“Music expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent” Shakespeare

“Young people can be found in the Music Department before school, during school, during break, during lunch, after school, and even when they should be somewhere else. For many young people the Music Department is more than just a place of learning – it’s a place of belonging.” Vaughan fleischfresser

Music is a powerful, unique form of communication that can change the way pupils feel, think and act. It brings together intellect and feeling and enables personal expression, reflection and emotional development. As an integral part of culture, past and present, it helps pupils understand themselves and relate to others, forging important links between home, school and the wider world. The teaching of music develops pupils’ ability to listen and appreciate a wide variety of music and to make judgements about musical quality. Music is a vehicle for individual expression, and it can play an important role in each students’ unique personal development.

Our music curriculum aims to provide high-quality music education which engages and inspires pupils to develop a love of music and their talent as musicians, increasing their self-confidence, creativity and sense of achievement. We enable students to develop a critical engagement with music, allowing them to compose, perform and to listen with discrimination to all types of music.

Music is unique in the way it brings people together and our curriculum ensures that every student is given the opportunity to take part and to experience music. It encourages active involvement in different forms of amateur music making, both individual and communal, developing a sense of group identity and togetherness. Music can play an important role in helping students feel part of a community and we provide opportunities for all to create, play, perform and enjoy music.


  • Our students develop the ability to listen to and appreciate a wide variety of music from different styles, periods and cultures. They will explore and express ideas and feelings about music, in a variety of ways.
  • We nurture a sense of community, group identity and togetherness through composing, rehearsing and performing music with others.
  • Our students have regular opportunities to create and develop musical ideas using instruments and technology. 
  • We help our students to develop self-discipline and creativity, aesthetic sensitivity and fulfilment through their music studies, thus helping to prepare them for post 16 provision. Whether it be further studies, employment or apprenticeships, the transferable skills that we support students to develop are invaluable, as well as preparing for music specific courses via our work at GCSE. 
  • We aim for our students develop an enjoyment of music which will sustain through their lives. 

Extra-curricular activities provide opportunities for students to participate in a variety of instrumental and vocal groups. These include orchestra, vocal groups/choirs, soul band, string group, brass band, guitar/ukulele groups and rock bands.  Tuition is available on all orchestral instruments as well as drum kit, guitar, bass guitar, piano/keyboard and vocals, provided by our team of visiting peripatetic staff.  Students from disadvantaged backgrounds are offered lessons which are heavily subsidised or free of charge.

Our ensembles regularly perform at various school concerts and shows during the year as well as at our annual Carol Service, local hospices, residential homes, at the Victorian Christmas Fayre, the Cathedral and local primary schools. As such the Music department holds a key role at Nunnery Wood and our musicians are outstanding ambassadors for the school. 


Staffing Structure
Curriculum Leader: Mrs C Reader
Phone: 01905 363653

Team Structure
Curriculum Leader for Music
2 additional Music teachers
Team of contracted instrumental/vocal teachers
1 Performing Arts teaching assistant/technician


Curriculum Facilities

  • 2 large Music classrooms, one of which has been kitted out as an Apple Mac suite with up to date music software.
  • 2 small instrumental tuition rooms.
  • 4 larger ‘break out’ practice rooms for practical lessons.
  • Use of the school theatre complete with orchestral pit.
  • Use of the technician’s box for sound and light clubs.
  • Staging/riser blocks for choral performances.


KS3 Description of the key skills, knowledge and understanding that are a prime focus of KS3 teaching in the subject area

The music curriculum aims to support students develop a love and passion for music as well as enabling student to develop creativity. We believe in learning by doing and therefore our projects revolve around practical music making.

Key music strands which are developed:

  • PERFORMANCE: Perform, learn to sing and to use their voices, 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
  • COMPOSITION: 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
  • APPRAISAL: 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.

Key skills that students will learn:

  • To play and perform confidently in a range of solo and ensemble contexts using their voice, playing instruments musically, fluently and with accuracy and expression. Instruments taught as a class include keyboard, percussion, ukulele, guitar and bass guitar.
  • To improvise and compose; and extend and develop musical ideas by drawing on a range of musical structures, styles, genres and traditions.
  • To use a range of relevant notations including TAB, chord boxes and standard notation, appropriately and accurately in a range of musical styles, genres and traditions.
  • To use a range of resources in order to create music, specifically looking at how computers can be used to manipulate live sound and generate whole tracks.
  • To identify and use the elements of music expressively and with increasing control and sophistication using different tonalities, types of scales and other musical devices.
  • To listen with increasing discrimination to a wide range of music from great composers and musicians.
  • To develop a deepening understanding of the music that they perform and to which they listen, and its history and context.

Organisation of the KS3 curriculum and how students are assessed. 

Students in years 7-9 study music in the curriculum for 1 hour a week. We aim to ensure that the music curriculum reflects the breadth of the music world as closely as possible and therefore each one of the following elements are built into the programme of study for each year group:

  • Modern/popular western music
  • Traditional/ ‘classical’ music
  • Music from around the world.

The timescale for each project can vary but most last around 8-9 weeks. Students are assessed on their performing, composing and understanding of music at the end of each project. Projects are built upon a spiral curriculum to ensure that each year concepts and skills are revisited and built upon. The current projects studied are as follows:

CREATIVE COMPOSITION: Exploring using GarageBand on the iMacs to make music creatively, learning about some key composing tools.

INTRODUCTION TO MUSIC: Learning how to use and play the keyboard as well as learning how to read standard music notation.

SAMBA: Studying the music of Brazil and working in groups to create a Samba piece.
UKULELE SONG PROJECT: Learning to play the ukulele and putting together a performance of a popular song.

BLUES: Learning about the guitar, reading TAB and also the history of blues music
VARIATIONS: Learning different methods to develop a melody and then using GarageBand to create a traditional theme and variations piece.

WORKING AS A BAND: Learning how chord based songs are put together and working as a group to create a performance of a piece of popular music using simple chords.

AFRICA: Learning about African a cappella singing and West African drumming.

REGGAE: Looking at Reggae music and its origins before putting together a piece of Reggae music as part of a band.

FILM MUSIC: Learning the tricks of the trade in film composition and then creating a short piece of music to go along with a film using GarageBand.

SONG PROJECT: Students develop further understanding of chords and chord progressions before forming a band to create their own ‘cover version’ of a song.

SONGWRITING: Focussing on how popular songs are put together before writing their own song backing on GarageBand, learning about lyrics and working like a producer would in a studio.

Sources of information that may be useful for a range of music and also really good how to guides for both performing on instruments and using the computer to create music. – can be used with school login for home practice. 

Music - OCR, J536

KS4 Description of the key skills, knowledge and understanding that are a prime focus of KS4 teaching in the subject area

OCR’s GCSE in Music encourages learners to:

  • engage actively and practically in the process of music study
  • develop performing skills individually and in groups to communicate musically with fluency and control of the resources used
  • develop composing skills to organise musical ideas and make use of appropriate resources
  • recognise links between the integrated activities of performing, composing and appraising and how this informs the development of music
  • broaden musical experience and interests, develop imagination and foster creativity
  • develop knowledge, understanding and skills needed to communicate effectively as musicians
  • develop awareness of a variety of instruments, styles and approaches to performing and composing
  • develop awareness of music technologies and their use in the creation and presentation of music
  • recognise contrasting genres, styles and traditions of music, and develop some awareness of musical chronology
  • develop as effective and independent learners with enquiring minds
  • reflect upon and evaluate their own and others’ music
  • engage with and appreciate the diverse heritage of music, in order to promote personal, social, intellectual and cultural development.

Through all of this it aims to ensure that all participants on the course develop their ability in the three main elements of Music: Performance, Composition and Appraisal. At the end of the course students are assessed on their ability in these three elements through recording 2 performances (1 solo and 1 ensemble), 2 compositions (1 for their instrument and 1 related to an area of study), and through a final exam where student will need to appraise the music used in several extracts of music.


Organisation of the KS4 curriculum (brief summary of long term plan of units and very approximate timings)

Year 10:

Introduction to performance work.
Basic composition tasks and introducing Sibelius notation software.
Rhythm reading and ensemble composition.
Study of film music and classical music used in films.
Study of African music, Indian Classical and Bhangra.

Mock solo performance.
Creating sketches and ideas for Composition 1 and development of ideas.
Study of Concertos through time, looking specifically at Baroque concerto grosso and the development of the solo concerto from Baroque through to the Romantic period.
Study of Samba and Calypso.

Study of Rock ‘n’ Roll, Solo pop artists.
Study of video game music.
Study of Indian Classical music.
Yr. 10 Mock exam.

Year 11:

Working on ensemble performance.
Work on Unit Two composition.
Study of rock anthems and pop ballads.
Study of eastern Mediterranean music.

Revision exercises related to learning styles and preparation for the exam.

Year 11 EXAM

Sources of information that may be useful (OCR GCSE Music specification) (BBC bitesize – Music page – Gives good advice on a range of music which is studied on the course) (a range of music and also really good how to guides for both performing on instruments and using the computer to create music) (Some interesting bits on a range of music) (good for a glossary of music terms) – useful for revision with school account login (GCSE students only)