8, students now study the style in more depth learning about context, musical characteristics and artists. They learn to play pieces and compose in the style.

Second half: Song-Writing.

Students analyse popular songs, learn about verse-chorus form and lyric writing techniques. They work towards performing a pre-existing song and writing their own.

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