Music Department

For an overview of the pathways through the curriculum, please see our information page here.

Welcome to the

Music Department

Our Vision

Music is fun, it can lift your spirits or help you to express emotions.  Music decreases stress and can improve your health.  Music boosts brain activity, exercising both sides of your brain and works on developing skills such as maths, science, physical coordination and language - all while keeping in time with a beat!  Music helps us to define our identify and culture, and helps us to understand more about other cultures.  The Music Industry is one of the most competitive and exciting in the world...

The ALNS Music Curriculum is about experiencing live and digital music through creativity and performance.  Musicianship skills such as playing instruments, reading notation, analysing and listening to music are taught through practical projects.

Students improvise and compose their own music, drawing on their experience with different musical styles from western and world music traditions.  Students use music technology to record, edit, loop, notate and sequence music.

We also have a range of visiting music teachers offering instrumental lessons in strings, woodwind, brass, piano, drums, guitar (classical and electric) and singing. A range of clubs and activities taught by music staff and visiting musicians are available to students throughout the year.

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Click here to learn about how the Curriculum is planned, delivered and assessed in Performance.

Years 7 & 8 (KS3)
Years 9 - 11 (KS4

Exam Board

For our Music BTEC, we use Edexcel:

BTEC Firsts Music (2013)


Students in Key Stage 3 Music are assessed through their practical performance work and written tasks. Students complete an assessment  at the end of each Scheme of Learning, this could be a performance, a listening test or a written task. They are marked using the criteria on the Music Progress ladder which they then use to set targets to develop their skills further. Students are assessed on their musical accuracy and technique,  expressions and musicality, their ability to compose music, group work skills and the quality of written work.

In Key Stage 4 students can follow the Edexcel BTEC Music scheme. This course is continually assessed through practical work, workshops, performances and a log book that students must keep. There is one externally assessed element of the course which is a written examination.

Quality Teaching and Learning Entitlement

All students are entitled to:

  • a positive, safe learning environment that encourages the development of performance skills and the sharing of work within a culture of mutual respect and shared responsibility.
  • be actively engaged in their own learning whilst being challenged and motivated to take responsibility for their own development and take risks!
  • experience well planned lessons which challenge them, provide clear assessment and regular performance opportunities whilst reflecting upon their own learning and development.
  • regular opportunities to perform both within lessons and at public performances such as Performing Arts evenings, Concerts, Festivals and the School Productions.

Teaching within Music lessons should have:

  • a positive ethos which promotes an atmosphere for learning in which all students feel safe and confident to perform and feedback honestly about others work and their own development.
  • clear levels of challenge to enable students to develop their technical and interpretive skills, group work skills, also practising higher order thinking skills, creativity, problem solving and independence.
  • well planned lessons in which learning aims are clear and shared with all students enabling them to understand the purpose of their learning and how to make progress. Methods and purpose of assessments are shared with students at every opportunity.
  • a culture of mutual respect in which students effort and achievement is celebrated.

How we achieve high quality Teaching and Learning within Music: 

  • ASSESSMENT: Promotes learning within Music. Students are assessed using levels from 3-8. They are assessed every half term at the end of a Scheme of Learning. This is through a combination of performance, self and peer assessment. All assessment is recorded in students log-books.
    At KS4 students follow the BTEC courses. Their assessment is on-going, rigorous and forms the basis of each lesson. Students work through assignments and always know what their targets are and how to make progress. (Refer to specifications for more details of the delivery of these courses).
  • TEACHING: Teachers create positive, safe learning environments with clear ground rules and expectations. Learning aims are shared with students at every opportunity and success is celebrated every lesson through the sharing of work and feedback.

The culture of success, praise and reward enables lessons within Music to be positive, dynamic and engaging. Students want to perform and share their work within a supportive environment and without judgement. This is common practise throughout the faculty.

Effective lessons within Music have the following features:

  • All objectives and intended outcomes are shared with the students.
  • Expectations are always high for the quality of work, concentration and behaviour.
  • Lessons are well-structured.
  • Clear vocabulary is used and is always explained.
  • Classes and groups are well organised.
  • There is clear explanation of learning.
  • A variety of activities are used i.e an effective balance between whole class work, group work, independent learning and teacher led activities.
  • Good pace and timing.
  • Effective use of resources.
  • Strong and effective assessment that is shared with students.

Music enables pupils to:

  • bring together intellect and feeling, enabling personal expression, reflection and emotional development;
  • develop physical control and coordination through vocal and instrumental skills;
  • develop confidence and self-esteem;
  • link into the world and community through the study of music in the past and present
  • understand themselves, relate to others and develop their cultural understanding, forging important links between home, school and the wider world.
  • develop critical skills: the ability to listen, to appreciate a wide variety of music, and to make judgments about musical quality
  • increase their self-discipline, creativity, aesthetic sensitivity and fulfillment

Effective Music Strategies

  • Aural Modelling to allow students to quickly learn a part from memory - folk styles, world music styles, popular styles.  Allows focus on technique rather than accuracy of score-reading.
  • Community Learning whole class ensemble: the unity of everyone contributing to the overall effect of the ensemble, taking responsibility for their own part.  Can also be used as a modelling technique before moving onto small group work.   Choirs, world music ensembles, orchestras...
  • Classroom Workshopping whole class ensemble where students create their own parts over a 'groove' set by the teacher.  Improvisation focussed, this strategy encourages creativity and listening.
  • Non-formal learning allowing students to access aural and scored resources to learn a part independently.  The part is differentiated for the student by the teacher.
  • Informal learning the opportunity for the student to select their own repertoire and resources, working independently while the teacher supports.  Encourages the student to discover repertoire suitable for their ability, deepen their love of their own voice/instrument and engage with new techniques.
  • Co-operative learning to allow students to evaluate their strengths and take on an enterprising role within a group, working together as a team towards the creation of a musical product or project.  Good for song writing, CD making, recording, band skills etc.
  • KS3 Strategy uses the concepts of style, genre and tradition to challenge students to evaluate, compare and analyse music. Benefit is that students can more easily link different musical styles and explore influences.
  • Informal Composition teacher follows the process 'observe - select - guide' in order to help the student use techniques appropriate to their composing style.  Modelling is kept to a minimum.