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Curriculum Intent

We believe that all pupils should have access to musical learning and, whatever their level of musicianship, should be encouraged to participate in regular musical activities. It is known that exposure to music has the ability to stimulate and even enhance key aspects of development in young people providing a powerful and unique form of communication and self-expression. At CGS, students will develop an appreciation of music through practical exploration of a wide variety of genres. They will strengthen their communication and listening skills by working collaboratively and develop their confidence by performing in front of their peers. Learning through music will also increase their self–discipline, creativity, the ability to take risks, their aesthetic sensitivity and sense of personal fulfilment. Students will develop a sound knowledge of Western notation and compositional techniques in order for them to continue to access, listen to and appreciate music after CGS.

By bringing together elements of intellect and feeling, music can change the way students think and act towards each other.  Thus, positive engagement with music is encouraged for all students at CGS to provide these opportunities for their personal expression, reflection, and emotional well-being.


Key Stage 3

Year 7 Year 8 Year 9
  • Rhythm: Africa, Rap and HipHop
  • Folk Music and pitch
  • Sound and the musical elements
  • Medieval music
  • Musical structures
  • Orchestra
  • Arranging
  • Music Technology
  • Musical cycles and minimalism
  • Song writing

  • Jazz and Latin America
  • Musicals
  • Music and media
  • Baroque: Concerto, Ground Bass and Variations
  • Musical Futures



Key Stage 3 assessment

  • Each unit is assessed half-termly with students giving solo or ensemble performances to the class, coupled with short written exercises


Key Stage 4

Edexcel GCSE Music (1MU0)

Year 10 Year 11

Students study five out of the eight prescribed set works:

  • Purcell Music for a While
  • John Williams Star Wars
  • Esperanza Spalding Samba Em Preludio
  • Beethoven Pathetique Sonata 1st movement
  • Queen Killer Queen

Students also complete one composition and prepare their solo and ensemble performances to be recorded in Year 11.

Students study the remaining three set works:

  • Bach Brandenburg Concerto no.5 3rd movement
  • Afro Celt Sound System Release
  • Schwartz: Wicked Defying Gravity


Students also complete one composition set to a choice of briefs provided by the exam board and record four minutes of solo and instrumental playing.

Key Stage 5

Cambridge Pre-U Music (9800)

Year 12/13

Component 1: Listening, Analysis and Historical Study

Section A: The symphony in the Classical Period (1740-1802).  Approaches to performance practice and understanding the development of the symphony

Section B: Opera in the 19th Century.  Students study opera excerpts from Wagner, Verdi, Bellini and Weber.  Additionally, students practise aural skills such as dictation and chord recognition

Section C: Analysis of a set work (Gershwin Rhapsody in Blue)


Component 2: Performing


Component 3: Composing and Harmony

Compositional techniques and harmony exercises (Bach chorales/ Jazz chords/ Romantic piano).


Component 4: Personal study

Students will either choose to explore performing, composing or write a dissertation on a chosen topic.


Key Stage 5 assessment

  • Students are assessed by completing weekly harmony exercises and aural tests
  • Longer written responses are completed fortnightly
  • Performing is assessed on a regular basis by participation in public school events and extracurricular activities


Curriculum enrichment outside of the classroom

The Music Department hosts a huge variety of events and extra-curricular activities. Highlights of the musical calendar include Christmas in Words and Music, the school production, Spring Concert, House Performing Arts and smaller soloists/chamber music concerts. Music also occurs in assemblies and prize-giving evenings providing students a wealth of opportunities to perform.


Our ensembles include:

  • Orchestra
  • Choir
  • String Group
  • Junior orchestra
  • Man Choir
  • Close harmony vocal groups
  • String Chamber Music
  • Flute choir
  • Y13 ensemble
  • Jazz group
  • Brass group
  • Technology/Theory/Composition club
  • Guitar ensemble
  • Percussion ensemble
  • Pop/Rock Bands


Students also have opportunities to enjoy music trips to see professional orchestras and artists perform.  In the last two years, choir has attended a singing workshop for schools at Watford Colosseum; GCSE and A Level students have visited the Royal Festival Hall and Queen Elizabeth Hall and Waterside Theatre, Aylesbury for performances of their set works and there have been trips to the opera at theatres in Hatfield and Milton Keynes.

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