Music – Classroom Music

Classroom music making is the core of the activities in St Joseph’s School.

At KS 3 Pupils will build on previous knowledge and skills gained in their Junior School, through performing, composing and listening. They will have opportunities to develop their vocal and/or instrumental fluency, accuracy and expressiveness; and understand musical structures, styles, genres and traditions, identifying the expressive use of musical dimensions.

Linked to their performance skills they will listen to music with increasing discrimination and awareness to inform their practice as musicians.

To take their musical skills further,they will make use of technology appropriately to compose their own pieces.

All of the above will lead to a development of their appreciation and understanding of a wide range of musical contexts and styles.

At KS4, pupils can opt to follow a more detailed course, leading to a GCSE grade. At present we use the AQA specification.

Year 8 Homework


Simply click on the link and your homework will open. Read through and learn as much as you can about the Twelve Bar Blues before your next lesson in two weeks. You do not need to bring any written work – just make sure you’ve read the sheet thoroughly.

Year 7 Homework

Homework 4 – Graphic Scores – Open the following link, and revise Graphic Scores for Homework:


You will have a test in your next lesson – so make sure you have revised Graphic Score

Homework Policy


1. The Music will now be setting homework at KS 3 on a regular basis – at the end of each Stage. The school homework policy outlines the value of homework, but in the case of Music resources may not be available at home for all pupils, in particular instruments and /or software. The Music Department recognises homework is one vehicle, where appropriate, for implementing some of the aims of the Department.

2. Possible homework will take the form of research, the learning of specific music terms and vocabulary, preparation for compositions work through exploration of sound sources, or the learning of Song Words for Performance. ANy copies needed will be on the school website.

3. As part of the Foundation course for KS4 – regular Composition and Theory exercises will be set on a weekly basis, with work tracked to show progress towards an appropirate Grade.

4. At KS4 Composition work is covered during a total of 45 hours under Informal Supervision. Not all of this time can be provided during lesson time. Although Preparation work can be carried out at home, the actual work must happen in school. In this instance the ‘homework’ will be completed in afternoon and lunchtime sessions in the Music Department. A log of time spent will be kept by the Teacher. Details of dates and times are set out in a Timetable of Components given to students as they start the course at the end of Year 9.

5. KS4 will be required to Regularly Practice their chosen instrument in preparation for the Performance aspect of the GCSE Coursework – worth 40%. Strict deadlines for recording will be set, and must be adhered to, requiring regular and consistent practice leading to a final recording.

6 At KS 3, Homework missed due to absence on the set date does not normally have to be completed. This will be minimised by the two week gap between lessons, and it is expected students will endeavour to catch up if they are absent. However, at KS4 the homework frequently forms an important part of the pupil’s preparation for lessons. In these cases the pupils are individually told to complete the work by a mutually agreed time.

Pupils taking Instrumental Lessons – Brass, Woodwind, Percussion, Keyboard, Singing and Guitar – will be expected to practice on a regular basis. It is appreciated that Peripatetic Teachers only see the students for a short lesson in which there may be up to 5 students. It is therefore up to the student to take responsibility to take note of the practice they need to do for the following lesson. Students will have access to an instrumental booklet which can used to monitor work rate /progress/ practise and can include weekly and termly target setting. Pupils will complete the sheet by noting down what they are expected to practice for their next lesson, how long they practice each night – if at all – , note what they found challenging or easy, and the form can be signed weekly by both parents and instrumental teacher. This is over and above the regular signing of the school journal, but the details are music specific and refer to a select number of pupils. If the booklet is not used, Peripatetic Teachers make verbal judgments on the amount of work completed between lessons, and at the end of the year give a general comment on an Instrumental Report.

Assessment and Recording Policy, including Targets and Rewards

Section 1 – Principles

1.         The purpose of assessment in the Music Department covers a number of aspects, based on the needs of the Music Curriculum and those of the Student. It reflects the Music Curriculum at both KS 3 & 4, and reinforces learning opportunities.

2.         Assessment is an integral part of the teaching and learning process in the Department, a valuable formative and summative tool, and provides essential information about the pupils’ experiences, performance and progress.  The analysis of these outcomes provides important evidence regarding the appropriateness of the learning involved, the suitability of the learning experiences provided, and the effectiveness of the teaching.  This information and analysis constitute a sound basis for making decisions about subsequent learning and teaching, and for reporting to parents.

3.         The outcomes of assessment can modify teaching methods, provide feedback on the Department’s interpretation of the National Curriculum and AQA GCSE syllabus, as well as indicate pupil progress.

4.         Assessment is aimed at developing a positive self image in pupil from positive and constructive feedback. A feeling of success can encourage further study, particularly when linked to the Departmental Rewards system.

5.         At present there is only one Curriculum Teacher in the Department, but a common framework for marking work and recording achievement is being implemented by the Peripatetic Instrumental/Vocal teaching staff; a system which is fully understood by all the team.

6.         Results of assessment are reported through the Music Assessment Record, which clearly sets out for Pupils, Teachers, Parents and other interested parties evidence of achievement and progress.

7.         Assessment gradually builds up a profile for each pupil over their time in the Music Department. At KS3, this is via the Music Assessment Record, and at KS4 GCSE pupils have individual documents recording achievement, progress, and routes for improvement.

8.         Pupils are aware of the evidence and assessment techniques being used and have ownership of their documentation. They regularly review their own progress via the Music Assessment Record (MAR) and at KS3 an element of self and peer assessment is built into each unit. At KS4, students make use of the AQA Marking schemes to appraise their own work, and where appropriate work of past pupils.

9.         Assessment is continuous and:

a)         provides  teacher judgements which are valid and reliable as far possible, and consistent both within School, and with N.C. standards;

b)         promotes an appropriate interpretation of the N.C. Level skills descriptors;

c)         gives teachers confidence in their professional judgement and skill;

d)         fair and objective to pupils.

10.       The Music Assessment Record:

a)         is based on and assesses pupils against N.C. criteria; – N.B. this is under review as we move from Levels to Grades.

b)         provides tracking information for each student;

c)         has been designed to be easily and effectively managed.

11.       The Music Assessment Record provides confidence between teachers – Curricular and Instrumental /Vocal –  across Key Stages and enhances progression for pupils.

12.       Recognition should be given by management for the time and resource implications of good assessment, and due allowance made for this in the construction of the teachers’ working day.


As assessments focus on what can be observed, then in general and as appropriate, Assessment in the Music Department focuses on:

  • Performances – solo, ensemble and improvised;
  • Compositions and self-evaluation leading to improvement;
  • Listening skills and understanding of notation.

    Performances and compositions are recorded in a variety of formats and retained in the department for use as evidence of progress, and used as good practice exemplar material for following year groups.


Section 2 – KS4

Pupils working towards AQA GCSE qualification. Once students begin to work on the main components – Composition, Performance and Listening – work will be marked using the AQA mark Scheme. See appendix 1.

During the first 9 months, the course covers Skill Building – particularly Theory and Compositional skills. These are graded and cumulative, with work marked twice a week and recorded in three ways:

    1. Progress chart, colour graded in a similar way to that at KS3 and accessed by all of the class.
    1. Comments written on Theory and Listening work.
    1. A growing profile on a Word document stored in Shared Documents, commenting on positive aspects, and providing advice to allow advancement and lead towards independent working.

These documents will be the pupils’ record of their own progress in all areas – Listening, Performance and Composition.

Once pupils are working on their individual compositions, comments will take the form of leading and Higher level questions. Questions – rather than direct advice – in line with the rubric set out by AQA for Controlled Assessments.


Formal Assessment – KS4

With regard to external examination courses, it is the responsibility of the subject teacher to assess Unit 3 Performances and Unit 4 Compositions in accordance with the criteria set out in the examination syllabuses. These are then Externally Moderated. Unit 2 Composition and Appraisal and the Unit 1 Listening paper are marked externally, but work towards completion / final paper is monitored within the department according to AQA Guidelines.

 As Head of Department, and at present the only KS4 teacher in the Department, I attend the various training sessions held by the AQA Examination Board.

During Year 11, an individual copy of the Candidate Record Form for Units 3 & 4 is kept in the Pupil Shared Document area in a personalised folder, to which only the Teacher and Student have access. Copies of recordings – Performances and Composition work in progress – are stored in Shared Documents, with a copy kept by the teacher on an external computer to insure against lost data and to provide a verifiable record of the students’ work.


Controlled Assessments – Composition work Unit 2 & 4 – 20% & 20%

A bank of exemplar compositions has been built up – kept in the department and accessed at appropriate times by examination groups.  Each pupil has a general guide line and prompt sheet to check his/her progress during the assignment.

Work is monitored weekly, and commented on within the framework set out by AQA. Comments will take the form of Questions to the pupil – hopefully focusing them on what they have produced, it’s relevance to the set work, and progression routes to improvement.

During the 20 or 25 hour task, the work will only be given a mark from the AQA Mark Scheme once a reasonable amount of time has passed – 50%  – and approaching the end of the set time to give students a guide as to progress in relation to their final submission.


The following skills are appropriate to a composition and are used for assessment of the completed piece of work. 

  • Clear demonstration of use of two or more Areas of Study
  • Unit 2 – A link to the set Strand – set annually by the examination board

    Compositions for Unit 2 & 4 are measured against the realisation of key elements with consideration of the following musical aspects:

  1. Imaginative use of sound
  2. Sense of musical balance
  3. Creation and development of musical ideas
  4. An understanding of the chosen medium
  5. Appropriate and idiomatic use of instruments, voices and other sounds
  6. Appropriate uses of musical elements, devices, techniques and conventions.

    Unit 2 also involves submission of an appraisal of the composition. Questions for this are set at the beginning of the course, and responses are repeatedly reviewed and improved up to the two hour allotted time for completing the questions under Formal Assessment conditions. Students can take all prepared work into this examination. 


Performance Skills = 40%

Two performances are required – a solo and an ensemble – each of equal weighting. These can be recorded at any point during the course, marked and commented on by the teacher, with feedback provided as soon as possible to both Student and Instrumental teacher, with a view to improving mark at the next recording – if appropriate. Target Grade – A and above – marks 24/30 and above encouraged and pupils can re-record to achieve their best mark. Marking is in line with the AQA specification. See appendix 1.


Listening Skills = 20%

These are based around five main Areas of Study – Rhythm & Metre; Harmony & Tonality; Texture & Melody; Timbre & Dynamics; and Structure & Form, with examples of music taken from three Strands – Western Classical Music; 20th & 21st C Popular Music, and World Music. Training questions are set and marked, leading to exemplar tests set by AQA moderators, and eventually past papers – all marked in line with AQA guidelines.


Section 3 – KS3 – This section is under review as we move from Levels to Grades

KS3 – starting point – National Curriculum for Music. No records for progress in music have been made available from Junior School, so all Yr 7 Pupils are given a preliminary Level of 2a.

Measures of Musical Ability – this is a test of innate musical ability, and is set at the beginning of the course. It cannot contribute to the overall KS 3 Levels, but does give an initial indication of natural ability, and will be the basis for encouraging students to apply for Instrumental or Vocal Tuition. It can also give a guideline for end of KS 3 Levels

Skills & Concepts are Assessed, and are set out in the SOW


Music Assessment Record

Ownership – lies primarily with the pupil – kept in their booklet.  Marks recorded on Music Assessment Record Sheets by teachers using the following marks: –



–   =   Unable to Perform/Compose/Listen with understanding/Evaluate objectively


/- = Experiencing difficulties


/  =  Reasonably good, but not totally successful work


/+  =  Very good work with just a few problems


 +     =  Excellent with very few mistakes, if any.


To gain a pass in any skill at any level, /+ or above must be gained. Each skill within a level can be covered in any year within KS3.


Targets –  each year students are set three targets at the start of the year. These targets are shown as highlights against individual skills within the appropriate ‘Year’ column. Targets are met once a tick plus or above is gained. Once a target has been met  – a fresh target is set.


Marking –  within each project a variety of skills will be assessed. These skills are clearly set out for pupils at the start of each project. A summary document – setting out Project Objectives and Learning Outcomes with possible levels to be achieved for each skill gained, and is included at the start of each project in both Pupil and Class booklets. See appendix 3. Assessment of the skills is continuous, with recordings made where appropriate.


Rewards – related to Achievement

Gaining a + automatically leads to a Merit. Merits are placed in pupil booklets – usually between lessons. This ensures pupils do not lose Merits, and therefore can see at a glance how well they are doing in Music. Regular opportunities will be given for pupils to make a record of ‘MyStickers’ serial numbers / codes in their journals.

Commendations are awarded for meeting targets. These are now recorded directly onto SIMS and students informed verbally. They can also see evidence on their MAR  – highlighted marks with appropriate marks are circled.


Self and Peer Assessment

Each topic has the opportunity for pupil self and peer assessment.  There is an opportunity for the pupil to reflect on performance, composition and improvisation skills, being objective about strengths and areas for improvement.


Monitoring Progress

Once a Level has been gained in any skills, and evidence provided, then marks cannot be taken away from the pupil. I.e. a pupil may excel at a particular skill in one project, but experience difficulty in a different project. The mark from the previous project will stand.  Once a Level is gained, pupils will be set a target in a higher level for that skill.

These information is use to provide information for reporting to parents.

Assessment in Music


Key Stage 3 – Pupils will be assess over a variety of skills – Listening, Performing, Creating and Evaluating. This is based on the National Curriculum Programme of Study:


  • Play and perform confidently in a range of solo and ensemble contexts using their voice, playing instruments musically, fluently and with accuracy and expression.
  • Improvise and compose; and extend and develop musical ideas by drawing on a range of musical structures, styles, genres and traditions.
  • Use staff and other relevant notations appropriately and accurately in a range of musical styles, genres and traditions.
  • Identify and use the inter-related dimensions of music expressively and with increasing sophistication, including use of tonalities, different types of scales and other musical devices.
  • Listen with increasing discrimination to a wide range of music from great composers and musicians.
  • Develop a deepening understanding of the music that they perform and to which they listen, and its history.

Relating to this, Students will be assessed in three areas:

Area 1 – Play and Perform confidently in a range of (a) Solo and (b) Ensemble contexts using my Voice, playing an Instrument Musically, Fluently and with Accuracy and Expression. As part of this I can use Staff and other relevant Notations appropriately and accurately in a range of Musical Styles, Genres and Traditions. At the same time I am developing a deepening understanding of the music I am performing and its’ History.

Area 2 – Improvise and Compose; Extend and Develop musical ideas by drawing on a range of Musical Structures, Styles, Genres and Traditions. Use the Interrelated Dimensions of music Expressively and with increasing Sophistication, including use of Tonalities, different types of Scales and other Musical Devices. . As part of this I can use Staff and other relevant Notations appropriately and accurately in a range of Musical Styles, Genres and Traditions.

Area 3 – Listen with increasing discrimination to a wide range of music form great composers and musicians. Identify the interrelated dimensions of music, including tonality, different types of scales and other musical devices. Develop a deepening understanding of the music listened to, and its history.

In addition, I feel it is important to develop the ability to evaluate their own work and that of other’s showing a development of the ability to be objective and constructively critical – knowing and understanding how to improve.

Area 4 – Mark your own and others’ work, commenting objectively, improving your work

The following sets out the assessments to be found in each project.






Year 7 – during Year 8, students will have a maximum of 20 lessons, one lesson per fortnight. They will have a total of three projects.







Skills to assess- in this order



When in the school





Baseline Assessment



Measuring innate Musical Ability and prior knowledge. Will inform a starting point against which to measure Levels of Progress.



During the first weeks of year 7





Night and Day



  • Performing Elements of Music
  • Composing using Elements of Music
  • Composing Morning Mood
  • Listening to Morning Music
  • Evaluating own and others’ compositions
  • Listening to Night Music
  • Performing Brahms’ Lullaby
  • Listening to Sounds and Elements of Music



Starting in the Autumn Term, with a break for Christmas Music, returning to the Project in the Spring term.



Christmas Music



  • Performing –Singing – in  and ensemble context as they prepare for the Christmas Concert
  • Listening to music relating to Christmas



End of the Christmas Term



As the Night and Day Project is drawing to a close, I will have a clearer idea of how pupils are progressing, how quickly they are working through the material, and then put together a further project – Based around Tonality and/or Rhythm.



Possible Projects


Major and Minor



  • Performing ‘Eastenders’ Theme
  • Composing – using tonality to change the ‘Eastenders’ Theme to suit the plot!
  • Listening a variety of music using Tonality as the main focus



Spring Term



Rhythm and Pulse



  • Composition –Pulse Piece
  • Evaluation –Pulse Piece
  • Numeracy link – Musical Maths – Note Values
  • Performance – Londond Underground
  • Composition – Underground Music
  • Listening  – to The Viennese Musical Clock



Summer Term




















Year 8 – during Year 8, students will have a maximum of 20 lessons, one lesson per fortnight. Projects planned cover 6 stages – each stage may take more than lesson, therefore I have planned 2 major projects for the year. As we work our way through these projects, I will be able to decide whether or not a third project is needed.







Skills to assess – in this order



When in the school





Jazz Improvisation



  • Performing 12 Bar Blues Bass Line, chords and Walking Bass line ‘In the Mood’.
  • Improvising using notes from the Blues Scale
  • Composing suitable lyrics for a Blues song, using an existing melody (assessing ability to work with metre within words)
  • Listening to 12Bar Blues


‘My Baby just cares for me’.


  • Evaluating own and others’ performances
  • Listening to and understanding Ragtime Music
  • Performing ‘The Entertainer’
  • Listening to music inspired by 12 Bar Blues.



During the Autumn Term, and possibly into the Spring Term






  • James Bond Performing Task (Leitmotif and Themes)
  • James Bond ‘Spectre’ Trailer Soundtrack Group Composing Task
  • Western Theme ‘The Good, The Bad and The Ugly’ Group Performing Task
  • ‘Horror Movie’ Soundtrack Group Composing Task
  • Film Music Listening assessment
  • Performing Famous Leitmotifs



Spring Term into the Summer Term



Rondo – a theme that keeps coming back



  • Performance – Rondo –solo and ensemble
  • Composing own Rondo
  • Evaluating Own and other’s compositions
  • Listening to Carillon



Summer Term













Key Stage 4 GCSE Music


Part of Course





Skills to assess



When in the school





AB Grade I Theory



Notational Knowledge



October Year 9/10



Compositional Skills



– Rhythm & Melody Building, Phrasing, Pentatonic Melodies, Unessential notes – Passing and Auxiliary, Sequences, Ternary Form, Chords and Cadences.



Continuous Assessment, concluding end of Autumn Term YR 9/10, leading to a prediction for GCSE






Performance of Solo piece – to establish a base level for Performance Skills



October Year 9/10






Rhythm and Metre


Texture and Melody


Harmony and Tonality



End Autumn Term yr 9/10– general test



Compositional Skills



Extending melodic ideas; Starting Harmony, Developing Accompaniment patterns; Texture exploration; Secondary Chords,



Continuous Assessment, concluding end of Spring Term YR 9/10, leading to a revised prediction for GCSE






Performance of Ensemble Piece – to measure improvement in Performance skills during one term.



July Year 9/10






Rhythm and Metre


Texture and Melody


Harmony and Tonality


Timbre and Dynamics


Structure & Form



End Summer Term yr 9/10– first full Mock Paper



Compositional Skills



Composition – Writing effectively for individual, and ensembles of, instruments; Setting words to Music. Coursework Composing  10% of total marks


Based on Area of Study :  2017 – Western Classical Music Continuously appraised  advice given. End of Summer Term – graded as per ‘If submitted now’



Yr 10 Summer – Half Term






Further recording of Solo and Ensemble pieces will be made, and marked before the end of term. Any pupil who falls below 50% will have a further opportunity to record during the next Half Term, as will those who feel they have improved further. Otherwise, this could complete 40% of the Course.



Christmas Term Yr 11






Listening and Appraising – First Half Term – Revision of Areas of Study –


    • Rhythm and Metre


    • Texture and Melody


    • Harmony and Tonality


    • Timbre and Dynamics


    • Structure & Form


Second Half Term – Prepare for end of term exam /mock, looking at all Areas of Study from within one piece from the Links to the Strand – Western Classical Tradition; Popular Music of the 20th and 21st Centuries, and World Music.



Christmas yr 11 – Mock Paper



Compositional Skills



Composition – continue Coursework Composing Unit 2- 10% of total marks


Based on Area of StudyWorld Music


Piece needs to be as complete as possible, using up to 16 hours of allotted 20 hours, two weeks before October Half Term. Start Unit 2 Appraisal 10% of total marks – preparation for written exam held in March, comprising six questions, responses can be planned and prepared in advance.


After Half term –  Start Coursework Composing Unit 4 – 20% of total marks. 25 hours of allocated Time – Informal Supervision, demonstrating Two Areas of Study. Time After school will be allocated to facilitate completion of work up to 10 hours of work by Christmas.



Christmas Term yr 11






Final recording of Solo and Ensemble pieces will be made week before or after Half term. Lessons supplied by school will cease at this point – students wishing to continue will have to pay for their lessons. This completes 40% of the Course.



Spring Term Yr 11






Listening and Appraising – Concentrating on weaker skills identified by Mock Exam. Reinforcing Areas of Study –


    • Rhythm and Metre


    • Texture and Melody


    • Harmony and Tonality


    • Timbre and Dynamics


    • Structure & Form


Through listening to music from each of the three Strand: Western Classical Tradition; Popular Music of the 20th and 21st Centuries, and World Music. Further Mock Papers sat during this period.



Spring Term Yr 11



Compositional Skills



Up to February Half Term – Complete up to 20 hours of Unit 4 Composition. After Half term, Return to Unit 2 – complete using 4 hours left, record and continue preparation for Unit 2 Appraisal up to date of Written paper – set by Department – in March 2014. Return to Unit 4 composition and complete up to 25 hours of allocated time, record. Composition work worth total 40% completed by Easter.



Spring term Yr 11






All aspects related to the Listening Paper – Musical Vocabulary, Theoretical Knowledge and Areas of Study


    • Rhythm and Metre


    • Texture and Melody


    • Harmony and Tonality


    • Timbre and Dynamics


    • Structure & Form


Studied in relation to the three Strands  –


Western Classical Tradition; Popular Music of the 20th and 21st Centuries, and World Music.  Work based around Past Papers.


External Paper to be sat end of May, beginning of June.



Summer Term Yr 11