Music KS1 - KS4

KS1 and KS2 Music curriculum

Click here to read the KS1 and KS2 Primary Music Curriculum

KS3 Music curriculum


  • Singing
  • The Elements of Music
  • Keyboard and Notation Skills
  • Scales
  • Instruments of the Orchestra
  • Programme music


  • Chords and Harmony
  • Jazz and Blues
  • Minimalism
  • Form and Structure
  • Ensemble performance


  • Dance music
  • Film music
  • Modes
  • Songwriting                                   

GCSE Music is also offered at KS4

Examination Board:



60% two internally assessed assignments, 40% externally assessed assignment


What will you learn?

Component 1: Performing (30%)

Students will record a portfolio of solo and ensemble performances lasting at least 4 minutes. These performances do not need to recorded in a concert format. Students can choose their performance pieces but should be working towards music that is between Grade II - IV standard by Year 11. Performances can be on a wide choice of instruments including vocal rapping, MC-ing and beatboxing.

Component 2: Composing (30%)

Students compose two compositions, of at least three minutes combined duration. This can be for any instruments you like and are typically composed using music technology. Logic Pro, Sibelius, Garageband are the popular Music composition software programmes used for composition.

  • One free composition set by the student, of at least one minute.
  • One composition set to a brief, of at least one minute.

Component 3: Appraising (examination 40%)

This is the only part of the qualification taken under exam conditions and is a 1 hour 15-minute listening exam answering eight questions. Two questions will be on the two set (prepared) pieces of music (see below) and six questions on other pieces of music. All questions will relate to one of the four Areas of Study and the Elements of Music.


The exam covers the following areas of study:

  1. Musical Forms & Devices – including Set Work ‘Badinerie’ by J.S. Bach for Flute and String Orchestra
  2. Music for Ensemble – including chamber music, jazz and musical theatre
  3. Film Music – including the origin of film music & how film music is created and developed
  4. Popular Music – including Set Work ‘Africa’ by Toto (released 1982)


Who is this course for? (This will suit you if…)

Do you enjoy listening to music and do you enjoy performing and composing music at any level? GCSE Music is about making and listening to all types of Music. From Bach to the Beatles, Mozart to Muse, Haydn to Hendrix and all types of Fusion and DJ / Digital Music in between, this GCSE course gives you the opportunity to do all of these things and study them in more detail. It really is a musically educational and fun course to study with three clear components.

What happens when you finish? (Career Pathway)

Students could go on to study Music or Performing Arts at Sixth Form or College. There are a range of Level 3 BTEC Music qualifications or Music  or Music Technology A Level. Some students, with Associated Board Grade 7 or Grade 8 by the end of the course, follow a traditional Music A Level.

Career options could include performer, teacher, administrator, songwriter, conductor, composer, recording engineer, manager, promoter, or music publisher. 

There are also more jobs than ever in music business related areas, such as: careers in digital marketing, social media, PR, technology, label services, ticketing and merchandising. It is also common to find music graduates in consultancy, finance, banking, music therapy and legal jobs.

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