What Is Music?

Studying music gives pupils the opportunity to develop their creative thinking; an essential skill for working in any industry, especially science and technology.  The creative arts sector is thriving in the UK with over 1.8million jobs currently available.  It consists of many career paths including technicians, designers, editors, managers and of course performers themselves.  


During key stage 3 pupils will develop their skills within the three core areas of performing, composing and appraising.  They will discover music from around the world as well as from Wales.  They will explore music from different centuries as well as gaining an in depth knowledge of current trends and the music industry.  Pupils will be taught to record and evaluate their own work along with basic editing techniques.


Performing - Over the three years pupils will have opportunity to perform on classroom percussion, ukuleles, keyboards, guitars and drums.  Pupils will also develop their vocal skills through singing, rapping and beat boxing.


Composition - Pupils will initially explore creating their own music within groups before progressing onto paired and individual composition, also utilising the departments music technology.


Appraising - A wide range of music from all genres and time periods will be used to deepen pupils understanding of the world of music and assist them with developing both their performing and composition skills.  

At Key Stage 3:

Year 7:

1. We will start by exploring the musical elements through the Indonesian style of Gamelan.  After studying real life performances pupils will use classroom percussion to both perform and compose their own versions.  Pupils will also develop their singing in multiple parts.

2. The orchestra will be investigated in term two with pupils learning about the different instruments and how they are used.  They will perform a piece from Carnival of the Animals and listen to music from the Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra.

3. In the third term we will look at some traditional music from Wales with the piece Migldi Magldi.  Pupils will get to compare different versions of the piece including contemporary recordings before singing and performing their own version from a class score.  

4. Music of Wales continues in term four with the piece Dacw Mam Yn Dwad.  Again both traditional and pop versions will be compared before pupils split into groups, this time learning to perform on the Ukuleles. 

5. The final main topic for the year will see pupils learning basic keyboard skills including playing chords and melodies together.  Pupils will compose a piece on keyboard using a drone and melody, either in pairs or on their own.  After this pupils will choose their final performance piece to be on keyboard, ukulele or voice.


Year 8:

1. We start a journey through time in the Medieval period, listening to how early harmony developed into modern day pop.  Pupils will record a class performance of Wonderwall in a ‘Gregorian Chant’ style before trying out their new understanding of intervals.

2.  Continue to the Baroque period, we will be comparing multiple versions of Pachelbel’s Canon.  Pupils will use this knowledge to create their own ‘remix’ of a ground bass piece using music technology.  

3.  The Classical period is next and pupils will complete both a solo/duet and ensemble performance of two of Beethoven’s works: the first movement from his 5th Symphony and the final movement of his 9th (Ode to Joy).  Pupils can choose their instruments and create their own style for their performances.

4.  Moving on to the Romantic period we will discover Wagner and how he created music for stage.  Pupils will work together in groups to create the score for a storyline played and by the whole class.

5.  We land in the early 20th Century with some Impressionist music in the form of the Planets Suite by Holst.  Pupils will have the opportunity for both composing and performing in this style to create big, bold sounds.

6.  The year will be finished with some experimental work utilising the departments music technology.


Year 9:

1. Starting with a bang we will be watching and listening to the group ‘Stomp’ creating music with every day items.  Pupils will be tasked in creating their own work to be filmed and used to inspire younger pupils.  

2.  Pupils will start to build their band skills through the study of blues music where they will use their chosen instruments to improvise and perform within the 12-bar blues structure.

3.  A quick spin through Rock n Roll will give pupils the skills to perform in small band groupings with guitar, keyboards, drums and voice.  They will be able to follow lead sheets and record their own performances.

4.  For the remainder of the year pupils will explore a variety of popular music, performing and composing their own work and exploring what it takes to work within the music industry.



Self- and peer-assessment are strongly encouraged within the department to develop independent learners who are proud of their own work.  The ladders to success are used for pupils to track their own progress and pupils will help to create their own, challenging success criteria.  At all stages the pupils will be fully involved with their own learning and make their own decisions about how to achieve the next steps, under the guidance of supportive and encouraging staff.  Each term will include a more formal assessment of performing, composing and appraising skills but every time a pupils achieves a new skill it will be acknowledged, regardless of activity being undertaken. 

At Key Stage 4:

Following a course in GCSE Music should encourage candidates to:


  • Actively engage in the process of music study in order to develop as effective and independent learners and as critical and reflective thinkers with enquiring minds.

  • Develop their own musical interests and skills including the ability to make music individually and in groups.

  • Evaluate their own and others' music.

  • Understand and appreciate a range of different kinds of music.


During the course pupils will be developing and exploring their performing, composing and listening skills through four main areas of study:


AoS 1: Music in Wales

AoS 2: Music for Stage and Screen

AoS 3: Music Evolution

AoS 4: Musical Forms and Devices


Students will also build on their music technology experiences at KS3 to enable them to produce professional quality compositions. It is hoped that all music students will be actively involved in the extra-curricular life of the department to help develop their musical skills. 


GCSE Music will be assessed via controlled and external assessment. Performing and composing will be assessed through controlled assessment, with listening and appraising assessed through external assessment. The performing exam (30%) will consist of a solo and ensemble performance, composition (30%) will require two pieces to be completed over the two years and listening (40%) is an exam at the end of the course. 
Homework will be set regularly to support work in class, including written, practical and technology tasks.

Outside Lesson-time:

Ukulele group

Year 7 music club

KS4 theory and composing workshops

Call Us:

(01656) 740294

Cynffig Comprehensive School, East Avenue, Kenfig Hill, Bridgend, CF33 6NP

Fax Us:

(01656) 747940


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