Our music curriculum is focused on knowledge-rich teaching and learning with an emphasis on reading music, playing musical instruments to a competent level, singing and musical performance, composing and appraising music through a range of musicianship mediums, including music technology. Through classroom specialist teaching, weekly music assemblies, peripatetic teaching, enrichment activities, full scale productions and other showcase events, pupils at Castle Newnham are encouraged to see music as a key tool to building the whole person and seek opportunities that further their knowledge and skill as a musician. 

In Key Stage 1 (Years 1 and 2) we focus on developing a genuine interest for musical learning. Pupils learn the fundamentals of music and are able to perform these independently or in groups. In Key Stage 2, alongside following the national curriculum, our ambitious musicianship project enables pupils to learn a variety of instruments (to a sound level) by the end of primary. These will be whole class sessions and for each year a different instrument will be taught. Instruments include: Brass (Trumpet/French horn); Ukulele; Piano and Keyboard; Glockenspiel; and Recorder. In select year groups pupils will be given the instrument or opportunity to hire the instrument, to take it home to practise – further emphasising the need to practise over time and developing musical ability. In addition Upper Key Stage 2 lessons focus on a broad range of music schemes, including the foundations of knowledge for Music Technology.  Lessons are taught as part of a carousel in Years 1 to 4, where pupils experience a wide range of schemes in music. Year 5 and 6 learn music weekly in a dedicated specialist teaching space in the secondary building to further enhance their musical experience. 

In Key Stage 3 pupils are given the opportunity to further secure the foundation of Performing Arts education based on the knowledge learnt in primary school. Key Stage 3 (Year 7 to 8) pupils are taught twice a fortnight. Music lessons from Year 7 will feature Music Technology schemes of work. Music is taught on a 2 hour termly carousel in Year 9 as part of a Performing Arts carousel. In addition to the carousel in Year 9, pupils have the opportunity to dedicate more curriculum time through a subject preference, which includes music. Pupils continue to explore music and music technology through a range of topics that put musicianship at the forefront of everything they do. 

In Key Stage 4 we aim to allow learners to refine their understanding and knowledge of music based on prior learning; its culture, background and influences. Key Stage 4 serves to promote leadership and independence that will support them to further their learning. At Key Stage 4 pupils follow the Eduqas specification for GCSE Music.


Year Group Content

Our reception music curriculum is underpinned by the musical development matters curriculum guidance and is designed to teacher the fundamentals of music and foster a love of the arts. 

Introduction to Singing

  • What are the different ways that I can use my voice?

Starting to learn simple songs. Learning to start together and stop together and to sing in unison.


Music Zone

  • Designated music area


BBC Ten Pieces

  • Introduction to classical music
  • Introduction to composers


By the end of Year 1, pupils will have an understanding of pulse and rhythm and be able to move, clap, stomp and play instruments to the pulse. They will also get to experience singing and performing a range of different songs. It is in Year 1 that we hope to develop a level of feeling music and enjoying it. 

By the end of Year 2, pupils will have gained experience in playing the recorder. Being able to play a few different notes, follow a musical score and play as an ensemble. They will also further develop their singing and performing skills, focussing on how actions can mimic words.


By the end of Year 3, pupils will have gained experience in learning to play the Glockenspiel. Alongside this they will have developed their skills in composition, using their knowledge of the Glockenspiel and some basic musical elements. They will also continue to develop their singing and performing skills by singing in multiple parts, learning how to look after their voice and more vocal techniques like breathing and diction.

By the end of Year 4 pupils will have developed a deeper understanding of playing the recorder, solo and as part of an ensemble, playing more technically demanding music and following more complex musical scores. They will also continue to develop their singing and performing skills by singing in different genres, being able to identify what elements of music change for different genres, being able to aurally identify musical elements and, how to sing with the correct posture and good performance technique. Year 4 will also get the opportunity to start looking at Music Technology with the use of Chromebooks. They will have composed music using software, looking at making melodies and playing chords. 

By the end of Year 5, pupils will have been exposed to a range of musical techniques. We explore piano playing in great detail from playing music from a score in a piano project  to composing their own music accompanying their own singing. Year 5 also get the chance to combine their music making with Music Technology. They will create their own music with instruments and then use Music Technology to create an appropriate accompaniment track to perform over as an ensemble. 

By the end of Year 6, pupils will have had an opportunity to develop their musicianship in a range of instruments. They get the opportunity to learn how to play the Ukulele and combine this with singing to create an ensemble performance. They also get the chance to learn a brass instrument and the steel pans as part of whole class ensemble projects. We continue to look at singing and performing in Year 6, with an emphasis on understanding the meaning behind musical theatre songs and how to portray this when performing the song. Finally, they get the chance to combine all that previous knowledge of instrumental playing, sing and performing in order to write their own music. 

The scheme of learning for Year 7 Music is split evenly between Music and Music Technology. In Music they will learn how to read traditional music notation for the piano, with both hands, how to play the piano and perform a piece of music as a solo. They will also develop their knowledge of the musical elements and traditional western orchestral instruments and realise this knowledge through composition of programme music and character composition. 

In Music Technology Year 7 will first experience a more advanced DAW in the form of Garageband for iPad. They will learn how to recreate a real song to get to know the software. They then use this knowledge to write their own piece of pop music using the famous ‘4 chords’. They finish off their Music Tech learning by using the wider features of Garageband and creating a remix of an original song.

The scheme of learning for Year 8 Music is split evenly between Music and Music Technology. In Music, they will learn how to play the Ukulele, read Ukulele TAB as a newly developed skill and be able to transfer this over to ensemble playing and singing. They will also combine those Ukulele skills with the Keyboard skills from last year in a band project where they work more independently towards an ensemble performance of a song of their choosing. They cap off the year by learning about blues music, how it has influenced music today, its history and how to play basic blues chords, scales and improvisation on the piano. 

In Music technology at Year 8, they progress to using Garageband on the Apple Macs which is slightly more sophisticated than the iPad. They delve into the world of film music, learning its conventions, how it manipulates the musical elements and how to compose their own music to a film clip. We then develop their knowledge of the DAW functions by creating a mashup of two songs in which their knowledge of chords are strengthened and they learn how to use features such as loops and beat sequencers. The final Music Technology scheme Year 8 look at is how Classical music can be integrated into music technology so we listen to a wide range of classical music and see how we can manipulate its features to be used in a piece of dance music. 

In the Year 9 course of learning for all pupils they still get the chance to experience both Music and Music Technology as separate subjects. In Music Technology they take a deep dive into the world of Electronic Dance Music, listening to various genres from EDM to Drum and Bass music. They then use this knowledge to compose their own Electronic Dance Music using all the appropriate musical features. 

In their Music lessons Year 9 pupils will get to undertake a band project. This is a lot of independent music work to allow the pupils to choose their own path and all have a lot more individual performances. They will choose a song in any genre, research the use of instruments, vocals and musical features to create their own lead sheet, and put together an ensemble performance that is presented to the class.

Preference Subject


For the Year 9 pupils that choose Music as a preference subject, we delve into a range of musical genres such as Minimalism, World Music, Film Music and Samba music. We give the pupils the opportunity to play a wide range of instruments when looking at these genres and integrate musical knowledge development, performance and composition into all aspects. We also continue to develop their ensemble skills with a Live Lounge scheme in which pupils have to put together a band performance, taking into consideration the overall aesthetic of themselves, the staging and performance space just like a true touring musician! 

There are 3 components that make the Music GCSE - Performing, composing and appraising. Both the performing and composing components are coursework. Over the course of the 2 years, pupils are required to produce 2 compositions, one freely and one to a set brief, and these are both submitted in Year 11. For the performance component, pupils are expected to perform a solo piece and an ensemble piece at the end of Year 11 to show their progress on their instrument over the course of the qualification. The appraising component is the section of the GCSE that culminates in an exam. Over the 2 years pupils will learn about 4 Areas of Study - Structure and Form, Popular Music, Film Music and Music for Ensemble. On top of this, they will continue to develop their knowledge of music theory to aid them in the exam where they are given various examples of music and are asked to comment on certain aspects that they have learnt.