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Music: What’s it all about?

The musical experience at Orchard School follows a broad and diverse curriculum which is laid out in a ‘student learning’ journey. Students are introduced to the elements of music, and develop their knowledge and understanding through appraising, composing and performing in Years 7 and 8.

In Year 9 students can choose music as an option in Performing Arts. Gifted musicians can access individual tutors outside the curriculum and during enrichment time. At KS4 the students can choose to take Performing Arts, Music Technology NCFE Vcert or Music GCSE, which equips them with the skills and qualifications they need to embark on further study at college or university.

IN BRIEF: Music is the art of combining vocal or instrumental sounds (or both) to produce beauty of form, harmony, and expression of emotion.

Year Curriculum content summary
7 Elements of music: exploring the elements of music through appraising, composing and performing music.
Music notation and the Piano: developing skills for reading standard notation and performing from set pieces of piano sheet music.
Folk Music: understanding folk music and the oral tradition. Appraising and performing set pieces of folk music for guitar or piano.
8 African music: appraising and performing African drumming styles. Composing and notating group polyrhythmic textures.
The Blues: exploring the genre and history of Blues music and performing Blues piano from set pieces.
Dance music: appraising the main styles of dance music through the different periods of history. Composing a piece of Contemporary dance music using music technology software.
9 Unit 1: Developing skills for performance - independently action plan to improve on an instrument of the student's choice, developing skills for warming up and other rehearsal techniques. Performing an increasing repertoire to small audiences.


  • Giles Butcher, BA (Hons) Fine Art, PGCE Head of Department Music, Art and Design