Head of Performing Arts

Mrs V Crowe


Subject teachers

Mr D Heard


Curriculum maps - please click on the links below:

Year 7

Year 8

Year 9

Year 10

Year 11


Curriculum overview

The National Curriculum for Music at Key Stage 3 concentrates mainly on developing students’ natural ability through Performing, Composing, Listening and Appraising.  A great deal of importance is placed on performance during the lessons, both vocally and instrumentally, and this takes the form of developing rhythmic co-ordination, pitch sense and vocal capability through a varied range of music.


The National Curriculum emphasises the need to develop the students’ potential by focusing on what they can achieve rather than diverting them with areas where they may struggle.  This leads to a more confident approach that ultimately creates a more well-rounded musician and this is certainly our ethos here at Fernhill.


The three year Music curriculum at Fernhill will give students an excellent platform to develop their performance, composition and listening skills should they wish to opt for GCSE Music at Key Stage 4.


Key Stage 3

Music is celebrated at Fernhill with great enthusiasm and the curriculum is designed to engage and inspire students by introducing them to a range of topics and skills.  By listening to a wide range of musical styles, students learn about the context and history of music, and use the understanding they have gained to develop their performance and composition work.

When students join us in Year 7 they are introduced to music through Elements of Music 'workshop' style lessons before they look at the topics of Rhythm and Pitch, Keyboard Skills, Chinese Music and African Drumming.

In Year 8 students are introduced to chords on the Ukulele which has been very successful and popular addition to KS3 Music.  They then go on to study the 4 Chord Song through chord playing and group work, the Blues, Reggae and Popular music.  


During Year 9 students look at Rock and Roll, Ballads, Classical Music, Band and Solo Performances, Musicals and Film Music.  Towards the end of the year students have the opportunity to choose an instrument to specialise in and they will develop both their skills as they work on a piece of their own choice; this has led to some excellent engagement and very impressive progress for many students.   


How Key Stage 3 work is marked

In each topic, students are introduced to Performing, Composing and Listening skills.  Depending on the topic, units of work may be assessed formally or informally. Students’ practical work, both during and at the end of topics, is recorded on IPads so that progression across the year and across the key-stage can be evidenced.


Key Stage 4

GCSE Music students follow the OCR syllabus, which builds on the on the skills of Performing, Composing and Listening from Key Stage 3. 


The listening exam is worth 40% of the students’ final grade and is completed at the end of the course; this area is an important focus in both Year 10 and Year 11 lessons and for homework, and this theory will also feed into the practical work that they complete.


Students complete two compositions, one in Year 10 and one in Year 11.  The first composition is a free-choice task and can be written for any instrument(s) and in any style.  The second composition is based on a chosen stimulus set by the exam board.  Both of the compositions have to, in total, come to a minimum of 3 minutes.  Students will often have to book in for compulsory help sessions to give support in developing their ideas.


The final area of focus is on performance work.  Students have to record solo and ensemble pieces that have to last a minimum of 4 minutes, with the ensemble performance having to last for at least one minute.  This means that students performing shorter pieces will be required to record several in order to reach the 4 minute minimum requirement.


Students are expected to have an instrument at home to practise on as they must be continually working on performances and composition.  Students are expected to practise at least four times a week for a period of thirty minutes each practice session; this practise is required for both singers and instrumentalists.  Students that do not have guitars or keyboards at home should be making use of the practice rooms and equipment at lunch times and after school; there are also times that instruments can be lent and we will always try to help as much as we can.  We strongly encourage students to have instrumental or vocal lessons either in or outside of school to really help them flourish and to assist them to prepare for their solo and ensemble performances.  All students will receive a letter at the start of the course about instrumental/vocal lessons that take place in school.


Supporting students at home

At home, GCSE students should revise carefully for the listening exam and should always be looking for opportunities to develop their listening skills.  Even if they do not have a formal piece of homework they are encouraged to expand their listening and we recommend using YouTube.  Links to specific pieces can be provided. Students should also be practising for their performances, both solo and ensemble pieces.  Time should also be spent developing composition ideas which will help when it comes to the Controlled Assessment.


As always, the Music department would like to thank parents for their continued support.  If you have any questions regarding homework or any other Music matter please do not hesitate to contact the school.


Instrumental Lessons

Instrumental Timetable - available to view outside M Block for students.


We are able to offer a wide range of instrumental lessons at Fernhill and this tuition is provided by teachers on a weekly basis.  They deliver lessons during school hours and student times are rotated so that curriculum lessons are affected as little as possible.  If a student has a particular request about the timing of their lessons we will always try to accommodate this.


If you would like a letter about instrumental/vocal lessons or would like to request a particular time for these lessons please speak to Mrs Crowe.


Extra-curricular opportunities in Music Department

The Music Department has set up a small ukulele club which is open to students in all years.  We hope to organise a karaoke club in the future and we also encourage students to use the practice rooms at lunchtimes and after school.


All students are welcome to take part in the Christmas Cwith auditions being held at the end of November.  The Music Department has organised a variety of events in the summer term including ‘Fernhill’s Got Talent’ and contributions to the Global Fayre.


The Performing Arts Department produce a whole school musical production every other year which is very popular and this event fosters a great sense of cultural capital and community spirit.  Previously the school has put on productions of Guys and

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