Subject Information Overview

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Area Staff
Exam information for GCSE
qualifications in this Subject Area


Curriculum Area Staff

Heath Lanzillotti


Should you require more information about this subject area please contact:

Name: Mr H Lanzillotti
Position: Curriculum Area Leader


Curriculum Information

The aim of the music curriculum at Selby High is to enable every student to develop an understanding and an appreciation for music across a range of styles and genres and to develop the core skills and knowledge needed to progress further if they choose. Using vocal and instrumental skills, students will study areas such as World Music, Minimalism, Musical Elements, Piano, Ukulele, Jazz/Blues and Film music. By actively participating in performing, singing, composing, studying, listening and analysing, our students will become open-minded and well-rounded musicians.

The music curriculum at Selby high aims to:

  • Allow students to develop skills and confidence to play and perform music
  • Bring students into closer contact with music by performing solo and in small ensembles
  • Develop essential skills on instruments such as the piano and the guitar.
  • Listen and appraise music – to support themselves and others in developing their musical talents and confidence with performing
  • Compose, create and improvise – to demonstrate to students how to develop their listening, composing and performing skills
  • Learn about notation and the musical elements - understanding the language of music
  • Encourage every child to be a music reader- Instil a desire to ‘reach for the stars’ and achieve the highest possible standards
  • Offer a variety of opportunities for students to perform in school and in the local community, increasing the opportunity for students to be an active citizen in their local community through music.

Throughout Key Stage 3 students will learn about the essential elements of music by engaging in a wide range of musical activities. Students will sing regularly in lessons, building vocal confidence as they move from Year 7 to 9. Students will develop practical instrumental skills on keyboard and Ukulele and they will be showcasing their skills in various performances throughout the year further building their confidence. As the course progresses in Y8, students will delve deeper into the elements and show a higher level of control and understanding when discussing, analysing and performing music. In Y9, students will work on a curriculum which builds on their learning from year 7 and 8 but also prepares them for their further studies in music should they opt to continue. The Btec curriculum focuses on skills development, understanding musical styles and responding to a music brief. Although unique to the Btec music course, these skills are universal and apply to all levels of musicianship.




Below is a summary overview of the topics and their content that will be studied in each term by each year group. For more information about each topic, get your child to visit learning journeys and resources on the school online learning platform - Ready Steady Learn.

Year Group Term 1 Term 2 Term 3

A1: Elements of Music Part 1

  • Students learning about the ten essential musical elements:
  1. Dynamics
  2. Rhythm
  3. Structure
  4. Style
  5. Melody
  6. Instrumentation
  7. Tempo
  8. Texture
  9. Tonality
  10. Harmony

A2: Keyboard Skills

  • Students build practical skills on the piano; activities include:
  1. Scales
  2. Broken chords
  3. Reading notation
  4. Learning repertoire

Sp1: Guitar/Ukulele

  • Students develop practical skills on the Ukulele including:
  1. Reading from a chord chart
  2. Reading tablature
  3. Learning how to use a pick
  4. Learning how to strum in time to a metronome
  5. Learning how to perform a song in time to a backing

Sp2: Instruments of the Orchestra

  • Students learn about the four instrument families, about the conductor and about the makeup of the orchestra; activities include:
  1. Learning how to perform Spring, from Vivaldi’s four seasons
  2. Learning how to perform Britten’s Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra
  3. Learning how to play a range of themes from Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf

Sum 1: World Music 1

  • Students learn about music from various cultures around the world; activities include::
  1. Africa; students learn to perform a call & response vocally and rhythmically.
  2. Indonesia; students learn about Gamelan music and the culture that surrounds it.
  3. Brazil; students learn about Samba music and the culture of Brazil

Sum 2: Song writing

  • Students learn about chord progressions and the structure of a pop song; activities include:
  1. Learn to play a chord progression
  2. Learn how to compose appropriate lyrics
  3. Learn how to create a melody that fits with your lyrics.
Assessment details

A1: Listening & Performing Assessment

  1. Students listen to excerpts and identify key elements within the excerpt.

A2: Solo performance assessment

  1. Students perform a piece of keyboard music.

Sp1: Ensemble Performance Assessment

  1. Students perform a choice of song with an ensemble and/or as a solo.

Sp2: Performance & Written Assessment

  1. Students perform a piece of music on the keyboard using the appropriate instrument
  2. Students take a written assessment showing their knowledge of the orchestra.

Sum1: Written Assessment

  1. Students take a written assessment showing the key knowledge they have learned

Sum2: Comp/Perf Assessment

  1. Students are assessed on a song that they write and perform for the class.

A1: Elements of Music part 2

  • Students learning about the ten essential musical elements in greater depth:
  1. Dynamics
  2. Rhythm
  3. Structure
  4. Style
  5. Melody
  6. Instrumentation
  7. Tempo
  8. Texture
  9. Tonality
  10. Harmony


A2: Live Lounge / Cover Versions

  • Students learn about the musical elements and how to alter them; activities include:   
  1. perform a cover song of their choice
  2. Develop ensemble skills

Sp1: Film Music / Music Sequencing

  • Students learn about the history of film music, what makes an outstanding film score and about some famous film score composers; activities include:
  1. Performing the Jurassic Park score
  2. Performing the Harry Potter score


Sp2: American Music

  • Learning about the origins of American music and the two most important American genres; activities include:
  1. Blues music - learning about a range of famous blues musicians
  2. Learning about & performing the 12 bar blues
  3. Jazz music - learning about a range of famous jazz musicians and music
  4. Learning to perform the song ‘Take 5’ by Dave Brubeck.

Sum1: Electronic Music

  • Students learn about the developments in Electronic music from the 1970’s up to the modern day; activities include:
  1. Learning about synthesisers
  2. Learning about sequencers and drum machines
  3. Learning about a Digital Audio Workstation.
  4. Create your own remix of the song ‘Levels’ by Avicii


Sum2: World Music 2

  • Moving on from World Music I in Year 7, students learn about a range of other cultures; activities include:
  1. Music of the Caribbean
  2. Students learn to perform a Reggae song.
  3. Music of Latin America
  4. Students learn to perform a song by Carlos Santana
Assessment details

A1: Listening & Performing Assessment

  1. Students listen to excerpts and identify key elements within the excerpt.
  1. Students perform music showing awareness of the elements

A2: Performance Assessment

  1. Students perform a chosen song showing their ability to manipulate the musical elements

Sp1: Performing & Composing Assessment

  1. Students perform a famous film score (Jurassic Park) 
  2. Students complete a written assessment showing their knowledge of Film Music key terminology

Sp2: Performance Assessment

  1. Students perform a 12 bar blues structure
  2. Students perform the main theme from Take 5.

Sum1: Performance Assessment

  1. Students use their knowledge of electronic music by creating a remix of the Avicii song using a digital audio workstation.

Sum2: Performance & Written Assessment

  1. Students perform 3 Little Birds, by Bob Marley.
  2. Students perform Oye Como Va by Santana

Within Year 9 Performing Arts, students will gain experience of the skills and knowledge required for the BTEC courses at KS4. In term 1 students will learn about different styles and genres of music, drama and dance and create performance work inspired by different stimuli linked to Component 1 of the Btec specification.

Students will learn about different roles and their responsibilities that exist within the world of performing arts in the development of a performance piece such as the set, costume, choreographer, lighting and sound designers. Students will study and analyse the key features of musical theatre and create their own performance work based on repertoire and key themes of a given musical theatre piece. Students will have the responsibility to decide on which key role they play within the creation of their piece and must contribute effectively to its development in readiness for their final assessed performance.

Students will be given a creative assignment brief linked to the BTEC Tech Award Component 3. They will be challenged to develop their own ideas working successfully together in groups. Students will need to create their own performance pieces and justify their given choices to ensure that they are clear on the intention of their work. Students will present their ideas and perform their work to a selected audience.

Assessment details

Students will be assessed at the end of every term using an adapted version of the BTEC Tech assessment criteria.

Students will be assessed at the end of every term using an adapted version of the BTEC Tech assessment criteria.

Students will be assessed at the end of every term using an adapted version of the BTEC Tech assessment criteria.


A1: Exploring Music Products & Styles

A2: Exploring Music Products & Styles

Sp1: Exploring Music Products & Styles

Sp2: Music Skills Development

Su1: Music Skills Development Su2: Music Skills Development

Assessment details


Dec/Jan - 

  1. Learners will compile a portfolio of evidence that demonstrates their understanding of four different styles of music using musical examples related to a theme. 
  2. Learners will create three 30-60 second examples of ideas for music products related to a theme, using a range of realisation techniques.

May/June - 

  1. Learners will plan and create 2 musical outcomes in different musical areas in response to a theme that will develop professional and musical skills.

A1: Responding to a Music Brief

A2: Responding to a Music Brief

Sp1: Responding to a music brief.

Sp1: Responding to a music brief.

External Assessment / Synoptic

Assessment details



May/June -

Learners will respond to the brief either as a music creator and producer, or as a music creator and performers.  The brief will consist of a scenario that will include a list of ten pieces of music from a range of styles that the learners have covered in component 1.  They will be required to use one of these in their final product.




A Knowledge Rich Curriculum at Selby High School

Research around memory suggests that if knowledge is studied once and not revisited or revised, it is not stored in the long-term memory.  This means that after one lesson, or revising for one test, the knowledge will not be retained unless it is studied again.  It won’t be recalled unless it is revisited frequently, which will embed it in the long term memory.  In the long term this makes recall far easier.  As part of home learning, students should be revising what they have been taught recently but also content they were taught previously.  Therefore as part of our strategy to embed learning over time we have started to develop knowledge organisers across all year groups and curriculum areas. These will provide key content and knowledge  allowing students to pre-learn and re-learn, a vital part of processing all the information required to be successful in the new style GCSE’s.

Instructions for using your knowledge organisers

KS3 = Years 7, 8 & 9
KS4 = Years 10 & 11

Below are the knowledge organisers for each topic in this subject.  These knowledge organisers will become embedded in the Learning Journeys for each topic as they are created on Ready Steady Learn.

Year 7 


Year 8

Music Terminology
Music BTEC

Exam information for GSCE qualifications in this subject area

Click each link below to view the full specification:

BTEC Tech Award in Music Practice
Component 1: Exploring Music Products and Styles
Component 2: Music Skills Development
Component 3: Responding to a Commercial Brief