The Arts, PE & Technology Faculty



Subject Intent: 

In Music, pupils will develop vocal, instrumental and computer-based (music sequencing) performance skills. They will develop composing techniques, beginning with traditional fundamentals in the use of music notation and then developing these into modern-day techniques in applied scenarios, such as composing for video using industry level digital audio workstation (DAW) software. Listening skills are developed through the identification of instruments and their technical and expressive roles in a piece of music across the styles pupils study. Music has been a major feature in human societies across the world since the dawn of time and pupils will explore the culture, tradition and historical context surrounding a variety of musical styles. Modern-day practices and the features of today’s Music Industry also feature across the music curriculum.

Course Overview:

The Exam board and unit list for:



GCSE Music

Pupils study using the OCR specification:

  • Performing (30% of the final grade)
  • Composing (30% of the final grade)
  • Listening Exam paper (40% of the final grade)

BTEC Music and Music Technology

Pupils study a BTEC Level 2 First Award using the Pearson Edexcel specification

  • The Music Industry exam paper
  • Managing a Music Product
  • Introducing Live sound/recording
  • Introducing music sequencing

Course  Detail:

Key stage 3


Year 7:

  1. Sister Act - Class Choir
  2. Keyboard - Learning the language (Music Notation)
  3. Composing chords and bass lines
  4. Sequencing a famous song
  5. Instruments & more instruments! (Be a film music composer & conductor!
  6. Samba! (Whole Class drumming workshop)


Year 8:

  1. (It’s) All ‘bout Rhythm (Drum Kit and composing)
  2. Rock Anthems - the Guitar
  3. It’s a tune – Compose a song - EDM style
  4. Indian Music – Indian Classical & Bhangra
  5. The Blues & 1950s Rock ‘n’ Roll
  6. Be a ‘Soundie’ - Live, DJ and DAW mixing


Year 9:

  1. Reggae - Caribbean music
  2. I, Producer - Sequence a track from the charts
  3. Band Skills - drums, pop keyboard and more.
  4. RE-MIX! - Create a re-mixed of a song
  5. Battle of the bands
  6. Radio Broadcaster (Plan, collaborate and broadcast your own radio show)


Key stage 4


GCSE Music

Performing (30% of the final grade)

Pupils make two recordings performing as a vocalist, instrumentalist or through using technology (music sequencing).

  • Performance 1 is a solo performance or sequenced piece of music.
  • Performance 2 is a performance with at least one other live performer or a sequenced piece of music.

Composing (30% of the final grade)

Pupils compose two pieces of music.

  • Composition 1 is a free choice in which pupils can compose in any style.
  • Composition 2 follows a brief and ‘starting point’ stimulus set by the exam board.

Area of study 1

Pupils continue and develop their performance and/or computer-based (music sequencing) performance skills.

Listening Exam paper (40% of the final grade)

This externally assessed paper comprises of four areas of study:

Area of study 2: The Concerto Through Time – how soloists and orchestras interact across three historical eras:

  • Baroque
  • Classical
  • Romantic

Area of study 3: Rhythms of the World – comprising of the following World Music Styles:

  • Indian Classical
  • Bhangra
  • Greek
  • Palestinian
  • Israeli
  • Samba
  • Calypso

Area of study 4: Film and Game music

Area of study 5: Conventions of Pop

  • Rock ‘n’ Roll
  • Rock Anthems
  • Pop Ballads of the 70s, 80s & 90s
  • Solo artists 90s – present day


BTEC Music and Music Technology

Mandatory units 

Unit Name 


Exam paper 

The Music Industry 

60-minute examination worth 50 marks. 

The paper consists of a variety of question types, including objective questions, short-answer questions and one extended writing opportunity at the end of the examination paper. 


Managing a Music Product 

Organising a music concert or recording 

Specialist units 

Unit Name 



Music Sequencing 

Creating a music performance using music creation software – by composing original or recreating existing music. 


Music Live Sound / Recording 

Involves the recording of their own and/or fellow students' performances. 


Enrichment Opportunities

Pupils have many opportunities to get further involved in the music making they experience in curriculum time outside of lessons in our programme of lunch time ‘drop in’ clubs and scheduled afterschool rehearsals. Pupils can choose to do keyboard, guitar, drums, choir and music technology clubs.

Pupils perform in our annual events comprising of Open Evening, awards evenings, Christmas Carol Concert, ‘TomFest’ Live Stage at the summer festival and more.

Music at St. Thomas More plays a key role in the Catholic life and liturgical calendar of our school. Pupils perform and lead worship music as soloists, in small groups, in the STM Choir and Orchestra and also in the role of live sound technicians. Over 70 pupils perform in our Easter Production depicting the Stations of the Cross through music, drama and narration.

Useful links will enable students to revise, and study further outside of lessons, music notation principles. The site is free to use and includes lessons pages and tests.

BBC Bitesize Key Stage 3 can be reached using the following link:

Google Chrome Music Lab which offers an online music sequencer for making your own music. The site can be reached using the following link:

Ableton ‘The Playground’ allows you to create your own drum patterns and more in an online music sequencer. The site can be reached using the following link:

MuseScore is a free to download music notation software programme. Think of it as a ‘Microsoft Word’ for writing your own music in a professional way