Our approach to the Music curriculum

Creativity, problem solving, self-discipline and teamwork are some of the key skills the Music Department aims to develop in our enterprising boys. The Music Department will give students opportunities to perform, create and engage with music whatever their ability or previous musical experience.

We are passionate about making use of London’s wealth of cultural resources to give students a rich and diverse musical experience and to develop these boys into confident, creative men with a lifelong love of music.

Our approach to lessons


The Music department design outstanding lessons that are geared towards boys and ensure that every boy is able to make progress. We cover a broad range of topics which develop the boys as performers, composers and musicologists.

Our use of music technology is a key feature in our approach to developing boys as musicians in the digital age and we aim to equip our students with skills that can be applied in a variety of situations. Our lessons are primarily practical with composition and performance forming the basis of the majority of our lessons; alongside this we teach music theory and listening skills.

Department staff


Year 7 curriculum

  • Unit 1: ‘Wake me up’ (Keyboard skills, Vocals, ICT, Treble Clef Notation, Elements of Music)

  • Unit 2: Ukulele (Vocals, Timing, Chords, Ensemble)

  • Unit 3: Baroque Music (Keyboard Skills, History, Treble Clef & Rhythm Notation)

  • Unit 4: Darkwood Manor (Composition, Melody, DAWs, Melody)Ws - Digital Audio Workstations)


Year 8 curriculum

  • Unit 1: Blues (Singing, Keyboard skills, History of Music, Bass clef notation)

  • Unit 2: Film Music (Music ICT, Composition, Elements of Music, Listening & Appraising, Rhythm notation/rhythmic devices)

  • Unit 3: Breakout Band Skills (Texture, Ensemble performance skills)

  • Unit 4: Classical Music (Keyboard skills, History of Music, Melodic devices, Notation)


Year 9 curriculum

  • Unit 1: Sequencing Remix Project (Composition, keyboard skills, DAWs, Structure, Harmony)

  • Unit 2: Samba & Rhythm (Rhythm & Pulse, Ensemble, History & context of music, Notation)

  • Unit 3: Rock & Pop Band Skills (Ensemble Skills, Pop, Analysis)

  • Unit 4: The Romantic Era (Keyboard skills, History of music, Keys & scales)

  • Unit 5: Free Composition (DAWs, Composition, Structure) 

  • Unit 5: Listening & Appraising / Solo Performances (Theory, Analysis, Performance Skills)


How the boys will be assessed in Key Stage 3:

  • Practical performances

  • Composition assessment

  • Listening & Appraising assessments (written)

  • Self and peer evaluation

Year 10 curriculum

  • Introduction to GCSE Music (Theory, Vocabulary, Solo Performance)

  • Vocal Music (Purcell & Queen, Aural skills)

  • Fusions (Afro Celt & Esperanza Spalding, Ensemble Performance)

  • Instrumental Music 1700-1820 (Bach, Essay, Question Skills, Composition) 

  • Theatre Music (Schwartz, Essay question skills, Composition)

  • Composition & Exam skills 

How the boys will be assessed in Year 10:

  • Solo performance mock exam

  • Ensemble performance mock exam

  • Listening & Appraising mock exam

  • Composition preliminary work exam

Year 11 curriculum

  • Instrumental Music 2 1700-1820 (Beethoven, Aural, Question skills, Performance)

  • Film Music & Performance (J Williams, Essay question skills, Solo performance) 

  • Set Brief Composition & Ensemble Performance (Composition & Performance Coursework) 

  • Exam Technique & Revision 

How the boys will be assessed in Year 11:

  • Solo performance (15%)

  • Ensemble performance (15%)

  • Listening & Appraising mock (internal)

  • Free composition (15%)

  • Set brief composition (15%)

  • Listening & Appraising summer exam (40%) - externally assessed


Exam Board: Edexcel

Written Components: 40%

Practical Components: 60%



AQA Music A Level incorporates the skills of Performance, Composition and Appraising. This includes study of a number of set works from genres including Western Classical Art music, Pop music and Music for Theatre. 


Developing and applying the musical knowledge, understanding and skills set out in this

specification can ensure our students form a meaningful relationship with music.

They will be encouraged to engage critically and creatively with a wide range of music and musical contexts. The specification allows students to develop particular strengths and interests, encourage lifelong learning and provide access to higher education and university degree courses in music and music-related subjects and careers.

How the boys will be assessed at A-Level

Component 1: Appraising music

What's assessed:

  • Listening

  • Analysis

  • Contextual understanding

  • How it's assessed

Exam paper with listening and written questions using excerpts of music.


  • Section A: Listening (56 marks)

  • Section B: Analysis (34 marks)

  • Section C: Essay (30 marks)

This component is 40% of A-level marks (120 marks)


Component 2: Performance

What's assessed:

  • Musical performance

How it's assessed:

  • Solo and/or ensemble performing as an instrumentalist, or vocalist and/or music production (via technology).


  • A minimum of ten minutes of performance in total is required.

This component is 35% of A-level marks (50 marks)


Component 3: Composition

What's assessed:

  • Composition

How it's assessed:

  • Composition 1: Composition to a brief (25 marks)

  • Composition 2: Free composition (25 marks)


  • A minimum of four and a half minutes of music in total is required.

This component is worth 25% of A-level marks (50 marks).

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