St Alban's Catholic High School


Department Aims

The study of music promotes; social co-operation, development of motor skills, confidence in performing and expressing ideas and an awareness of cultural traditions and idioms. Music is studied by all students during years 7, 8 and 9. Most lessons focus on practical skills and giving the students the opportunity to experience the feeling of being a ‘musician’. students gain and develop their skills in performing on a number of instruments, compositing using instruments and music technology, and listening and appraising.


Curriculum Content


Introduction to Music at St. Albans
Keyboard Basics
Dancing queen keyboard assessment
ACID Intro to ICT Project              
The Elements of Music
Exploring the elements
Group composition – Haunted House
Ostinato performance project
Pulse and Rhythm
Developing rhythm skills
African Drumming
Rhythm Grids composition
Rhythmic notation
Making Waves Project
Melody and Harmony - From Silence to Sound
Intro to Musical Instruments
Melody composition
Chords and chord styles
Be Inspired
What inspires pieces of music
Taking inspiration from photos, landscapes, and non-musical starting points

Introduction to Rock Instruments – drum kit and guitars.
Group Rock Performance project


Music from Around the World
World music overview and introduction
Samba – whole class percussion project
Gamelan – keyboard / Making Waves project
Indian Music – Performance project.      Stomp
Background  and development
Whole class practical tasks
Group rhythm work and composition tasks.
Music for TV / Adverts
Advert composition on ACID
Exploring music for TV   Vocal Techniques
Exploring the voice and its capabilities
Rapping, beat-boxing and acapella work
Ragtime / Keyboard skills
Developing your keyboard playing
Ragtime and Improvisation and Variations           
Remix / Riffs
Creating remix’s on ACID
Learning riffs in pop and rock genres
Riff composition


The Blues
Developing keyboard, guitar and vocal skills
Group performance work
Chasing Cars Performance Project
Developing keyboard, guitar and vocal skills
Group performance work           
Music for the Moving Image
Exploring the ideas and history of Film Music
Acid trailer composition project
Mission Impossible group performance project
Composing a TV theme tune
Performing music from film / TV              

Pop Music
Genres and history of Pop Music
Pop song structures
Remix and pop song comparisons
Lyrics and word-setting
Pop song composition project
Pop singer / group research project / power-point presentation          

10 & 11

Edexcel GCSE Music (9-1)

A two year course which can be taken as an option subject. The course content is as follows:


Unit 1 – Performing Music – 30%

This unit will allow you to demonstrate your skills as a performer – either on an instrument or voice. You will perform a solo piece of your choice and as part of an ensemble.


Unit 2 – Composing – 30%

This unit will build on the techniques of composing which you have worked on in KS3. You will compose 2 pieces of music to a set brief which will demonstrate your understanding of the chosen style. This work may be done on instruments or through the use of ICT.


Unit 3 – Listening and Appraising Music – 40%

8 set pieces of music are studied during years 10 and 11. The listening exam paper is 1hr 30mins and will play extracts of the pieces studied on CD. You will be asked to recognise and comment on instruments, structures and stylistic details you have learnt about each of the pieces. This unit will help to widen your enjoyment and understanding of the music you listen to and will help you develop your understanding of a range of musical styles, including Popular Music, World Music and Western Classical Music.

12 & 13

Edexcel A level music. A two-year linear A level course. The course content is as follows:


Unit 1 - Performing:

The 30% performing is from one performance of a minimum of 8 minutes. It can be solo and/or ensemble or a combination of both. The minimum expected standard is grade 6. This will be completed and recorded in the spring term of year 13. The performances are externally assessed.


Unit 2 - Composing:

The 30% composing is made up of 2 compositions One is a free choice (can be from a brief) and is a minimum of 4 minutes (out of 40 marks) During year 12 you will look at different compositional styles and techniques and start to gain ideas for your final piece. One is assessing a composing technique and is a minimum of 1 minute (out of 20 marks). You will be studying Bach Chorale 4-part harmony.



6 areas of study with 3 set works in each. Exam is 2 hours long and is out of 100 marks. The set works cover a huge variety of musical genres and styles including Vocal Music, Instrumental music, Film music, Popular music, Jazz and world music fusions.

The Department


Music is mostly taught in the main music classroom. This is equipped with keyboards, Computers with music software (Sibelius, Acid and Making Waves), and a variety of percussion instruments and guitars, We have a whole-class set of Ukuleles which are used for ensemble work throughout Key Stage 3. We have 3 practice rooms each with drum-kit, pianos and amps.

Instrumental Lessons
We currently offer instrumental lessons on Strings, Brass, Woodwind, Singing, Piano, Drum-kit and Guitar and Bass.Lessons are taken by visiting private tutors take place for 20 minutes each week. Most lessons are taught on an individual basis and during the timings of the normal school day. Lessons are charged at £70 for a 10-week block per term. Anyone wishing to receive lessons should fill out an application form, available from the Head of Music.

Extra Curricular

The school has a number of ensembles, including a string orchestra, Jazz band, Flute Choir, brass ensemble and choir. Other ensembles get together when there are suitable players and interests. There are regular concerts which give students the opportunity to perform. The school ensembles also perform at school and community events and regularly take part in the ‘Celebration of Schools Music’ at Snape Maltings. We also perform school musicals which have recently included ‘Grease’ and ‘Oliver’