Trust websites

Stronger... Together




About Music

Music is a relatively new subject to the school; this is the second year Music has been on the curriculum and due to its success, music provision at Merrill has expanded every year. Whilst Music is only on the Key Stage 3 curriculum at the moment, the intention is to offer GCSE Music (Eduqas) in the next academic year for the 2020 options. 


How often do students have Music in Key Stage 3?

Students currently have music 1 hour per fortnight, which means that each topic lasts a term, therefore equalling three projects a year.  Throughout KS3, students will study a diverse range of classical, world and modern music in order to develop the three competencies: appraising, performing and composing


What do students study in Music lessons?

Students will learn about the Western Classical tradition, world music and modern music to give them a broad, knowledge-rich curriculum that is engaging and provides students with an understanding of other cultures.  It is important that students can appreciate all music and give an unbiased critique of music with an open mind; regardless of their personal taste.  Students will gain experience in performing and composing music on different instruments and via the use of music technology (sequencing – creating music on the computer).


The curriculum plan for Music at KS3 is below, however, this will change next year due to the expansion of the subject.  Next year all KS3 students will have 1 hour of Music every week, each topic will last a half term, so students will be studying 6 topics every year.



Term 1

Term 2

Term 3

Topic: Pachelbel’s Canon

Assessment: Performance (Solo or Paired)

Genre: Classical

Instrument: Keyboards

Skills: Appraising, theory, performance


Topic: Fusion

Assessment: Performance (ensemble)

Genre: Bhangra

Instrument: Percussion, keyboards

Skills: Appraising, theory, ensemble performance and composition


Topic: Charanga

Assessment: Composition (Solo or Paired)

Genre: Modern (Grime, House, Dubstep, Trap, Pop)

Instrument: Technology/Vocals

Skills: Appraising, theory, sequencing, composing using technology, lyric-writing


Term 1

Term 2

Term 3

Topic: The Races

Assessment: Performance (Solo or Paired)

Genre: Chinese (World)

Instrument: Keyboards

Skills: Appraising, theory, performance


Topic: Samba

Assessment: Performance (ensemble)

Genre: Samba (World)

Instrument: Percussion

Skills: Appraising, theory, performance, composition, ensemble

Topic: Music for Adverts

Assessment: Composition (Paired)

Genre: Any

Instrument: Technology and/or any instrument

Skills: Appraising, theory, composition


Term 1

Term 2

Term 3

Topic: The ‘Jackass Blues’

Assessment: Performance (Solo or Paired)

Genre: Blues/Jazz

Instrument: Keyboards

Skills: Appraising, theory, performance, improvisation

Topic: Riffs and Hooks

Assessment: Performance (Solo or ensemble)

Genre: Pop/Rock

Instrument: Any

Skills: Appraising, theory, performance, ensemble/solo

Topic: Leitmotifs

Assessment: Performance and Composition

Genre: Film

Instrument: Technology and keyboards

Skills: Appraising, theory, performance and composition



How are students assessed in Music at KS3?

Each project is assessed by a performance or composition in the final lesson of the term. Appraisal skills (music theory) are interwoven into each lesson.


What is expected at Key Stage 4?

Merrill Academy do not currently offer Music as a GCSE option. However, plans are in place to introduce GCSE Music (Eduqas specification) for the academic year 2020-2021. The intention for the topics studied at KS3 are to continue building the three competencies that students will be assessed against in their GCSE: appraising, performing and composing.

What qualities/skills do students need for GCSE Music?

It is recommended that students are working at a level 6 in KS3.  It is compulsory for students to be taking private instrumental lessons (either in school or out of school) prior to Year 10 as performing is an integral part of the course. Instrumental lessons are essential to access higher grades if undertaking GCSE Music.


How is the course organised and assessed?

Written exam 40%

Appraisingincludes music theory, aural skills, describing music using technical vocabulary and identifying key characteristics in music; this is assessed through a 1 hr 15min exam in Year 11 and will form 40% of the overall GCSE grade.


Controlled assessment – Coursework 60%

The performingelement is coursework-based. As a pre-requisite to the course, students will be expected to have already started private instrument lessons either in school or outside of school prior to Year 10, as they will have to submit two performances, 1 solo and 1 ensemble. The two performances will be recorded and submitted, which will account for 30% of the overall GCSE.


Students will need to show they are proficient at composing two pieces of music; one to a brief set by the exam board and the second is a free composition where students can set their own brief. Students can choose to compose in any style and method of their choice but they will need to record their ideas in a ‘composition log as evidence of their creative ideas. This coursework is 30%of the GCSE.  


What extra-curricular activities are available?

So far, we have an over-subscribed peripatetic piano/vocal teacher who works at the Academy Monday-Wednesday.  Merrill Academy offer private instrument lessons free of charge to all students at Key Stage 3, as I am keen to encourage all students to learn an instrument without it depending on financial matters.

This year I am hoping to extend that provision by offering peripatetic drum and guitar lessons soon – watch this space!


There are a number of extra-curricular lunch clubs on offer throughout the year, the most popular being ‘Keyboard Club’ where students can practise for their music assessments, especially if they do not have an instrument available at home.


The award winning ‘Merrill Melody Makers’ school choir are also very successful and have performed many times in the local community for concerts, conference and workshops with other schools.  They have won multiple competitions and performed at Wembley Arena.


We also have a Winter Showcase and Summer Concert every year to allow our students to opportunity to demonstrate their hard work to parents/carers, friends and family.


A student in Year 7 won a local competition for the best music composition (beat-making) in Derby (for our ‘Charanga’ project) and will now have the fantastic opportunity of working alongside a well-known artist in a professional music studio for the day.


There is a music trip in March to see the ‘Halle’ Orchestra play at the Royal Concert Hall in Nottingham to perform the music from the Harry Potter film series.  More out of school opportunities to learn about music, experientially, will be available to students in the future. 


Mrs E. Bradbury

Teacher of Music

Also in this section

Merrill Online

Latest tweets

28th February 2020

How can you stop #coronaviruses spreading? Advice for educational settings.

28th February 2020

Parent/Carer advice on the Corona Virus can be viewed here: Please encourage your child to…

27th February 2020

It looks like its going to be a good turn out for the Year 9 Options and Parents Evening tonight. It's not too late…

27th February 2020

RT @bydesigngroup: 1 week to go for our #iRail2020 event in #Derby! We hope your schools are looking forward to the NEW challenge this year…

Follow Merrill Academy on Twitter

Merrill Life

Welcome Message

Read here..

Upcoming events

Event details

Student's work

See work

Student awards

Award details