Skip to main content
Student playing the violin


Curriculum Intent:

‘Music is the universal language of mankind‘- H. Longfellow

In Music, we inspire students by studying a wide range of genres and challenge them to think, speak and act like musicians.  Music has the power to transcend differences and allow students to explore a variety of cultures whilst developing their own sense of creativity and self-confidence. We aim to develop students’ musical knowledge and skills, through a mixture of performing, analysing and composing music across the curriculum.

Music in RGS extends far beyond the timetabled lessons and takes a key place in school life.  Students have the opportunity to study a musical instrument with one of our 17 excellent peripatetic staff.  They are encouraged to join one of our five choirs (including the award winning ‘NChant’) or one of the high-quality instrumental groups, such as the RGS Symphony Orchestra or the RGS Chamber Orchestra.  We also develop students through a wide range of performance opportunities, in venues such as the Rochester Cathedral or one of our regular annual sell-out concerts. Music also plays a central role in whole school events such as Founders Day, Awards Evenings and the popular inter-house competition that is House Arts Day.

We aim to create well-rounded individuals. Music Education develops confident and committed students through developing skills and attitudes such as: problem-solving, perseverance, diligence, team work, time management, organisation, responsibility, cultural history, analysis, confidence, social skills, discipline, self-evaluation and interpersonal skills. Music students become creative and self-assured members of society with a variety of skills that allow them to succeed both musically and beyond.

Music is offered as:

  • Core subject Years 7, 8 & 9
  • GCSE Option Years 10 & 11
  • IB Music Year 12 & 13

Key Stage 3 Music

Curriculum Overview

Term 1 Term 2 Term 3 Term 4 Term 5 Term 6
 Year 7 Building Blocks Programme Music Keyboard Skills Structure Instruments of the Orchestra


Indian Music
Year 8 Africa Musicals Film and TV


Samba British Music Great Composers


Year 9 Popular Music Theme and Variations




Jazz and Blues Covers/Arrangements


RGS Unearthed

Year 7

Students receive one lesson per week, through which we introduce the core elements of Music Education, which is analysis, composition and performing.  Students cultivate these skills individually, in small groups and as part of the whole class, in addition to being given a basic grounding in the key concepts of music such as melody and harmony etc.  Students develop skills on a wide range of instruments and computer programs, whilst also being encouraged to access the peripatetic lessons and attend one of the many extracurricular ensembles such as Year 7 Choir.

Year 8

Students receive three lessons per fortnight in which they expand and develop the basic skills taught in year 7 and apply them to wide variety of genres. Students are introduced to music and cultures from across the world and focus on building their knowledge and applying their skills to increasingly challenging music allowing them to increasingly develop their self-confidence and creativity. Year 8 Music students also attend a local performance of a musical.

Year 9

Students received one lesson per week, and now apply their skills in larger projects and in more complicated assignments.  Students are expected to be able to perform with a degree of confidence and use key terminology with assurance.  In year 9 students should really start to ‘think, speak and act’ like musicians.  The year 9 Music Curriculum also allows students to develop their increasing creative skills through units such as Covers/Arrangements and RGS Unearthed allowing students the freedom to apply their skills in areas they wish to explore whilst also continuing to introduce students to new genres and artists and develop the key areas of analysis, composition and performance.


Music is assessed through a mixture of composition and performance practical work, which is recorded, and analysis that is written.  Frequent and constructive verbal feedback will be given to pupils throughout lessons from the teacher and through peer assessment.  All composition and performance assessments are recorded and allow students to reflect on their progress throughout the course whilst students are also expected to display their knowledge and understanding in analysis of a wide selection of music. Students will also develop self-reflection skills though evaluating their own work against set criteria.

Further Reading/Resources

-A listing of events taking place in the Medway Theatres

-Although aimed at GCSE students, the BBC Bitesize website details some of the techniques Key Stage 3

will be introduced to this year and is fun and accessible:

-Music theory activities


Key Stage 4 Music

Curriculum Overview

Students at Key Stage 4 have two periods a week studying the Edexcel GCSE Music qualification

Term 1 Term 2 Term 3 Term 4 Term 5 Term 6
Year 10 GCSE Core Skills Queen (Killer Queen) Star Wars (Opening credits from A New Hope) Purcell (Music for a While) Esperanza Spalding (Samba em Preludio) Bach (Brandenberg Concerto No. 5 Movement 3)
Year 11 Beethoven (Piano Sonata No 8 Movement 1) Wicked (Defying Gravity) Afro-Celt (Release) Coursework Completion Revision Study Leave

Year 10

Students ensure their grasp of music theory and key elements is secure by starting with a core skills unit.  Students are assessed in three areas, performance, composition and analysis. Students start to study the eight set works set by the exam board in detail, including analysis of the key concepts, how it fits into the genre, and where it sits in the musical timeline.  Students also develop their performance and composition skills alongside their analysis of their set work though a mixture of practical and creative tasks which are designed to build into the two performances and two compositions submitted to the exam board in Year 11.

Year 11

Students analyse the final three set works and develop their coursework until completed.  The first of the two recorded performances takes place in September with the second taking place in January.  The first composition (set brief) is completed by December and the free composition by March with the redrafts happening in Term 4.  Once all the coursework is completed, students then have thorough revision sessions to aid them in being fully prepared for the analysis exam at the end of the two-year course.

Assessment at GCSE

  • Component 1: Performance, 30% of qualification. Students record one solo and one ensemble performance each worth 15%.  This is marked and sent to exam board for moderation. The recommended standard is at least grade 4.
  • Component 2: Composition, 30% of qualification. Students submit one free composition, which shows their creative skills in any genre for an ensemble of their choice. Students also submit a composition from a list of set briefs sent out by the exam board.  Each composition is worth 15% of the overall mark.
  • Component 3: Appraising exam, 40% of qualification. A one hour and 45 minute exam in which students answer questions on the 8 set works, an unknown piece of music, complete some dictation and then write a comparison essay between one of their set works and an unknown piece.

Further Reading/Resources

-BBC Bitesize including analysis if each set work

-Music theory activities

– Edexcel GCSE Music Revision Guide

– Focus on Sound Music Lessons –


Key Stage 5 Music

Students at Key Stage 5 follow the IB Music course as part of the IB Diploma. 

Assessment at IB

The Music course is an incredibly varied course which allows students the opportunity to explore the areas of music they are  interested in while also developing their performance, compositions and research skills.  The IB music course is 100% coursework based. There is no written examination on the Music course. Students can tailor the course towards their areas of interest and enjoyment.

Exploring music in context (30% Standard Level, 20% Higher Level)

Students select samples of their work for a portfolio submission (maximum 2,400 words). The submission contains:

  1. Exploring as a researcher – written work demonstrating engagement with, and understanding of, diverse musical material from at least two areas of inquiry
  2. Exploring as a creator and as a performer – one practical creating exercise (score maximum 32 bars and/or audio 1 minute as appropriate to style) and one performed adaptation of music from a local or global context for the student’s own instrument (maximum 2 minutes)

Experimenting with music (30% Standard Level, 20% Higher Level)

Students submit an experimentation report with evidence of their musical processes in creating and performing focused through at least two areas of inquiry in a local and/or global context. The report provides a rationale and commentary for each process. Students submit:

  1. Experimenting as a researcher – a written experimentation report that supports the experimentation (maximum 1,500 words)
  2. Experimenting as a creator and as a performer – practical musical evidence of the experimentation process in the form of three related excerpts of creating (total maximum 5 minutes), three related excerpts of performing (total maximum 5 minutes)

Presenting music (40% Standard Level, 30% Higher Level)

Students submit a collection of works demonstrating engagement with diverse musical material from four areas of inquiry. The submission contains:

  1. Presenting as a researcher – programme notes (maximum 600 words)
  2. Presenting as a creator – composition and/or improvisation (maximum 6 minutes)
  3. Presenting as a performer – solo and/or ensemble (maximum 12 minutes) and excerpts, where applicable (maximum 2 minutes)

The contemporary music-maker (HL only, 30%)

Students submit a continuous multimedia presentation documenting their real-life project. Students submit:

Multimedia presentation (maximum 15 minutes), evidencing:

  1. the project proposal
  2. the process and evaluation
  3. the realized project, or curated selections of it.

Further Reading/Resources

– Allmusic blog, a website which regularly share articles and information about the music world

– FACT Magazine, an online magazine which looks at the popular side of music and music technology

– BBC Sounds, radio shows and productions which include a large library of music playlists, radio and television shows

– Berlin Philharmonic Concert Hall, a recording of many of the concerts done by the Berlin Philharmonic


British Values:

British Values in Music

Rule of law: Look briefly at copyright laws as part of doing covers and theme and variations.

Individual Liberty: Elements of civil rights explored in Jazz and Blues such as Racism. Gender equality briefly explored in the fact most great composers are male (and usually white).

Mutual respect: Lots of analysis and exploration of different cultures and music including – Caribbean Music, Samba, Jazz and Blues, Indian music, British Music and African Music

Tolerance of those of different faiths and beliefs: As part of the analysis of the wide variety of worlds music (Caribbean Music, Samba, Jazz and Blues, Indian music, British Music and African Music) we explore different faiths and beliefs to promote tolerance