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Lower School

Outline of Subject

Here in Thornden Music Department we believe that Music is a subject that is accessible, enjoyable and educational for all. Students are taught to understand Music through the activities of performing, composing and listening. Students study a wide range of musical styles and genres from both popular and classical traditions from around the world.

Learning Content

Topic Title


Term 1

Term 2

Term 3


Keyboard Skills & African Drumming


Rap Music

Pentatonic Folk Music

Descriptive Music

Descriptive Music & Waltzes


Cover Versions

Minor Keys


Indian Music

Signature Tunes

Popular Song 1


The Blues

Film Music

Popular Song 2

Hooks and Riffs

Skill Development

We teach skills in Performing and Composing. Students work individually, in pairs and in larger groups and there are opportunities for students to involve their own instruments. They learn to perform existing music and then compose their own music in a similar style. They listen to recorded examples of related pieces and aurally scrutinise / answer questions on what they hear. Electronic keyboards are widely (though not exclusively) used in our teaching. Students are taught to read music notation and how to use the computer program Mixcraft for recording and editing their composition work. Many students take additional instrumental lessons beyond the classroom, and we encourage these students to use their more advanced skills in class.

Assessment Styles

At the end of each Topic, usually at the end of each half term the teacher will listen to the students work and give an assessment level. The levels are taken from our Music department assessment criteria that we have developed as part of Thornden’s assessment policy. We give students targets for progress, telling them how they can improve and develop their skills as well as move their learning and understanding forward; which they can then apply to future topics.

Additional Information

All music lessons take place in specialist classrooms equipped with keyboards, percussion instruments and computers linked to MIDI keyboards. The department runs many extra-curricular activities on a weekly basis that are suitable for all abilities of students.  There is also an extensive programme of vocal and instrumental tuition. Details are available from the department on request and are published in the Music area of the school website.

Home Learning Timetables

Year 7

Year 8

Year 9

Upper School

Exam Board: Eduqas (WJEC)

Outline of Subject

GCSE Music aims to develop the core elements of performing, composing, listening and appraising in a practical and fully integrated manner. In doing so students develop many skills which are essential for the workplace and Further Education whether in a music related environment or not. If you do not continue with music at college etc… this qualification still shows that you have a wide range of practical and creative skills.

Course Content

Year Term 1 Term 2 Term 3
10 Rhythm! Performance & Composition Solo 1 rec Ground Bass Performance & Composition Solo 2 rec Film Music Performance & Composition Solo 3 rec
  The Blues Performance & Composition Solo 1 rec Minimalism Performance & Composition Solo 2 rec Free Composition Learning the 2 Set extracts Solo 3 rec
11 Composition coursework + Listening skills Ensemble rec Composition coursework + Listening skills Ensemble rec Listening exam work + Revision
  Composition coursework + Listening skills Ensemble rec Listening exam work Learning the 2 set extracts Ensemble rec Listening exam work + Revision of the 2 set extracts

Skill Development

You will develop and improve your composing skills by composing pieces of music in different styles. You will learn how to use music technology to aid composing. For homework you will be continually practise your instrument to improve your technique. Composition coursework and performance coursework can be in any style/ genre you wish, that suits your skills and interests. The course focuses on practical music making (composing and performing) as much as possible. You will gain confidence as a performer and composer as the course progresses through listening to and learning about different styles of music.


Performing and Composing coursework is worth 60% of your final mark. There is only one written exam; a 1 ¼ hour listening exam at the end of year 11 which is worth 40%.

Component 1: Performing - Coursework 30% (One solo and one ensemble recording)

Component 2: Composing - Coursework 30% (Two compositions)

Component 3: Examination - 40% (1 ¼ hr listening exam)

Additional Information

This course is suitable for instrumentalists and vocalists who already have music lessons in or out of school and are at least grade 2-3 standard.  Being able to read music notation to a basic level would be an advantage. This is a flexible course in terms of musical style/genre and we allow as much free choice as possible and students can choose their own performance pieces (component 1) as well as their own chosen style to compose in (component 2).


Info for Year 7 Students

Almost all lessons are in the Music Block which is next to the Sports Hall, opposite Technology. The lessons are on a rotating timetable, so you need to check carefully each week as the times will change. You will often need to come out of your normal subject lessons to attend your instrumental or vocal lesson: please ask your teacher politely for permission to leave, and they should allow you to do so. Everyone who had lessons at their Primary School and has requested lessons should be catered for, and some (but not yet all) pupils who requested lessons as beginners have also been timetabled. Again, if you have any queries, please speak to Mr Jones or Mrs Gale.

Extra-Curricular Music

Timetables for Instrumental and Vocal Lessons

In addition to the curricular music lessons that all pupils take part in the lower school, we offer a wide range of instrumental and vocal lessons that pupils can attend. These lessons usually take place in small groups during the school day and are organised on a weekly timetable/ rota system.

The timetables are written up and posted on the noticeboard in the Music Block. If there are any queries about instrumental/vocal lessons please speak to Mr R Jones (Head of Music) or Mrs Gale in the Music Department.


We are currently able to offer lessons on all orchestral instruments plus vocal, piano, keyboard, guitar and percussion. There is a strong demand for lessons particularly vocal, guitar and drum kit. We do our best to fulfil requests, but it is often not possible to fit in everyone who would like lessons. We do operate a waiting list system.

Instrumental and Vocal Ensembles

We have a huge extra-curricular Music programme running here on a weekly basis at Thornden. This includes both instrumental and vocal ensembles. The groups are run by Thornden Music staff and our visiting peripatetic teachers. Please click here for our current Extra Curricular Timetable.

If you have any questions or enquires about School Music Lessons please email Mrs Laird (Performing Arts Administrator) 

Concerts and Performances

​Sadly, due to Thornden Hall still being closed and out of action, we have slightly fewer concert dates for this academic year:

Christmas Concert (Sports Hall) Tuesday 17th December 7pm

Wind Band Concert (also featuring; Jazz Band, Sax Mad & Percussion Ensemble) (Gym) Wednesday 11th March 7pm

Summer Concert (Sports Hall) Wednesday 6th May 7pm

Rising Starts concert Yr 7 - 9 (Gym) Tuesday 16th June 7pm