Faculty Leader (inc. Music)

Mr S Maer- smaer@ndonline.org


We develop the musical skills of each and every child. We enthuse and challenge our young students with a rich and well developed curriculum. We offer them opportunities to communicate effectively through performance and composition. We offer opportunities to develop their confidence and self esteem through all aspect of music.

Our aims are:

  • To enjoy all aspects of music
  • To motivate our students to achieve their full potential
  • To develop confidence in our students through successful performance or achievement in composition
  • To develop their own sense of music within their lives.



Key Stage 3

Year 7

  • Rhythm & Pitch (Performance)
  • Concert 1 (Ensemble Performance)
  • Instruments of the Orchestra (Appraisal)
  • Music for Adverts (Composition)
  • Calypso & Ukelele (Performance)
  • World Music (Appraisal)


Year 8

  • Folk Music (Performance)
  • Concert 2 (Ensemble Performance)
  • Gospel Ghetto (Composition)
  • Tudor Rap (Composition)
  • Blues (Performance)
  • Popular Song (Performance)


Year 9

  • Popular Song (Composition)
  • Film Music (Appraisal)
  • Music for Dance (Performance)
  • Gamelan (Composition)
  • Music for Special Events (Composition)
  • Desert Island Discs (Appraisal)


Key Stage 4

Exam Board: AQA

Unit 1: Listening & Appraising

Exam paper 20%

Five areas of study: Rhythm and Metre / Harmony and Tonality / Texture and Melody / Timbre and Dynamics / Structure and Form

Aural exam techniques are part of every lesson in some form. Lessons include regular testing to encourage and support good use of vocabulary. This skill enables students to respond to the exacting time demands of the paper. Questions are based on short excerpts of music drawing on each of the five strands.

Unit 2:  Composition and Appraising Music

Coursework 20%

Developing clearly defined compositional skills. Composing one piece of music which shows coherence and musical ability. Refining musical skills in the use of all elements from Unit 1. Understanding musical notation and the ability to create a score. Developing the use of music technology to create a music score. Writing the composition under controlled assessment procedures. Students appraise the process and outcome of their work in class time and under controlled conditions.

Unit 4: Composition

Coursework 20%

Developing another musical composition. A musical score is produced using some form of notation. We encourage our students to use the appropriate staff notation and we offer the ICT programme “Sibelius” to facilitate this. Students produce another work under controlled exam conditions. The final recording is taken for submission.


Key Stage 5

Exam Board: Edexcel

Performing Music AS Unit 1 and A2 Unit 4 Coursework

Students develop the skills to perform a piece of music from a notated score or as an improvised performance. Solo or ensemble performances are equally acceptable. Students learn the importance of the attention to detail needed for high grade results. Accuracy, instrumental tone, dynamics, fluency, stylistic details and phrasing.

Unit 1 AS 5/6 minutes Unit 4 15/20 minutes.

The required level for assessment starts with an ABRSM/Trinity level grade 5 and above.

Composing Music AS Unit 2 and A2 Unit 5 Coursework

These units are offered by DHSG as part of our Link Consortium

The AS music course (unit 2) consists of one composition to last 3 minutes in response to a chosen brief. Students will also produce a sleeve note to describe aspects of their music and how other pieces of music have influenced it.

The A2 music course (unit 5) has 2 sections. The composition further develops their composition skills leading to a final 3 minute piece in response to a chosen brief. The technical study section builds on the knowledge of harmony. Students and teacher will decide on the correct pathway for each student in A2. The permutations of 2 compositions or 2 technical studies are available and each individual student will make their choice in preparation for the exam.


AS Music Technology

This is a course designed to explore modern music creation techniques and analysis, from looking at music history through to sequencing and recording music.

Throughout the course students will be listening to music from early Jazz through to Skrillex, as well as recording musicians and making covers of existing tracks using sequencing software. The course is split into two main areas – a portfolio of coursework and a final examination.

The coursework is worth 60% of the final grade, and is made up of three projects:

Sequenced Realised Performance: students will use MIDI sequencing skills learnt on the course to make a cover of a given existing commercially available track. This will include understanding how to use synthesis, shape MIDI data, and mix all the elements to make a finished track.

Multitrack Recording: students will learn the skills required to record and overdub musicians to make a cover version of any existing commercially available track of their choice. Microphone choice and placement, EQ and effects, as well as mixing and mastering skills will be taught and used in this project.

Creative Sequenced Arrangement: students will have the task to make a version of a given song in the style of another. So, for instance, you might have to make a dub step version of Mamma Mia, or a Rock and Roll version of Bohemian Rhapsody. Whatever the styles, students will have to ensure that they stick to that style well, along with adding some of their own creative influences upon it.

The examination at the end of the year, which is worth 40% of the final grade, will bring together elements covered throughout the practical projects along with a broad appreciation and understanding of popular music in the 20th Century, from early Blues and Jazz through to Rock and Roll, Metal, Punk and Dance Music. There will also be two specialist interest styles, different ones each year, where students will delve into more detail for those given styles.



All students are assessed on entry to the school. This is formed by an assessment of the performance ability and key musical knowledge of each student. Some students have had prior learning in a musical instrument and this will form an expectation of a higher degree of ability in the early Key Stages. This Value Added ability will form the basis of an assessment which will be adapted throughout their musical experience. The teacher will allow all students opportunities whenever possible to exhibit their skills.

Key Stage 3

Individual targets are formed and developed through the first three modules.

Students will complete 6 assessments each year. These 18 modules are balanced throughout the whole of KS3 to deliver assessment of performance, composition and appraisal in all elements of music and musical genres.

Student work is assessed both paired and individually. Assessment is completed in class time and balanced with homework.

All assessment will be given a further target for achievement and transferred to their music planner sheet.


Key Stage 4

The students will study for one year an intensive GCSE music course. They will complete 4 balanced exam units and are assessed throughout in performance, composition and appraisal. As with KS3, they will develop personalised targets to enable high achievement. Music GCSE is an enriching course which leads students through all genres of music and embeds their key skills as they move towards KS5.


Key Stage 5

Key stage 5 music is delivered across a 2 year period. Individual targets created from regular and rigorous assessment form the basis of a high quality course which has delivered excellent results across the years. The regular target setting and assessment procedures identify a clear passage towards higher level achievement throughout the course.

Target Setting

The assessment procedures form the target for each individual student to achieve their full potential. In all Key Stages targets are transferred to the student planner at the end of each module. Students should know and be fully aware of their individual target for development in each new module. Regular discussion and updating of targets often forms part of the lesson. House points are issued when a student achieves a high level in their modules, or exceeds the original target set.