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Music - Year 8

Mathematics - Year 7

Click here to return to our Music curriculum overview

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.

While this information covers a broad range of areas, please do get in touch with the Subject Leader Mr Dolby 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

What are the key concepts students will study at this level?

  • Listening and Analysing
  • Understanding key features of different styles of music e.g. reggae
  • Musical vocabulary
  • Composing, developing and refining musical ideas
  • Confidence in performance
  • Using Garageband software

What will students learn at this level?

Due to the current pandemic we have had to make amendments in the way Music is taught this Term.  *Please see below:

*Autumn Term (2020)

  • What is Music?
  • Learn about the elements of Music through listening
  • Understanding graphic scores and their purpose
  • Learn about rhythm and tempo
  • Create a piece of minimalistic music
  • Learn how to read a write music
  • Create a piece of Music through clapping

 Key Elements

 Understanding The Elements of Music

  • Recognising different instruments
  • Reading pitch notation
  • Reading graphic scores


Riffs & Repetition

In K1/3:

  1. Investigating music based on riffs and ostinatos; listening tasks
  2. Keyboard performance work based on riffs; ‘7 Years’
  3. Group performance work based on riffs; ‘Uptown Funk’
  4. Developing an understanding of texture through combining different layers within an arrangement; melody, chords, bass line, rhythm
  5. Record and evaluating

In K2:

  1. Introduction to Garageband music software
  2. Using loops to create a ringtone
  3. Investigating how samples are used; listening and analysing tasks, links with producers e.g. Mark Ronson
  4. Composing using samples; gaining confidence with Garageband functions and using texture and dynamics to help shape a piece
  5. Using the ‘notepad’ function to self-assess and peer assess; discussion and reflection time


Samba K1/3:

  1. Investigating the key features of samba music and carnival
  2. Learning names of samba instruments and other key vocabulary
  3. Performing class and group samba music
  4. Creating own samba pieces based on rhythmic patterns
  5. Recording and evaluating

Chords K2:

  1. Understanding how chords are constructed and used
  2. Recognising major/minor chords, chord changes and the importance of chords I, IV and V in listening tasks
  3. Recording and using chords on Garageband; sequencing task based on Coldplay’s ‘Clocks’
  4. Option to compose own piece based on a chord sequence


African Music K1/3

  1. Investigating the key features of African music
  2. Developing a wider understanding of the scale of the African continent and the diverse types of music within it
  3. Performing class and group djembe drumming patterns
  4. Creating group pieces based on repeating patterns and solo improvisations; recognising the importance of the role of Master Drummer
  5. African call and response songs and ‘Wimoweh’ performance task
  6. Recording and evaluating

 Reggae K2

  1. Investigating the key features of reggae music, including the importance of off-beat emphasis and strong bass line; listening tasks
  2. Developing a wider understanding of reggae music and its context; research and presentation activities
  3. ‘Buffalo Soldier’ sequencing task on Garageband
  4. Option to compose own reggae song

What skills will students develop at this level?

  • Practical musical skills; performance and composition
  1. Listening skills
  2. Analytical and evaluative skills
  3. Teamwork and co-operation
  4. Communication skills
  5. Technical knowledge and skills; music notation and vocabulary
  6. Music technology/recording skills
  7. A wider understanding of the world; music from Jamaica, Africa and Brazil

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?