Key Stage 3

Music is taught through three areas of study at Northgate. These are listening, composing and performing.  Key Stage 3 projects include world music, such as African drumming and Samba, a variety of popular music styles, such as Reggae, Britpop and Rock n Roll, and projects based on advert and film music using music technology to name a few. There is a strong emphasis placed on the elements of music and creativity, and many of the half termly projects are approached through practical music making in small groups. This group work encourages pupils to demonstrate the Northgate values such as determination and teamwork.

Extra-curricular activities

  • Chamber Orchestra

  • Choir(s) / Vocal Groups

  • String Ensemble(s) including guitar

  • Jazz Band

  • Theory Club

Rehearsals take place either after school and finish at 4pm, or at lunchtimes.


Instrumental lessons

Instrumental lessons for most orchestral instruments, guitar, drumkit and piano are available.

A form to request tuition on orchestral instruments will be available on the New Intake Parents' Evening in June or from the school office on request. The completed forms should be returned to Mrs Rutter as soon as possible.

The cost of lessons will be £100 per term and queries regarding payment should be directed to the Finance Officer.

Instruments are available for loan through the County Music Service. To request an instrument, please complete the online form which can be found here:



A number of regular concerts are organised both inside and outside school. Additionally there are some concerts, showcasing the work done in music lessons across Key Stage 3 – Key Stage 5. The department also runs an annual Young Musician of the Year Competition which is open to pupils of all levels.


For more detailed information about what is studied each term in Years 7 to 9, please see the Parents’ Curriculum Guides in the Learning/Curriculum section of the school website.


Key Stage 4

What will students learn?

This course is divided into three units:

  • Performing
  • Composing
  • Listening

Each unit will be integrated into a programme of study looking at a variety of styles and genres of music. The course will be divided into four main areas of study incorporating these different styles and genres. The four areas are as follows:

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

In each area of study, students will undertake an in depth study of two set works (a total of eight set works over two years). They will also be required to complete some wider listening of other pieces of music in a similar style and apply their knowledge to more unfamiliar music.


How will students be taught?

Students will be taught via a mixture of whole-class teaching, written and listening work, practical music exercises and practical performance sessions. Use of computers and recording equipment are common practice in the music department.


How will students be assessed?

60% of the course is coursework and students will be internally assessed for these units by their teacher. These units will then be moderated by an external examiner. The written examination is externally assessed.

Performance coursework (30%):

Students will perform at least two pieces (one piece MUST be as part of an ensemble). The two pieces must have a combined duration of four minutes in total. The second piece can be either as a soloist or as part of an ensemble.

Composition Coursework

Students will submit two compositions in contrasting styles with a combined duration of at least three minutes.

Written Examination

Students will sit a 1¾-hours written paper with listening CD. There are two parts to the exam.

Part A contains listening questions based on the set works and some unfamiliar music in similar styles to set works.

Part B contains an essay comparison question based on one of the set works and an unfamiliar piece of music.


Examination Board & Course Type

Edexcel - GCSE


What can studying this subject lead to?

The course provides a good basis for study of Music at A level. It is advisable to boost knowledge with ABRSM Grade 5 theory if considering progressing to A level in the subject.


Revision Advice

A subject specific guide featuring key content, recommended resources and the specifications we cover in that particular subject can be downloaded below:



Teacher to contact for further information

Mrs C Rutter

Music Curriculum Overview