Key Stage 4

In Year 11, students follow the AQA GCSE music specification for the exam that will be taken in the final term of Year 11.

Below is the outline of what all GCSE students are required to study.

There are four units in GCSE Music and students must complete themall.  They learn about musical language and explore the elements underlying the organisation of sound, through listening to music, performing individually and in a group, composing andappraising music.

This specification encourages students to:

  • develop their own musical interests and skills including the ability to make music individually and in groups and to use music technology
  • evaluate their own and others’ music
  • understand and appreciate a range of different kinds of music
  • actively engage in the process of music study in order to develop as effective and independent learners and as critical and reflective thinkers with enquiring minds.

AQA does not set any prior learning requirements.  Any requirements set for entry to a course following this specification are at the discretion of schools and colleges.

The exam is assessed in the following ways:

Unit 1: Listening to and Appraising Music 42701 Written Paper – 1 hour – 80 marks – 20%

Unit 2: Composing and Appraising Music 42702 Externally assessed – 40 marks – 20%

Unit 3: Performing Music 42703 Controlled Assessment – 60 marks – 40%

Unit 4: Composing Music 42704 Controlled Assessment – 30 marks – 20%

Musical language/literacy content.

The musical references made below under the heading The organisation of sound form the basis for the exploration of all Areas of Study within GCSE Music. The whole musical experience of this course – both teaching and learning – should be centred on them.

Candidates will be expected to be able to understand notation suitable to the occasion, including staff notation.

The five Areas of Study for all of the units in this specification are:

AoS1 – Rhythm & Metre

AoS2 – Harmony & Tonality

AoS3 – Texture & Melody

AoS4 – Timbre & Dynamics

AoS5 – Structure & Form

These will be explored through three Strands of Learning:

a) The Western Classical Tradition

b) Popular Music of the 20th & 21st centuries

c) World Music

Year 10, students will study the Edexcel Music course which covers:-

  • Instrumental Music 1700-1820
  • Vocal Music
  • Music for Stage and Screen
  • Fusions

Each unit is assessed as follows :-

  • Component 1: Performing 30% of the qualification (60 marks)
  • Component 2: Composing 30% of the qualification (60 marks)
  • Component 3: Appraising 40% of the qualification (80 marks)


Key Stage 3

At Holbrook all Key Stage 3 students receive 1 hour a week of music. The three key skills of performing, listening and composing are covered through the following differentiated programs of study.

All Year 7 students will sit a standardised baseline test that will give an accurate picture of where their level their musical understanding is when they start in September.

For the first half of the Autumn term, Year 7students learn about the fundamental principles of music to enable them to improve their skills in the reading, writing and performing of music.

The next areas covered for each of the following half terms are: Voiceworks, Music and the media (focusing on television advertising in particular), Wondermusic project (focusing on untuned and tuned percussion), features of good melody writing (what makes a good tune?) and finally medieval music (focusing on music related to monks and how they use modes).

Performing skills are developed through classwork by singing, keyboard work, ukulele and percussion. Homework tasks are focused on basic theory to help them develop their overall musical understanding. A large part of the Year 7 curriculum focuses on the use of musical vocabulary and its use in the listening and appraising of music. All students are encouraged to get involved in extra-curricular activities to improve ensemble skills and their enjoyment of creating music.

In Year 8, all students continue to follow a differentiated curriculum which builds on their learning from Year 7. The topics covered each half term are : African music, Experimental music, Music & Space, Chinese music, Jazz improvisation.

In Year 9, all students continue to follow a differentiated curriculum which builds on their learning from Year 8. The topics covered  are : Musical theatre, Minimalism, Soundtracks, Romantic composers, Popular song, Fanfares.

Holbrook Academy’s music department is a popular and creative area of the school. All students are encouraged to develop their musical talents and many choose to join one of the music clubs which perform to a wide range of audiences.

Music lessons are available for a wide range of instruments and all students are given the opportunity to experience playing an instrument within curriculum music lessons.




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