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Music - Year 8

Mathematics - Year 7

Click here to return to our Music curriculum home page

Below you will find more specific information about the curriculum in Music for Year 8 students, explaining to you what students will learn, when, why and how. There is also information about how parents/carers are able to support students in their learning, extra-curricular opportunities in this subject and how it links to other subjects and the wider world.

Subject Key Concepts

                                   #1 Singing        

                                #2 Composing         

                               #3 Improvising 

                                #4 Performing      

                         #5 Critical Engagement

                               #6 Technology

           #7 Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural

Please click here for Subject Key Concepts.

Please click here for PDF 

Music Learning Journey

Curriculum Overview for the Year




Specific Knowledge

Specific Skills

Autumn 1


The Blues


·         History of the Blues

·         How Blues shaped modern jazz and popular music

·         Chords I, IV and V

·         The 12-bar blues

·         Blues singing styles

·         Improvisation in the Blues

·         The Blues scale

·         Blues lyrical structure

·         Typical Blues instruments

·         Swung and syncopated rhythms



·         Chords I, IV and V on the piano

·         Chords I, IV and V on the ukulele

·         Keyboard and Ukulele technique

·         Singing using an appropriate tone

·         Using improvisation in singing

·         Playing the Blues scale

·         Using the Blues scale to improvise

·         Extending the 12-bar Blues into your own performance

·         Keeping your part of the texture in a group performance of the Blues

Autumn 2



·         Cultural awareness of Samba

·         Names and roles of the Samba instruments

·         Syncopated rhythms

·         Calls and responses

·         Improvising rhythms

·         Pitched elements of Samba

·         Bass lines and chord patterns



·         Following cues from a Samba leader

·         Performing on Samba percussion instruments using correct technique

·         Learning and being able to perform complex syncopated rhythms

·         Learning melodic/chordal/bass aspects of the texture

·         Keeping your part of the texture in a class performance of Samba

Spring 1

Music and Technology


·         Understanding Logic Pro

·         Using pre-recorded loops

·         Recording audio

·         Selecting software instruments

·         Identifying different ways of getting sound into Logic

·         Identifying how technology has contributed to different styles of music throughout the 20th/21st centuries

·         Samples




·         Copying and looping material

·         Using the grid and metronome to keep music in time

·         Creating a musical collage from loops and samples

·         Introducing your own music using the MIDI keyboard

·         Creating longer pieces with effective structures

Spring 2



·         Conventions of different styles of music eg. Classical and Pop

·         Semitones and the layout of the keyboard

·         Major and Minor tonalities

·         How chords are built from a scale

·         Chord patterns

·         How melodies are composed from a scale

·         How chords and melodies work together

·         Atonal music




·         Identifying major and minor scales and chords

·         Working out the notes of scales and chords

·         Playing well-known keyboard melodies

·         Putting chords to melodies

·         Playing chord patterns to vary the texture

·         Composing own melodies with chords

Summer 1

Performing Popular Music


·         Conventions of different styles of music eg. Classical and Pop

·         The structure of pop songs

·         Common instruments and textures in pop songs

·         The use of chords I, IV, V and vi in pop songs

·         How the chords relate to other music (Blues, Classical etc) already covered.

·         How musical elements contribute to different pop styles




·         How to play chords I, IV, V and vi on the keyboards and ukulele

·         Learning musical material by ear

·         Singing and performing in a group

·         Group rehearsal skills

·         Performing to an audience

·         Reviewing own and peers’ performances

Summer 2

Music and Technology 2


·         Synthesisers and their development

·         Drum machines

·         MIDI and the MIDI keyboard

·         Creating tracks and choosing instruments

·         Recording past work (eg. 4 chord songs or the blues) on the keyboard

·         Using synthesisers to create textures



·         Re-recording missing parts of well-known songs

·         Selecting different synth textures

·         Using automation

·         Creating a Dance Music version of our 4-chord songs using synths, drum machines and loops

Useful documents:

Please click here for a PDF of curriculum overview.

While this information covers a broad range of areas, please do get in touch with the Subject Leader Mr Byers if you have any questions.

Please click on the questions below to find out more.

How are groups organised?

We organise our classes by mixed ability. The students have one lesson per week. They alternate working between our computer suite (K2) and our music classrooms (K1/3), swapping each half term.

What characteristics does a successful student have in this subject?

The most successful students in this subject will enjoy working practically and creatively. They will listen to a wide range of musical styles and be keen to work independently as well as in pairs and groups. They may also enjoy some or all of the following aspects of music making:

  • - creating music using our music software programme; Garageband
  • - playing an instrument
  • - singing
  • - writing and/or recording their own music

How will students learn at this level?

  • Practising
  1. Paired/group collaboration
  2. Listening tasks which help to embed vocabulary and key concepts
  3. Trial and error when experimenting with different musical ideas
  4. Peer and teacher constructive feedback tasks/discussion
  5. Observing your peers
  6. Watching practical demonstrations
  7. Use of the internet to research African music and PowerPoint/google slides/word to present findings
  8. Use of music software programmes

How will students’ learning be assessed at this level?

Continued monitoring of progress through informal observations and listening task results. Composition/performance work is recorded and assessed at the end of each project.

There is also a short end of year listening test based on the topics covered.

When do key assessments take place?

End of topic assessments each half term.

Listening test in June.

How can parents/carers support students’ learning?

  • Listen to a wide range of different types of music e.g. from different parts of the world, different decades, different styles. Perhaps listen together in the car or make use sites such as youtube.
  1. Discuss what you can hear e.g. instruments, mood
  2. If you have an instrument, give time and space for the student to experiment at home (peripatetic lessons are available if desired)
  3. Ask the student about their music work
  4. Download/purchase some music software (there are some free programmes available). NOTE: This is optional, not a requirement.

What equipment do students need for this subject?

Essential school equipment.

If the students play an instrument there will be lessons where they can use it as part of the classwork.

How does this subject link to other subjects?


What websites or resources may be helpful to support students’ learning?


What extra-curricular or enrichment opportunities are available for students in this subject at this level?


What sort of careers can this subject lead to?


What does student work look like in this subject at this level?


How does this subject support a broad and balanced curriculum, meeting the needs of all students, and developing traditional core skills?


How does this subject promote creativity, critical thinking, practice, perseverance and resilience, and making links?


How does this subject encourage enrichment and the development of cultural capital, deep learning, and inclusivity?