General Aims

  • To encourage and foster the enjoyment of music for all students through involvement in performing, composing and listening including the ability to appreciate a wide range of music from different times and places.
  • To foster students musical sensitivity, creativity, and aural perception through the acquisition of skills, knowledge and understanding.
  • To promote students cultural development through the study of a wide range of music to reflect our cultural heritage.
  • To support students personal and social development through individual and group work both in and out of the classroom environment.

Music at KS3 

At KS3 students will learn music theory including reading classical notation. Lessons will be largely practically based, with lessons focusing on improving listening, performance and compositional skills through exploration of a variety of musical genres.

All students will be given the opportunity to study Music for one hour per week in year 7 and as part of a carousel with Drama throughout year 8 and 9.

The Music department at Marden places a strong emphasis on the value of Peer and Self Evaluation, as a reflective and ultimately a developmental tool. Both the Music GCSE and The National Curriculum at KS3 encourage students to constructively criticise and appraise their own work and that of others. They learn to evaluate, discern and differentiate between styles, genres and traditions. Frequent use of class discussion and regular student performance help develop confidence.

The role of Independent study (IS) is of fundamental importance to further develop research techniques and practise music related skills. Yrs. 7 and 8 students will be set two Creative Arts IS tasks per year.

Year 7

Term Topic Description
Autumn 1 The Elements of Music This topic will focus on how we vary different parts in a piece of music to make it interesting. Students look at the effect of changing such elements as sound, rhythm and volume of music. They also learn basic music notation. 


Autumn 2 Keyboard Skills Students learn basic keyboard techniques, they work on developing performance skills using the keyboard. They explore the different operations of the keyboard, learning how to change sounds, add rhythms and chords to our music. 
Spring 1 Form and Structure Form and structure in music means ‘the way the different parts of the music fit together’. We will look at different ways of organising musical sections, and how using a suitable musical structure can help us compose interesting music. Students use the music ICT suite to create structured compositions. 
Spring 2 World Music  Students look at music from countries around the world. Each lesson will focus on a different country. They listen to, perform and create music from different musical cultures. 
Summer 1 Musical Clichés  Musical Clichés are parts within a piece of music that are have a really obvious meaning. This unit will look at the ways we can use musical clichés to create music with a certain feeling, or a particular meaning to the audience. 
Summer 2 Creativity and Improvisation  Being creative is not easy! In order to make our own music, there are certain rules that composers usually follow. Students look at these rules, and learn how following these guidelines which allows us to create music that sounds good. 

Year 8

Term Topic Description
Autumn Exploring the Voice 





World Music


This POS will focus on different vocal techniques and styles. Students learn about these styles and techniques, by singing in a variety of different styles, including singing harmony. 

Students will look at world music, with a particular focus on the following areas:

Samba – music from Brazil. This will involve playing as part of a samba band.

Gamelan – music from Indonesia. This music uses glockenspiel and xylophone type instruments.

West African Music – this will focus on rhythmic skills with djembe drums.


Spring Theme and Variations 





Music for Occasion


‘Theme and Variations’ is a musical structure not covered in year 7. The unit explores the extent to which we can change and vary a piece of music without changing it completely. The unit will involve group composition. 

In this unit, students will perform and create music intended for a specific event or function. How can we write music that is suitable for a particular purpose?  What musical techniques or sounds may suit the intended event?

Summer Blues, Jazz and Improvisation 







Hooks and Riffs


The ‘Blues’ is one of the most influential styles of music in the modern era. Students look at the development of Jazz and Rock from their Blues origin, and learn some of the conventions of the style. They perform and compose in the Blues style, and also look at techniques of improvisation. 

This unit will look at Hooks and Riffs, which are techniques used in all popular music styles. Students look at Pop Music, and the way in which these techniques are used, before composing and performing Hooks and Riffs of our own.



Year 9

Term Topic Description
Autumn Popular Black Music Styles 




Classical Music


This topic will focus on different musical styles that have developed from African roots. Students focus on American African styles, including Reggae, Hip Hop and Funk. 

Students look at ‘Classical’ Music, with an emphasis on music from 1750 onwards. We will look at the differences between different styles and periods of Classical Music, as well as some compositional techniques associated with the music.


Spring Music and Media 





World Music


Music is used for many purposes in the television and advertising industries.  Students consider the effect and influence of this music, and why the music sounds the way it does. We create our own music for advertising purposes. 

In this unit, students look specifically at music from India and Brazil. Indian music is one of the oldest and most advanced musical traditions in the world. We begin by looking at the musical features that create this unique sound. We then move on to look at Brazilian music, focusing on Polyrhythmic Samba performance and composition.




Summer Music  for dance 






End of KS3 project.

This unit will revisit music from Africa. Students further develop their djembe performance skills, and work on Rhythmic Composition. Students improve and develop Garage Band skills using the Garage Band software in the music ICT suite. They create Polyrhythmic Percussion music. 

Students create a project looking at a particular artist/songwriter to present to the class. The project must include a PowerPoint presentation, and a performance.




Music at KS4

Music lessons at KS4 are designed to give students the performance and creative skills they need to succeed musically.  Students follow the AQA GCSE syllabus. They learn the advanced theory needed to communicate as a musician, and perform in a variety of genres both as a solo performer, and as part of an ensemble.

Students will have priority access to the music ICT suite, using up-to-date software as a compositional aide.

Course Structure

Theory and listening (unit 1 – worth 20%)

The theory and listening exam is worth 20% of the total grade, and will be taken at the end of year 11. Musical theory and listening skills will be taught throughout the course. Students will be set regular homework, and given targets with assessed theory tests to monitor progress. Theory lessons will increase towards the end of the course in preparation for the exam.

Performance (unit 3 – worth 40%)

Students are required to perform 2 pieces for the course, which are to be recorded and submitted along with a score. One performance must be a solo piece, and the other must be performed as part of an ensemble. The performances are worth 20% of the total grade each. (40% total)

Every half-term, students will work towards a performance, which will be recorded. A bank of possible submissions will be built up, and the most successful will be chosen to enter for the GCSE.

Composition with appraisal (unit 2 – worth 20%)

There are two compositions that students are required to submit. Students will be given the choice of composing acoustically, or using ICT as a tool for composition.

The composition fur unit 4 can be in any style, and counts for 20% of the total grade. This composition will be completed in year 10.

The composition for unit 2 will be completed in year 11. It has a given focus. One of the following stimuli will be given: World Music, Classical Music or Pop Music. This composition, along with a written appraisal, counts for 20% of the total grade.


All pupils at Marden have the option to become involved in one of the school’s extra-curricular musical; groups. Groups for 2012-13 include:

Samba band

Year 7 choir

‘The sopranos’ choir

School Orchestra

Rock rehearsals

Peripatetic music lessons are available for a variety of instruments from the school. See a member of the music department for further details.