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Music Department

Subject Outline / Aim

“Music produces a kind of pleasure which human nature cannot do without.” – Confucius

Every significant event in every culture has music as a key part. It feeds the soul and the mind, improves mental health, slows heart rate, reduces stress, lessens anxiety, provides comfort, sharpens physical performance and improves cognition... and more.

And that is just listening.

Playing teaches independence, helps pupils develop organisational skills, self-control, problem solving and improves teamworking, resilience and self-belief.

At Holy Family, we take a hands-on approach to developing music knowledge and skills, with opportunities for pupils to play a range of instruments. Pupils develop music-reading skills, learning to interpret Graphic Scores, traditional Western Notation, TAB notation, Drum Notation and Chord Charts.

Pupils also learn the basics of music sequencing and watch and discuss videos of professional Musicians giving high quality ‘live’ performances; from Tiny Desk Concerts to BBC Radio 1 Live Lounge to the Berlin Philharmonic. Students will listen to and discuss a wide range of music - learning from some of the finest international performers.

The aim is that students enjoy playing, exploring, and creating, are not afraid of taking on challenges or making mistakes, and walk away with the confidence to work things out for themselves.


At KS3 pupils start to read, rehearse, and perform from their very first lesson in Year 7. The Spiral style curriculum is devised so that the knowledge and skills developed at a particular point in one academic year will be revisited and built upon at the same point the following year.

Topics Covered:

Y7 Curriculum

Y8 Curriculum

Y9 Curriculum


Homework tasks are mostly online activities and quizzes which help consolidate knowledge developed in class. We use music-specific website to provide fast, fun, and relevant homework tasks.

Learning Journey:

By the end of KS3, pupils will have played Guitar, Piano, Bass Guitar, Drums, Cajon, and Ukulele. They will have an idea of what their musical strengths are, and if choosing music as an option, they will feel confident choosing an instrument (or two in some cases) on which to focus their efforts for the next three years.


At KS4, learners work towards the RSL Level2 Certificate in Music Performance.

They choose an instrument (or two) on which to develop specific knowledge and skills over the course.

There are 3 Units over the course; ‘Instrumental Skills’ and ‘Live Music Performance’ which are covered in Y11, and ‘Music Knowledge Development’ which is covered in Y10.

Topics Covered:

  Y9 Y10 Y11
Autumn 1

(Practical ensemble/solo skills)



Notation - Indie Artist

Extend general musical literacy for TAB, Drums & staff notation. You  then choose an instrument to specialise on, & then choose a notation type, music & technical exercises which will challenge you.

A: Filmed Performance  and Q&A ‘interview’

Instrument Rehearsal Skills (204ta ‘mock’)

Instrument care/maintenance, safety, warm-ups, rehearsal planning and techniques. Target setting & organisation for the growing musician.

A: Filmed Performance  and presentation of instrumental safety/care/techniques

204ta Music Rehearsal Skills (part IT room)
Autumn 2

(Practical ensemble/solo skills)

Notation – Band Member

Improve literacy in TAB, Chord, Staff & Drum notation to build Band performances of hit-songs like ‘Blinding Lights’ & ‘ 7 years’.

A: Written Assessment on instrument knowledge to ‘graduate’ to Indie Artist

BBC Live Lounge

Create original and expressive cover versions. Apply and then break Musical rules and conventions. We watch & learn from the best International Artists.

A: Filmed Performance


204ta Music Rehearsal Skills (part IT room)
Spring 1

(Musical language & expression)

Music Journalist (201ta ‘mock’) - part IT room

Explore & research the roots, artists, styles & fashions within a chosen music genre. Write a magazine article or create a vlog to help others understand it better.

A:Filmed verbal/spoken/written Assessment

Wheel of Fortune

Experimenting with Musical Elements using ‘wheel of fortune’. Fun band skill development with challenging improvisatory elements across a range of musical styles.

A: Written Assessment – Song analysis

202ta Live Music Performance (part IT room)
Spring 2

(Rhythm & Tempo)

House Music Producer (part IT room)

How are chart hits recorded & produced? Use Ableton Sequencing Software to develop your own Beats, Basslines and Hooky House tunes.

A: Written Assessment

201ta Music Knowledge Development (IT room) 202ta Live Music Performance (part IT room)
Summer 1

(Melody & Harmony)

Musical Architect

Harmony & melody, structure and scales. We use Architecture (& Lego) to break down the use of lyrics, tonality, tempo & instrumentation in a range of genres.

A:Filmed verbal/spoken/written Assessment

201ta Music Knowledge Development (IT room)  
Summer 2



Create and Notate an original song/piece. Lead-sheets, Beats, Concerti or Suites. You write in the style that inspires you.

A: Filmed Performance  and Q&A ‘interview’

Live Music Performance (202ta ‘mock’)

Provide a personal statement, a production plan, set list, design lighting, image & logistics before rehearsing & delivering a live performance.

A: Filmed Performance plus presentation of planning elements


What are the main skills that I will develop?

Independence, confidence, organisation, and communication. The opportunity to work with others, collaborate, and be creative is a one of the best elements of this course, as is the freedom to choose your own objectives.

What does each Unit involve?

Unit 201ta Music Knowledge Development: Pupils choose two contrasting styles of music to research and discuss. They create a presentation or author an article which describes key features of each style, including the origins of the style, significant Artists and Producers and Fashion and Imagery associated with the style. The final part involves writing a track review of a chosen song or piece of music, discussing the lyrics, tonality, tempo, and production techniques. (4 credits)

Unit 204ta Instrumental Skills: Pupils create a video or powerpoint YouTube-style tutorial about their instrument, describing daily routines, maintenance, and health & safety. They go on to set 4-6 of their own objectives for the coming term & then create a Vlog/Practise diary to track and describe the process. They finish with a written or video/audio assessment of their progress, describing strengths and areas for future development. (8 credits)

Unit 202ta Live Music Performance: RSL provide a performance brief for a Music Event based upon a particular theme such as ‘conflict’, or ‘innovation’. The music students then respond to the brief, choosing and rehearsing appropriate material to present in a live performance. The students plan, organise, and then deliver the live performance in a venue of their choice. They carry out all logistical decisions with minimal teacher input, creating plans for staging, lighting, running order and sound. (8 credits)

The RSL qualification demonstrates a forward thinking & real-world approach to learning and assessment which is popular with learners, and well-suited to the working landscape of the 21st Century.

More information about RSL:

Subject Support Materials / Equipment

Quizzes, challenges and music used in lesson and for homework tasks:

Further information on related topics:


Weekly extra-curricular music clubs and a range peripatetic music lesson options enrich the standard curriculum, providing opportunities for pupils to engage with visiting music specialists, and to have fun making music with friends and staff.

Peripatetic lesson opportunities include:







Clubs for the forthcoming year include:

  • Glee Club: Singing and Dance with elements of Musical Theatre, performing songs from shows.
  • Rock Club: Bookable slots in Music Rehearsal space with PA


Pre-Covid trips include:

  • Annual Performing Arts overnight trip to London’s West End and Galleries
  • Glee Club London ‘Tour’ & various local performances
  • Trips to College Music Depts. Meeting staff/performing and recording


  • Annual Christmas singing events in Local Care Homes
  • Regular Liturgy performance opportunities
  • Service of Light performances/Carol Service
  • Musical Theatre Productions

What are the opportunities beyond school?

Local opportunities beyond KS4 are available at the following. Students in recent years have left Holy Family to Study at:

New College Pontefract:

York College:

Access Creative College at the Jam Factory – York:

What are the opportunities beyond College and University?