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Curriculum Intent

Music is a universal language that is heard all around us; it is the soundtrack to our lives and has the ability to add an extra dimension to any situation.  It has the power to develop pupils emotionally as well as being proven to enhance academic development.  The music curriculum at Corpus Christi is creative, collaborative, celebratory and challenging.  It is designed to engage and inspire pupils and its overarching aim is to develop breadth of knowledge, skill and personal development.  Music at Corpus Christi is designed to bring pupils together and allows pupils to express themselves and connect with people from a variety of backgrounds.  Through practical group work pupils are encouraged to use and develop personal transferable life skills such as communication, teamwork, self-motivation, and organisation, that will enrich their lives no matter what their chosen pathway.  They are also encouraged to develop problem solving techniques and resilience as well as developing physical dexterity and co-ordination.  The curriculum at Corpus Christi is inclusive and accessible for everyone to be actively involved irrelevant of prior learning, background, or extra-curricular involvement.  The combination of a diverse, quality-focused curriculum, and a rich extra-curricular culture arms pupils with a growth-based mindset.  This gives pupils the opportunity to grow in confidence, creativity, and sense of achievement and enjoy social, emotional, and mental health benefits that come from a genuine enjoyment and love for music. 

At Corpus Christi we are not solely striving to teach music to encourage pupils to go on to study music at further education, but also to develop a genuine love of music making.  If our music making experiences encourage pupils at some point in their life to go and join a community ensemble, which will in turn give them social opportunities, or supports them in developing a hobby that improves their mental health or helps develop their confidence and self-belief then our intent is successful.  Even though a career within the Music Industry may be the goal for some pupils, this is not the goal for other pupils, yet music can still contribute to their both their academic success and overall wellbeing.


The national curriculum for music aims to ensure that all pupils:

  • Perform, listen to, review and evaluate music across a range of historical periods, genres, styles and traditions, including the works of the great composers and musicians.
  • Learn to sing and use their voices, to create and compose music on their own and with others, have the opportunity to learn a musical instrument, use technology appropriately and have the opportunity to progress to the next level of musical excellence.
  • Understand and explore how music is created, produced, and communicated, including through the inter-related dimensions: pitch, duration, dynamics, tempo, timbre, texture, structure and appropriate musical notations.

Taking this into consideration, the music department at Corpus Christi believes pupils should meet these aims and explore their creativity through a variety of engaging, practical topics that have equal focus on knowledge, skill, analysis, and personal development.  Our aim is for pupils to want to get involved, want to set themselves high expectations to succeed and engage in musical experiences they may not elsewhere get the opportunity to engage with.  Our aim is to spark pupils’ interest, develop inquisitive, creative minds and give pupils the confidence to continue to explore breadth of music knowledge and skill well into their future.

Subject Content Key Stage 3

Pupils should consolidate and extended their knowledge and skills across a range of different musical settings.  They will develop their theoretical music knowledge as well developing musical performance skills.  Pupils should develop their teamwork and communication skills through ensemble music making and will have the opportunity to work both in small groups and as a whole class.  Pupils will explore, compose, and perform music from different historical periods, genres, styles, and traditions (some of which include African Drumming, Samba, Blues, British Rock & Pop music, Rap and the Classical Orchestra).  They will learn to play a variety of instruments, including keyboards, djembes, ukuleles, samba instruments, tuned percussion and their voices.  Pupils will have the opportunity to use traditional acoustic instruments as well as exploring the use of music technology to create, record, and produce music.  They should develop their understanding of the bigger picture of the music industry and how music is heard all around us.  Pupils should develop their ability to be critical thinkers and be reflective practitioners of their own, and their peers, work.  They should develop their ability to identify their own strengths and areas to develop from a given success criteria.

Pupils should be taught:

Knowledge – develop their theoretical musical knowledge including:

  • How to read and write music using staff notation.
  • How to follow expressive musical performance directions on sheet music.
  • How to read chord charts.
  • Key tier 3 terminology that overarches every scheme of work including the elements of music (rhythm, pulse, structure, timbre, texture and dynamics).
  • Context, origin and key features of a variety of genres and cultures including; African Drumming, Reggae, The Blues and Samba music.

Skills – develop their performance skills including:

  • Ability to keep a steady pulse and perform in time with other pupils.
  • Ability to apply theoretical knowledge of reading music to a practical, instrument-based task.
  • Ability to develop specific instrumental playing techniques.  For example, finding notes on a keyboard, using the correct fingers, finding chords on the fretboard of a ukulele, developing strumming patterns, performing with correct technique on a djembe.
  • Ability to apply understanding of the elements of music to enhance a performance.
  • Ability to use transferable life skills to offer creative ideas to group work, have high expectations and self-motivate in order to use rehearsal time wisely.

Analysis and reflection – develop their ability to analyse and reflecting including:

  • Ability to offer creative ideas during group work and being able to make decisions.
  • Ability to offer constructive feedback to others based on a success criteria.
  • Ability to have own high expectations, resilience and own desire to succeed.
  • Ability to provide continuous formative self-reflection – analysing own progress by identifying own strengths and areas for development throughout the topic.
  • Providing summative end of topic self-reflection – analysing own progress by identifying own strengths and areas for development at the end of the topic and reflecting again both their own starting points and the given success criteria.

KS3 Overview

Year 7

Building My Musical Toolbox
  • To understand the difference between rhythm and pulse
  • To keep a steady pulse when performing
  • To know and why it is important to warm up the voice
  • To stand with good posture when singing
  • To understand how to breathe and use the diaphragm
  • To perform with good diction and projection
  • To perform as part of an ensemble with a steady pulse
Rhythm and Pulse… Stomp-style!
  • To understand the difference between rhythm and pulse
  • To understand the difference between note and beat
  • To be able to read and write note length durations
  • To be able to compose a 4 beat rhythm
  • To keep in time with a group, even during polyrhythms
  • To include changes of timbre
  • To include changes in dynamics
  • To organise the structure of a performance
Pitch and Keyboard Skills
  • To understand how to read the pitch of notes on a stave
  • To know how to find notes on a keyboard
  • To play a scale on keyboard
  • To understand the difference between melody & accompaniment
  • To play melody & accompaniment on keyboard with a partner
  • To play both melody & accompaniment on keyboard individually
  • To perform fluently on keyboard.
African Drumming
  • To hold the djembe correctly
  • To play 2 different sounds on the djembe
  • To include both call & response and polyrhythms in a performance
  • To keep in time with a group, even during polyrhythms
  • To include changes in dynamics
  • To organise the structure of a performance

Year 8

Let’s Samba!
  • To understand the context of Samba music
  • To recognise Samba instruments by look and sound
  • To play a Samba instrument with correct technique
  • To include all 3 sections in a Samba performance; Call & Response, Main Groove and Break.
  • To keep in time during a group performance, especially during polyrhythms
  • To include changes in dynamics
  • To organise the structure of a performance
  • To be able to read music notation on a stave
  • To understand what syncopation is
  • To understand how to find notes on tuned percussion instruments
  • To perform on a tuned percussion instrument with correct technique
  • To take part in a class performance
  • To perform accurately during a group performance, especially during polyrhythms
  • To include changes in dynamics
The Blues
  • To understand where Blues music originated from
  • To perform in time with a backing track
  • To play the 12-bar blues chord progression
  • To play the ‘Downbeat Blues’ melody on keyboard
  • To add improvisation to performance
  • To add changes of dynamics to performance
  • To organise the structure of a performance
  • To use Garageband to record and finalise performance
Ukulele and the 4-chord trick
  • To be able to read ukulele chord charts
  • To hold a ukulele correctly
  • To strum a ukulele with correct technique and follow strumming patterns
  • To be able to play 6 chords on the ukulele; C, Am, F, G, D Em
  • To perform in time with a backing track

Year 9

African Music- The Next Step
  • To be able to read music notation on a stave
  • To understand what syncopation is
  • To be able to find notes on tuned percussion instruments
  • To understand the difference between melody and accompaniment
  • To perform as part of a percussion performance with correct technique
  • To keep in time with a group, even during polyrhythms
  • To organise the structure of a performance
Reggae Release
  • To understand the key features of Reggae music
  • To develop ability to read notation on a stave
  • To perform Buffalo Soldier melody on the keyboard in time with a backing track
  • To play a Reggae accompaniment on keyboard in time with a backing track
  • To add changes of dynamics to performance
  • To use Garageband to record and finalise performance
Music for Film
  • To understand the purpose of film music
  • To understand the difference between diegetic and non-diegetic music
  • To understand what a leitmotif is
  • To compose a leitmotif appropriate for the scene
  • To compose a successful soundtrack that is appropriate to the film
  • To match the music to specific moments in the scene
  • To successfully layer tracks and change the texture
  • To explore the loops library and make good choices of instruments
  • To include changes of dynamics within soundtrack
The Rise of British Rock and Pop
  • To understand key features of music from each decade between 1950 and 1990.
  • To understand what Britpop is
  • To understand, and recognise, key instruments used in popular music and the roles of the instruments.
  • To understand how to build chords on the keyboard and read chord charts for ukulele
  • To perform the melody or accompaniment on ukulele or keyboard with accuracy
  • To perform with a steady pulse and keeping in time with a partner and/or backing track

KS4 Overview

Year 10

Year 10
Term 1Introduction
– Pupils develop understanding on basic theory including reading music notation, performance techniques, musical elements
– Pupils learn about compositional techniques including melody writing, choosing key signatures and tonality, composing chord progressions, building chords, organising structures, exploring texture, – harmony and dynamics.
– Introducing Soundtrap software
– Mock Unit 2 composition; responding to a brief.  

Unit 2 (Creating)
Task 1 (creative brief). 
– Exam board brief released, and composition ideas explored
– Initial ideas for composition researched and task 1 planning takes place
– Begin Unit 2 Task 2 (development log)
– Initial compositional ideas started
– Logbook updated throughout the composition process
Milestone 1 and Milestone 2 take place with a chance to showcase composition so far and receive peer and teacher feedback  
Term 2Unit 2 (Creating)
– Pupils continue composing and developing compositions. 
Milestone 3 completed as a chance to showcase progress with composition and receive peer and teacher feedback
– Pupils continue Task 2 (development log) – update logbook throughout process
– Pupils complete composition prepares for Task 3 (presentation)
– Pupils deliver their presentations – introduction of composition and how the brief has been met.  Time to showcase final composition and receive feedback.
Task 4 (evaluation).  A time to analyse and evaluate the whole composition progress from initial ideas, through to final composition.  Pupils’ complete self-reflection as well as responding to feedback.  
Term 3Unit 1 (Performing)
– Initial introduction to performance unit and a whole class performance.
– Exam board brief is released, and performance ideas explored.
– Exploration into different pieces that could be chosen for performance, including a range of styles and difficulty level.  Pupils explore what would be appropriate for their performance.
– Once pieces chosen, pupils research and plan for Task 1a and 1b – initial context of pieces and then how this will influence and impact their performance
– Pupils learn about different types of rehearsal, and how to complete a rehearsal schedule, and complete Task 2
Milestone 1 takes place to show their starting point on chosen performance pieces
– Pupils start their rehearsal process, both in curriculum lessons, in their instrumental lessons and during practise at home, and complete their Task 3 logbook throughout the process.    

Year 11

Year 11
Term 1Unit 1 (Performing)
– Pupils continue practise their performance pieces and completing their Task 3 logbook to show their journey.
Milestones 2 and 3 take place as an opportunity to practise their performance to an audience and receive peer and teacher feedback.
– Pupils complete their final Task 4 performance and receive final feedback.
Task 5 (evaluation) takes place to analyse and evaluate the whole process from first starting to learn their piece, through to final performance.  It includes development of specific instrument technical skills, performance techniques and effectiveness of the rehearsal process.  Pupils’ complete self-reflection as well as responding to feedback.  

Unit 3 (Performing Arts in Practice) – planning an event
– Pre-learning for this unit includes learning about different job roles in the music industry (including non-performing job roles).  It also includes learning about different types of venues and methods of promotion.  All of these linked to target audience and appropriateness to style of music.  
Term 2Unit 3 (Performing Arts in Practice) – planning an event
– Exam board brief released, and event ideas explored
– Discuss the brief in general terms, and how this could affect the outcomes.
– Pupils create initial ideas for proposal and complete Task 1
– Pupils explore logistics and planning of event in more detail to complete Task 2
– Pupils learn about budgeting, costs required to put on an event, resources required, and personnel required (linking back to pre-learning) and then complete Task 3
– Pupils use information from pre-learning linked back to promotion and analyse advantages and disadvantages of different methods of promotion.  They make decisions linked to their event and complete Task 4.
– Pupils recall knowledge from Unit 2 and create composition ‘demo’ tracks to support their event pitch.  Compositions must use all skill and knowledge learnt from Unit 2 even though they are not full-length pieces of music.  These practical examples are Task 5.
Task 6 = The Pitch.  Pupils look at examples of other pitches and analyse effectiveness.  They create resources for their pitch including information created in Tasks 1 – 4.  Pupils deliver their pitch to a panel and receive feedback.  
Term 3Unit 3 (Performing Arts in Practice) – planning an event
Task 7 (evaluation) takes place to analyse and evaluate the whole process and the effectiveness of their creative idea linked to the brief. Pupils’ complete self-reflection as well as responding to feedback.  


Reading opportunities must be set in line with the schools reading strategy (CARE). The music curriculum supports reading in the curriculum in a variety of ways the use of (and teacher modelling of) tier 3 vocabulary, an opportunity for pupils to be read to (for example when sharing unit learning outcomes or musical context), a differentiated consideration of reading ages when supplying resources and giving pupils the opportunity to read after expectations have been shared through modelling. The music curriculum also has high expectations that pupils answer questions in full sentences wherever appropriate, and pupils have the opportunity to have a second opportunity to answer a question once content of the answer is secure. A large part of reading in the music curriculum is in the form of reading music notation, a language in its own right. Pupils learn how to read this universal language and apply this knowledge to both practical tasks and knowledge checks. Pupils also learn how to read musical performance directions and expression in the form of musical symbols or Italian music terminology. Pupils are in mixed ability groups in music, so many strategies may need to be implemented for differentiation.


At Corpus Christi, we believe that high quality summative assessment must primarily enable pupils to demonstrate their knowledge and understanding acquired throughout the implementation of the planned curriculum. Subsequently, this will allow teachers to measure the progress made by pupils through the curriculum, in relation to learning outcomes set out in schemes of work. In measuring the extent to which pupils have acquired knowledge and a secure understanding, teachers will be able identify gaps in learning, to inform future teaching and planned interventions.  

In the music department the Head of Music has a clear, shared rationale and ensures that assessments are checked and verified with their line manager.  The Head of Music also ensures that there is a clear and shared rationale for the awarding of progress grades. This incorporates the use of formative assessment, enabling teachers to use their daily feedback through questioning, monitoring and marking, to inform decisions related to progress grades.  

At Corpus Christi, all assessments in music are suitably challenging whilst meeting the needs of all pupils. In the music department suitable points for summative assessment are chosen by the Head of Music ensuring that they are embedded into the planned curriculum. As pupils are taught in mixed ability groups, adaptive teaching is essential to ensure that all pupils can demonstrate their understanding and can make outstanding progress through the curriculum. 

The schemes of work allow teachers to frequently monitor pupil’s progression internally within the department, because pupils must demonstrate their learning and understanding in a practical way most lessons. Advantageously, this provides the teacher with a clear measurement of pupil achievement and their ability to perform, make and respond in relation to the progress pathway criteria and/or the KS4 mark scheme. Frequent monitoring will inform teacher planning or intervention strategies that need to be implemented so that pupils progress. 

Assessment and self- evaluation during KS3 and 4 will be fluid as our pupils will be encouraged to become reflective practitioners. Self-reflection is taught in amongst the schemes of work and will allow pupils to observe modelled teacher reflection as well as give them opportunities to coach their peers in a constructively similar way. This will be overseen by the class teacher and modelled so that pupils can self-assess productively.  Teacher assessment will inform planning in the curriculum and assessment cycles 

In KS3 music pupils are assessed on both skill and knowledge for each topic and assessment is both formative and summative.  Pupils are formatively assessed on their progress throughout the topic during practical work as well as through questioning and knowledge recap. For summative assessment, practical work builds to an end point (either a live performance or digital submission) and pupils complete a knowledge check test and reflection. The knowledge check test includes knowledge from the current topic as well as any previous topic and overarching musical theory knowledge previously covered.  

When it comes to whole school data reporting, the school progress grade (1-4) is given based on a holistic approach from all topics completed so far that year.  It considers practical attainment as well as pupil starting points therefore represents progress made to date. 

Curriculum Impact

Peripatetic instrumental lessons are offered through Lancashire Music Service on a variety of instruments including piano, guitar, woodwind, string, singing and drums.  Uptake of lessons is currently at its highest since 2014-15, with pupils having over 70 lessons each week.

The options process in Year 9 has seen an increase in pupils opting for music in KS4.  Music now offers the Eduqas Technical Award in Performing Arts (Music Strand), which allows pupils to be creative in performing, composing and pitching ideas and allows them to research and document their journey through reflective written controlled assessment tasks throughout the 2-year course.

Uptake in extra-curricular music opportunities has increased.  Pupils are involved in a wide range of activities including:

  • Choir (who also perform in whole school events and celebrations of Mass)
  • Weekly afterschool Mass (in collaboration with the Chaplaincy team)
  • Music Technology Club
  • KS4 Coursework Sessions
  • Seasonal Samba Band rehearsal leading up to Sports Day
  • Performing Arts Club (joint activity with Drama, who work together to put on the annual school show)

Music at KS3 offers an engaging and exciting curriculum that includes different cultures and styles.  Pupils have the opportunity to use a wide range of instruments and equipment including:

  • A class set of djembes (African Drums)
  • A class set of ukuleles
  • A Samba band set
  • High quality keyboards
  • Mac computers and Garageband

For further information regarding our Music curriculum please contact:
Miss Lofthouse, email: or telephone school reception: (01772) 716912.

Together In One Body
Corpus Christi Catholic High School
St. Vincent’s Road, Fulwood, Preston PR2 8QY
Telephone: 01772 716912 Fax: 01772 718779 Email: