John Willmott School


Key Stage 3

Music is a universal language that embodies one of the highest forms of creativity. We aim to engage and inspire students to develop a love of music and their talent as musicians and so increase their self-confidence, creativity and sense of achievement.  Music is a subject that plays a vital role within school life both in lessons and extra-curricular opportunities.  We combine the importance of musical theoretical understanding with practical application ensuring that all students are able to pursue music into Sixth Form.

At Key Stage 3 we seek to improve and develop all students’ critical engagement with music, allowing them to perform, compose and listen to music of all cultures with discrimination and understanding.  The overarching emphasis in Years 7 and 8 follows the recommendations of the national curriculum for music which ensures that all students:

  • perform, listen to, review and evaluate music across a range of historical periods, genres, styles and traditions, including the works of the great composers and musicians
  • learn to sing and to use their voices to create and compose music on their own and with others, have the opportunity to learn a musical instrument, use technology appropriately and have the opportunity to progress to the next level of musical excellence
  • understand and explore how music is created, produced and communicated, including through the inter-related dimensions: pitch, duration, dynamics, tempo, timbre, texture, structure and appropriate musical notations.

Activities studied at Key Stage 3:

Year 7 - Wider opportunities Brass project (trumpet or trombone), Music Technology project, Keyboard project (encompassing both performance and composition) and a Guitar project (using both acoustic and electric guitars).

Year 8 - Exploring music from other cultures (Samba drumming project and Gamelan music – both performance and composition), Keyboard duet project (exploring composition and improvisation), advanced Music Technology project and further Guitar project (encompassing more ensemble performances).

Key Stage 4 - GCSE

As part of the GCSE Music (OCR) qualification, students are required to develop their ability in performing/realising and composing and to develop their listening and appraising skills.  Over the duration of the course 60% is assessed practically through coursework and 40% is assessed through two examinations, a practical response and a listening examination.

Practical lessons will cover performance skills and compositional techniques and listening preparation will include the study of topics such as: Bhangra, Disco, Waltz, African vocal, Jazz, Film music and music from the Western Classical tradition.

Key Stage 5 - A Level

At both Advanced Subsidiary Levels (AS) and A2, students experience all three main musical disciplines of performing, composing and listening and understanding.  Students will develop performance skills (solo and/or ensemble), compose music and learn about harmony (the basics at AS and stylistic studies at A2). They will build up their aural and analytical skills by studying selections from the New Anthology of Music (Edited by J. Winterson, Peters, 2000) and wider listening.  The course is assessed as 30% performance, 30% composition and 40% examination which covers aural and written analysis of set works.

Key Stage 4 GCSE Expressive Arts

As part of GCSE Expressive Arts, students develop an understanding of conventions and traditions that exist within and across art forms and societies and cultures.

This two unit specification requires students to develop their ability to acquire the skills and techniques related to their two chosen art forms.  The art forms offered are: Music, Drama, Moving Images (film), Original Writing, Visual Arts and Dance.  Students will carry out relevant research and investigation to realise creative intentions in the development of both supportive written work and a final practical performance.