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Music Curriculum

Year 7 Music

The Year 7 Music course is designed to introduce students to music at a rudimentary level, focussing on how sound is produced, how music is used in different situations and basic notation. This builds the foundation for the rest of their music studies at St Helena. The assessment tasks are aimed towards providing students with a number of different methods to demonstrate their understanding of the concepts covered in each unit of work.

Introduction to Basic Elements of Music

This unit is aimed at providing a basic understanding and awareness of the four fundamental elements of music – pitch, rhythm, timbre and dynamics. Students complete a short soundscape utilising verbal, graphic or traditional notation. They perform/record their compositions. Assessed skills are the use of creative ideas, contribution to group work and effective presentation.

Programme Music

Students are introduced to music that tells a story or paints a picture, ie traditional programme music. They then relate this to the music that they hear in movies, television themes and commercials. The assessment tasks range from an investigation, to composing an advertising jingle Assessed skills are the creative development of ideas, contribution to group work, originality of ideas and effective presentation.

Listening Diary

Students complete a project based on a performer/group of their choice. They design a research poster and orally present the project. Assessed skills are the depth of research clarity of oral presentation and creativity of the poster.

Year 8 Music

Throughout year 8 students increase their awareness and understanding of music theory, instruments and the role of music in entertainment. They use practical application to reinforce the theory knowledge that they have gained.

Pitch and Rhythm

Students continue to develop their knowledge of music theory, concentrating on pitch and rhythm. They also practice and perform selected music on glockenspiels. Students complete a written music theory test based on pitch and rhythm and complete a practical performance test. Assessed skills are the understanding of treble clef, rhythm notation, keyboards and accidentals.


This study consists of the students gaining an insight into the instruments that make up the orchestra, contemporary instruments and how they produce different sounds and timbres. Students complete a timeline/quiz/instrument design and construction/oral presentation or performance of a musical instrument of their choice. Assessed skills are the depth of research, description of the instruments development, originality and presentation.

Musical Theatre

The students will acquire an appreciation of musical theatre through the study of a variety of excerpts from musicals. They explore how music is used to tell and complement a story, and how the music used relates to the characters and plot. Students complete a written assignment based on the musical ‘Little Shop of Horrors’. Assessed skills are accuracy of information and an understanding of musical elements – songs, characters, plot, scenes and overall production.

Year 9 Music

At year 9, cross curriculum links with English and Humanities subjects are formed, allowing students to form a greater understanding of the role music plays in the development of sub-cultures in western society.

Protest Music

This unit is aimed at providing an understanding of the use of music to present an issue. Students develop an appreciation of protest music through listening activities, discussion and analysis of lyrics. They also discuss issues that specific protest songs are written about, providing cross-curriculum links with English and Humanities studies. Students select a piece of protest music, analyse the lyrics and research the issues behind the topic of protest. Their findings are presented to the class in a short oral presentation. Assessed skills are the depth of research, analysis of lyrics, critical response, quality of presentation and coherence of ideas.

History of Rock ‘n’ Roll

The students, through a variety of activities will be able to demonstrate an appreciation of the many forms of rock music, from its early days through to the present. Students complete a timeline/assignment/game/performance/oral presentation focussing on one particular style of rock music, tracing its development and main groups/artists. Students are encouraged to think ‘outside the square’ regarding their assessment for this task, as there is a large scope to incorporate different presentation styles. Assessed skills are accuracy of information, understanding of historical ,development, knowledge of the style and works of groups/performers and their sicio-cultural influences.

Year 10 Music

At year 10 students are able to choose music as an elective subject. They have a choice of Music Technology and Music Performance, each running for one semester (five periods per week). Students delve deeper into the meaning and mechanics of music to enhance their own creations and performances.

Year 10 Music Performance

Performance Skill Development

This unit is aimed at developing and improving the students’ performance skills. This may be individually or as part of a group. Students [prepare and rehearse a piece of music for solo or group performance and present it in an informal concert. Assessed skills are technical accuracy, quality of phrasing, contracts, tone, understnaind of overall structure, musical impact and presentation.

The Great Composers

Students will acquire an appreciation of a variety of famous composers through an investigation and research of their works and lifestyles. Students choose to complete a research assignment/group or solo performance/oral presentation/or video interview based on a selected composer. Assessed skills are accuracy of information, depth of research, understanding of the stylistic characteristics of he composer and presentation.

Music Theory

This unit is aimed at developing and improving the students’ aural comprehension and music theory skills. Students undertake an aural and theory test focussing on intervals, chords, styles, chord progressions, rhythms and melodies. Assessed skills are the ability to recognise intervals, chords, chord progressions, rhythms and melodies.

Year 10 Music Technology

Website Review

This unit of work is designed for students to explore the types of music technology that is available for consumer use. They discuss the accuracy, scope, authority and aesthetic appeal of each website and in the process more fully understanding the products that are being presented (sold). Assessed skills are referencing, clarity of expression, supporting argument for an opinion and presentation.

Midi Composition/Arrangement

Students learn to use an elementary music notation program through composition and arrangement. They explore different composition techniques and gain experience in and appreciation for the composition process, which is documented in a short written report. Assessed skills are the creative development of ideas, originality or ideas and techniques, appropriate use of technology and quality of written expression.


Either by creating a soundtrack to a pre-recorded video or recording live musicians, students gain experience in sound production, manipulation and mastering. Computer software is used to complete all of the production elements. Students are able to use pre-written music loops, sound effects or to record live instruments. They document the process in the form of a logbook. Assessed skills are originality and development of musical ideas and use of musical techniques, use of the available technology and written expression.

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