Music at St Thomas More Catholic High School

Music is a universal language that is understood all over the world.  The aim of music lessons is to engage and inspire pupils to develop a love of music.  They are also supported in developing their talents as musicians, and so increase their self-confidence, creativity and sense of achievement.  As pupils progress, they will learn to sing, play various instruments, compose, and listen with discrimination to a wide variety of musical styles.


Music in Years 7 and 8

As pupils deepen and extend their own musical interests and skills in Key Stage 3 music, they perform and compose music in different styles with increasing understanding of musical devices, processes and contextual influences.

Your child will work individually and in groups of different sizes and become increasingly aware of the different roles and contributions of each member of the group. They will actively explore specific genres, styles and traditions of music from different times and cultures with increasing ability to discriminate, think critically and make connections between different areas of knowledge.

By the end of KS3, your child should be able to show that they understand musical devices, how music reflects time and place and different musical processes.

In Year 7 pupils will be introduced to Film Music.  The lessons enhance students’ understanding and appreciation of film music, recognising the musical cues used and the way musical and visual elements work together across a range of film genres.

In Year 8 pupils will be introduced to Music in adverts. The lessons promote consideration of how and why adverts including music are effective, so students can make more informed choices when listening to and viewing adverts in future, through understanding the musical cues exploited within adverts.


In Years 9-11 pupils follow the OCR GCSE specification.

Students will be introduced to performance, listening and appraisal, and composition within Conventions of Pop and Film Music.

Integrated Portfolio (30%) 

  • Performance on the learner's chosen instrument.
  • Composition to a brief set by the learner.
  • They will explore the skills and capabilities of their instrument and produce a performance to demonstrate their interpretation and technical control, and a composition written to a brief of their own to demonstrate their ability to develop musical ideas.
  • This is an internally assessed, externally moderated component.

Practical Component (30%)

  • Ensemble performance on any instrument and any genre.
  • Composition to a set brief.  A selection of briefs will be released in the September of the final year of the course, linked to the areas of study.
  • This is an internally assessed, externally moderated component.

Listening Exam (40%) 

  • Listening, appraisal and notation skills assessed in an examination at the end of the course.
  • This is externally assessed.


Area of Study 1 - My Music

Learners should study their instrument, which can be any of the following:

  • Any instrument.
  • Voice – this can include styles such as rapping or beatboxing DJ-ing.
  • Sequencing – realisation using ICT.


Area of Study 2 - The Concerto Through Time 

Learners should study The Concerto and its development from 1650 to 1910 through:

  • The Baroque Solo Concerto.
  • The Baroque Concerto Grosso.
  • The Classical Concerto.
  • The Romantic Concerto.


Area of Study 3 - Rhythms of the World 

Learners should study the traditional rhythmic roots from four geographical regions of the world: 

  • India and Punjab.
  • Eastern Mediterranean and The Middle East.
  • Africa.
  • Central and South America.


Area of Study 4 - Film Music 

Learners should study a range of music used for films including: 

  • Music that has been composed specifically for a film.
  • Music from the Western Classical tradition that has been used within a film.
  • Music that has been composed as a soundtrack for a video game.


Area of Study 5 - Conventions of Pop 

Learners should study a range of popular music from the 1950s to the present day, focussing on: 

  • Rock ‘n’ Roll of the 1950s and 1960s.
  • Rock Anthems of the 1970s and 1980s.
  • Pop Ballads of the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s.
  • Solo Artists from 1990 to the present day.


Revision Tips 

  • Know your “Language for Learning”: rhythm, metre, tempo, pitch, melody, mode/scale, timbre, instruments, dynamics, articulation, texture, chords and tonality. You also need to be familiar with the words to describe these things as well.
  • Listen to as wide a variety of musical styles as you can and find out about them, especially those linked to the Areas of Study. Listen to live music whenever you can.
  • Learn to recognise the sounds of as many relevant instruments and types of ensembles as you can.


Online Revision Resources
BBC Bitesize has specific sections for GCSE Music.
For help with general theory -
To improve your knowledge of instruments -


You can contact the Teacher of Music, Mrs Clelford here