Mr A Dutch - Assistant Head of Performing Arts:

Mrs G Smith - Teacher of Music -

Mrs H Brogden - Head of Performing Arts: 


Music is a fundamental building block of human society – it is pervasive in all walks of life, common to all societies and religions. It is important because it transcends the normal societal barriers; music truly is a universal language. Therefore, the aims of the Music Department at Maghull High are:

•Promote and foster a love and enjoyment of Music

•Encourage all students to achieve their best at all times

•To allow students to be able to place different styles and genres of Music within a wider social, historical and cultural context

•To develop skills as a performer across a range of instruments and styles

•To introduce students to a range of musical knowledge and subject specific vocabulary

•To have access to a broad and balanced musical curriculum that allows all students to succeed and enjoy their musical education, regardless of ability, gender, ethnic background etc. 

To enable these aims to be realised lessons should be firmly rooted in the practical demonstration and development of musical skills – a great music lesson can be characterised by the sustained application of practical musical skills resulting in high quality outcomes.  This application should be underpinned by the consistent use of key technical language, allowing students to form concreate links between an activity and the language used to describe it.  Finally, great practice is underpinned by a love of learning demonstrated and fostered by an enthusiastic teaching staff.  Staff should take every opportunity to model tasks in lesson, demonstrating their role as an expert and their mastery of the subject. 

The Music Department give students the opportunity to develop instrumental skills and understanding of a range of musical styles and genres. As well as classroom music lessons, we offer instrumental tuition for brass, woodwind, upper and lower strings, guitar and bass, drum kit and vocals, all taught by highly qualified peripatetic music teachers.  We also offer a wide range of extra-curricular activates, including a junior and senior choir, string group and wind ensemble.

What are the key concepts that have to be mastered for pupils to be successful in this subject?

1. Performing – Students at KS3 gain foundational skills in a number of instruments, including keyboards, guitar and a number of percussion instruments. Students are introduced to a number of different performance styles from a range of cultural backgrounds. These skills are further developed at KS4 and 5 

2. Composition – in KS3 students will develop basic composition skills, mainly working in groups or pairs.  Initially students compose through practical work, developing ideas on a range of instruments.  They are also introduced to music technology, including Garageband and Sibelius for the notation of music.  At KS4 and KS5 students are required to develop these skills further to produce a number of fully formed musical pieces.

3. Listening – Throughout all Key Stages students are encouraged to take part in active listening to music – not having music as a background noise, but as a focal point.  Students are encouraged to actively listen to a wide range of music at KS3, including a range of World Music, Musical Theatre and Film Music.  At KS4 students follow the Set Works prescribed by Edexcel which fall into 4 Areas of Study – Western Classical, Vocal Music, Music for Stage and Screen and Fusions.

4. Appraising – In conjunction with listening, students are encouraged to make judgments on different pieces.  Throughout all Key Stages students use the Element of Music to do this.  These elements described the building blocks of all music – melody, harmony, duration, pitch, rhythm, structure, tempo, instrumentation, dynamics and texture.  Throughout the Key Stages students develop the musical vocabulary associated with each element, enabling them to musically describe a piece more accurately.  This is assessed at KS4 through their written examination.

Key Stage 3

Year 7 

In year 7 students develop an understanding of the basic elements of music – they will explore these through solo, small group and whole class performances and compositions.  Throughout the year they will have the opportunity to study the music of other cultures, most notably through African Drumming.  Student will also develop instrumental skills, particularly on keyboard, and will be introduced to the conventions of standard western musical notation.

Year 8

In year 8 students build on skills developed in Year 7, but also put them into a wider musical context.  They will continue their study of rhythm in Stomp, develop keyboard and composition skills in Film Music, and be introduced to guitar, bass guitar and drums in the Reggae, which also contains links to the African Drumming topic from Year 7.  They will continue to use and develop standard notation, as well as being introduced to different styles of notation for specific instruments (tablature for guitar and bass guitar, for example)

Year 9

In year 9 students will continue to develop the musical strands they have followed through both year 7 and 8, as well as being introduced to topics and skills that will be covered in GCSE music.  Students develop their compositional understanding in the Songwriting unit, continue to develop their keyboard and guitar skills in the Blues and their rhythmic skills in Fusions, in which they also look at a set work from the GCSE syllabus. They also explore the music of Queen, another artist whose music is featured at GCSE. 

Scheme of Work Overview:

Year 7                          Autumn 1  Autumn 2  Spring 1  Spring 2  Summer 1  Summer 2

Year 8                          Autumn 1  Autumn 2  Spring 1  Spring 2  Summer 1  Summer 2

Year 9                          Autumn 1  Autumn 2  Spring 1  Spring 2  Summer 1  Summer 2 

Key Stage 4

At Key Stage 4 students can opt to study Edexcel GCSE music or BTEC First Award in Music (the course offered will change depending on the needs of the cohort).


In GCSE Music students study 8 set works that cover the following Areas of Study:

• Instrumental Music 1700 – 1820

• Vocal Music

• Music for Stage and Screen

• Fusions

Students will study these pieces in preparation for a written examination in the Summer of year 11.  Students will also study additional pieces in these areas of study, giving them a broader understanding of the genres of music.

In addition to this pupils will also be expected to create two pieces of their own that link to the musical styles studied on the course.  One of these compositions will be set to a brief released in the September of year 11.  They will also work towards two performances on an instrument of their choice to be performed in year 11 – one will be an individual solo performance and the other will be as part of a group.


In BTEC Music, students complete a number of Units across the 2 year course, including 2 compulsory units. These compulsory units are:

 • Unit 1: The Music Industry 

•  Unit 2: Managing a Music Product

Students then take an additional two optional units looking at either performance, composition, live sound, recording or sequencing.

All of the units are assessed via coursework completed in lessons, with the exception of Unit 1, which is a 1 hour examination sat in the first year of the course.

Scheme of Work Overview:                                       

Year 10    Performance         Autumn 1  Autumn 2  Spring 1  Spring 2  Summer 1  Summer 2

Year 10    Composition          Autumn 1  Autumn 2  Spring 1  Spring 2  Summer 1  Summer 2

Year 10    Listening               Autumn 1  Autumn 2  Spring 1  Spring 2  Summer 1  Summer 2

Year 11                               Autumn 1  Autumn 2  Spring 1  Spring 2  Summer 1  Summer 2

Post 16

In the 6th form we offer Edexcel A Level Music course.

The course, like GCSE music, is split into 3 key components:

Performing Music – a public performance, lasting a minimum of 8 minutes

Composing Music – two pieces of music written by the student during the course, lasting a minimum of 6 minutes in total

Appraising Music – a 2 hour written examination sat in the Summer of Year 13

For the exam, students will study music from a wider range of areas of studies, styles and traditions. These areas of study are:

• Vocal Music

• Instrumental Music

• Music for Film

• Popular Music and Jazz

• Fusions

• New Directions

Students will also have to apply the knowledge they have gained during the course to analysing unfamiliar pieces of music.

As shown above the course is a mix of coursework (composition and performance) and preparation for the written examination. Students will, therefore, undertake a mix of written assessments, presentations and performances on their instrument or voice across the course.

The A Level in music provides students with an opportunity to increase not only their practical performance skills but also their written and analytical ability in the subject. The course is there for excellent preparation for students wishing to pursue further study at either university or college, or who wish to go straight into a practical role in the music industry.

Scheme of Work Overview:

Year 12 Composition        Autumn 1  Autumn 2  Spring 1  Spring 2  Summer 1  Summer 2

Year 12 Listening             Autumn 1  Autumn 2  Spring 1  Spring 2  Summer 1  Summer 2

Cultural Capital

Music allows students to be introduced to “high art” that many would not otherwise be exposed to.  At KS3 students are introduced to a range of musical cultures and styles, many of which students will have no experience of.  This is particularly true of students from more deprived backgrounds who may have even more limited exposure to different musical styles and genres. 

The department has undertaken trips to a number of performance venues, including the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Hall and Empire Theatre to allow students to experience high quality musical performances first hand – for many students it was the first time they had seen a live orchestra and a number of students it represented their first live musical experience. However, these trips have so far been limited to predominantly KS4 Music students.  There is a tremendous opportunity for KS3 trips for students to experience music first hand – both the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic and Halle orchestras run concerts specifically aimed at introducing students to a wide array of musical styles and traditions.  The department has taken part in come and play events with both orchestras and has been represented by students in the an array of SKY Music Hub ensembles, the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Youth Orchestra, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Youth Choir and the National Youth Orchestra Inspire ensemble (a group formed as a feeder to the National Youth Orchestra, the countries premier youth ensemble).

The department runs a number of extracurricular musical activities, showcased in bi-annual school concerts, including a senior and junior choir and a string group.  Many other ensembles, such as Jazz bands and Folk groups have formed on an ad-hoc basis for concerts.  Students also form groups of their own, ranging from duets to fully formed band, supported in their rehearsal process by the department. Students regularly represent the school in external concerts, including an annual Christmas Tour by the school choir, taking part in a massed choir performance for the opening of Maghull North Station with students from both Deyes and Maricourt, and taking part at numerous battle of the band competitions. Theory sessions for GCSE and KS5 students and coursework catch-up sessions delivered based on students’ needs at particular points in the year.   In addition, the department supports the rehearsal process for the annual school show, working in conjunction with both the drama and dance departments to support the musical content of the production.

An Equitable Curriculum - Removing Barriers to Learning

Music is perhaps the most inclusive of all art forms – almost everybody enjoys music on some fundamental level.  It is also true that the delivery of music at KS2 is very variable from school to school, so we, therefore, can have a wide range of musical understanding and experience in one Year 7 class.  The curriculum is designed to be accessible for all – in Year 7 students are taught basic musical skills that form the basis of their learning throughout the Key Stage and beyond.  Individual music tuition is also available – students who are SEN or Disadvantaged are eligible for free or supplemented instrumental lessons from visiting instrumental tutors.  Teaching staff also work hard to ensure that there are no barriers to learning for students with physical disabilities or needs.  This can include adapting the learning aims and criteria of a lesson or scheme to fit with the needs of specific students.  


The Music Department runs a wide range of extra-curricular activities at lunchtime and after school.  These activities are aimed both at supporting students learning in the classroom, preparing for the bi-annual school concerts or any of the other performances activities that students undertake throughout the year.

For more information regarding the music curriculum please contact Mr A Dutch (Assistant Head of Performing Arts)

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