venue hire

Townley Music Teaching & Learning Curriculum Music

Music is a unique form of communication that can change the way we feel, think and act. Music forms part of our identity and positive interaction with music developing competence as a learner and increase one’s self-esteem. Music brings together intellect and feeling and enables personal expression, reflection and emotional development. As an integral part of culture, past and present, music helps us understand ourselves and relate to others.

Through the study of music from diverse times and places, we aim to provide students of all musical abilities with the opportunity to develop their core musical skills of performing, composing and listening in an environment which is enjoyable and stimulating. Students are encouraged to nurture an understanding and respect for the way music works in all its various forms. They are required to work collaboratively as well as individually. They are challenged to rethink their perceptions and evaluate their preconceptions about music. They are taught to appraise their own work critically. It is our hope that the study of music will help the students to unlock hidden musical talents and gain a greater appreciation and lifelong love of the subject.


Course Progression

Key Stage 3 Music

Year 7

  • In the first term we cover basic theory including the names of the notes and rhythm (for gifted and talented pupils they are given more advanced theory), the orchestra and its instruments and we sing various songs to introduce the idea of practical music and developing vocal technique.
  • In the second term we look at African drumming to develop the idea of rhythm and diverse styles which includes ensemble work through creating a call and response rhythm composition.
  • In the third term pupils explore the music of the British Isles and learn about the keyboard to be able to play the Suffolk Morris with extension work on chords and accompaniment for the gifted and talented. There is also singing of folk songs which is of course an important skill.
  • In the fourth term pupils learn how to write a 2-part composition based on 3 bars of music using various techniques and written with notation. This is an excellent unit to develop many skills and for pupils to gain confidence in composition.
  • In the fifth term pupils explore a different form of notating/depicting music through graphic scores. Not only do they attempt to follow a graphic score to Beethoven’s ‘Egmont’ but they also create their own and perform it to the class. This is also the term where they have their year exam with revision.
  • In the sixth term pupils are involved with head girls’ day so we learn and perform some mass singing pieces. Also, this term pupils get the opportunity to be involved in a 2 day workshop of music from different cultures. Last year was a Samba workshop with art, music and dance classes with a concert at the end of it all.

Year 8

  • In the first term we study the Blues looking at chords and the 12 bar blues structure and pupils compose their own Blues songs learning various techniques to set words to music.
  • In the second term pupils learn how to sequence music using GarageBand software on the computers. They also begin to explore the Baroque period in music and sequence Pachelbel’s ‘Canon’.
  • In the third term pupils learn about the Classical period and Mozart and even how to conduct. The bulk of the term is in taken up by a composition task to write a Minuet which involves choosing chords and composing a melody to accompany them in the 3/4 time signature. The last lesson involves showing how the Minuet turned into the Waltz in the Romantic period including singing some popular Waltz tunes.
  • In the fourth term we explore different National Anthems and how the music is suitable for grand occasions. The pupils then create their own country and compose a National anthem for it to suit the place. They then make a flag, a dance and a national costume to go with their song and the best from each class goes through to a competition for their year group.
  • In the fifth term pupils look at how to create a ‘Sinister’ composition and consider the use of chromatics, the minor key and other techniques to make a piece sound sinister. This is also the term where they have their year exam with revision.
  • In the sixth term pupils learn about the Indonesian Gamelan and composing their own short piece using Glockenspiels, cymbals and drums to mimic a Gamelan and a chance to use the interactive Gamelan on the computers.

Year 9

  • In the first term pupils learn about variations and how to vary a theme using different techniques and listening to various recordings. They then compose their own variations piece based on ‘Frère Jacques’.
  • In the second term we look at the differences between sacred and secular and look at various Christmas carols and songs. Pupils then compose their own Christmas song/carols using their own or school instruments and two chosen pieces are played in assembly.
  • In the third term we learn about Pop music and students learn how to write songs and get to record them in our recording studio.
  • In the fourth term pupils learn how to edit and produce their pop songs on some of the latest music editing software.
  • In the fifth term pupils learn about Reggae and Salsa and do various listening exercises on these styles. Pupils also compose their own Reggae songs and learn to play and improvise different Salsa rhythms.
  • In the sixth term we look at how music is used in film to heighten the action and events. Pupils then go on to compose a score to go with a video clip paying specific attention to timings and suitable sounds and background music.
Key Stage 4 Music (GCSE)

Music is a highly respected subject in both the academic and working environments. This is because it is a broad subject and covers a whole range of skills such as aural perception, performing, self-discipline, composing, music appreciation and teamwork which are all highly desirable. If you are interested in studying Music or Music Technology at A level, GCSE music is a must.

Around 50 girls are currently taking GCSE Music at Townley. Students follow the Eduqas exam board syllabus which allows for considerable development of practical musicianship skills such as performance and composition. Pupils who opt for this course will already be learning at least one instrument or voice and should be prepared to continue their study throughout the duration of the course. In addition to the two practical components, the course also offers the chance to study a wide diversity of musical styles including World Music, Pop and Jazz, Musicals as well as Western Classical Music.

Assessment Structure

There are four main areas of Study:

  1. Instrumental Music (1700-1820)
  2. Vocal Music
  3. Music for Stage and Screen
  4. Fusions

There are three components that make up the specification (each with the respective weighting shown):

  1. Composing Coursework (30%)

    You will be required to submit two compositions or arrangements. Music Technology will undoubtedly be used to assist in the production of a quality score. 
  2. Performing Coursework (30%)

    The practical element consists of two prepared performances. One solo and one ensemble. This part of the exam will be assessed in school and moderated by an external examiner. 
  3. Listening and Appraising (40%)

    There is a listening and appraising test in response to short musical extracts, incorporating all four areas of study. All of these will involve looking at set works.
Key Stage 5 Music (A Level)

both Advanced Subsidiary Levels (AS) and A2, students experience all three main musical disciplines of performing, composing and listening and understanding.

Course Requirements

To take A Level Music you should have a minimum 6 in GCSE Music or above and a minimum performing standard of Grade 5 or equivalent on at least one instrument or voice. It should be noted that it will be difficult to achieve higher grades at A level if your performing level is below Grade 6 at the time of taking the examination.

Candidates will be required to attend an audition with the Director of Music.


You will develop performance skills (solo and/or ensemble), compose music and learn about harmony. You will build up aural and analytical skills by studying selections from the New Anthology of Music and wider listening.


The full GCE course (AS plus A2) is excellent preparation for higher education courses in music, but is equally valuable for non-specialists as a second or third area of study. The AS units alone can offer a broad and satisfying experience for those who want to conclude their musical studies at this point.

  • Performing (30%)
    You will be given the opportunity to perform as soloists and/or as part of an ensemble. Teachers and students can choose music in any style. Any instrument or voice is acceptable as part of a five-six minute assessed performance. Notated and improvised performances may be submitted.
  • Composition (30%)
    You must create a three-minute piece in response to a chosen brief from a selection of four pieces. You must also write a CD sleeve note to describe aspects of the final composition and explain how other pieces of music have influenced it.
  • Developing Musical Understanding (40%)
    Set works from the anthology provide the focus for the first two sections, through listening and studying scores. In the third section, students use a score to identify harmonic and tonal features and then apply this knowledge in the completion of a short and simple passage for four voices. Assessment is through a 2-hour examination paper set and marked by the examination board.

Extra-Curricular Music

The school offers a varied and high-quality program of extra-curricular activities. There are several large and small concerts each year for the many groups on offer as well as regular European tours. It is highly beneficial to be involved in active music-making and helps considerably with the course.

Extending your Music Technology Skills

In line with our Specialist School status, we offer wider opportunities for the development of Music Technology capability, in areas such as MIDI sequencing, recording and mixing and mastering. These aspects are incorporated within GCSE, preparing students well for the possibility of studying Music Technology at A Level.


Our Adventures
Good News!
Your child is eligible for entry at any of the below points...
Select an Entry Point