[email protected]       0151 527 3955

[email protected]       0151 527 3955



Assistant Head of Performing Arts – Mr A Dutch
Teacher of Music – Mrs G Smith
Head of Performing Arts – Mrs H Brogden


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?

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 

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.

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.

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. 

Key Stage 4

At Key Stage 4 students can opt to study Edexcel GCSE music.

At 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.

Scheme of Work Overview
Post 16 Summary

Post 16

In the 6th form we offer the both the Edexcel A Level Music and  BTEC Level 3 Extended Certificate in Music Performance courses.

Edexcel A Level Music

Area Of Study

Set Works

Vocal Music

·       J. S. Bach – Cantata, Ein feste Burg 

·       Vaughan Williams – On Wenlock Edge

Instrumental Music

·       C. Schumann – Piano Trio in G Minor, Op.17

·       Berlioz – Symphonie Fantastique

Music for Film

·       Bernard Herrmann – Psycho 

·       Danny Elfman – Batman Returns

Popular Music and Jazz

·       Beatles – Revolver

·       Courtney Pine – Back in the Day

·       Kate Bush – Hounds of Love


·       Debussy – ‘Estampes’

·       Anouska Shankar – Breathing Under Water

New Directions

·       Kaija Saariaho – Petals for Violoncello and Live Electronics

·       Stravinsky – The Rite of Spring

At A Level music students study 8 set works that cover the following pieces and Areas of Study:

Students sit a 2 hour 10 minute written examination to test their knowledge and understanding of these set works, which is sat in the summer of Year 13.

Additionally students complete work in both composition and performance, including a 12 minute recital completed in Year 13.

The full GCE course (AS plus A2) is excellent preparation students considering studying Music at University or College, but is equally valuable for students with an interest in Music who want additional A Levels. Past students have gone on to study at colleges such as the Royal Northern College or Music (RNCM) or Arden School of Performing arts.

BTEC Level 3 Music Performance

On this course students will study the following compulsory units:

  • Practical Music Theory and Harmony
  • Professional Practice in the Music Industry
  • Ensemble Music Performance

In addition they will also study one optional unit from the following:

  • Composing Music
  • Music Performance Session Styles
  • Solo Performance
  • Improvising Music

The majority of the work that students complete is coursework; a mix of written assessment and presentations and performances on their chosen instrument or voice.  Unit 2 (Professional Practice in the Music Industry) is assessed via a controlled conditions task set by the exam board in January or July.

The BTEC is vocational qualification, meaning that it is designed to give students the best possible preparation for a career in the music industry after completion of the qualification.  It is also excellent preparation for students wishing to pursue further study at either University or College.


The Music Department run 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.