For an overview of the pathways through the curriculum, please see our information page here.


Welcome to the Music Department

Our Vision

Music is fun, it can lift your spirits or help you to express emotions.  Music decreases stress and can improve your health.  Music boosts brain activity, exercising both sides of your brain and works on developing skills such as maths, science, physical coordination and language – all while keeping in time with a beat!  Music helps us to define our identify and culture, and helps us to understand more about other cultures.  The Music Industry is one of the most competitive and exciting in the world…

The ALNS Music Curriculum is about experiencing live and digital music through creativity and performance.  Musicianship skills such as playing instruments, reading notation, analysing and listening to music are taught through practical projects.

Students improvise and compose their own music, drawing on their experience with different musical styles from western and world music traditions.  Students use music technology to record, edit, loop, notate and sequence music.

We also have a range of visiting music teachers offering instrumental lessons in strings, woodwind, brass, piano, drums, guitar (classical and electric) and singing. A range of clubs and activities taught by music staff and visiting musicians are available to students throughout the year.


KS3 Curriculum

What new skills will I be learning?
  • Control and coordination on the keyboard, xylophone and guitar
  • Keeping in time with an ensemble
  • Creating soundtracks using patterns and layers
  • Playing chords and chord sequences
  • African drumming
  • Singing and performing to a live audience
In Year 7, you will study…

Sea Shanties
Learn about our local, musical heritage through the study of sea shanties and hornpipes. Develop instrumental techniques and skills to help you perform our local hit shanty – Portsmouth!

Medieval Music
Learn where and how music started.  Discover Gregorian Chant, early polyphony and perform a medieval sword dance!

Christmas Music
Get in the mood for Christmas with some festive songs and carols. Try your hand at the hand bells for a special festive challenge.

Guitar Skills
Develop key guitar skills including chord shapes, strumming patterns and picking along with some background on the development of the instrument.

Chords and Structure
Learn how to construct a basic 4 chord song.   Be able to work in a band and write your own hit song.

Gambia Project 
Learn to perform some challenging polyrhythms on the African Drums while exploring the role of music in Africa’s culture.  Take part in Gambia Evening with your class.


Welcome to Year 8 Music!

All activities in class are fully practical and you will have opportunities to sing and play in a range of groups including class ensembles, duets and trios, rock bands and vocal ensembles.  You will perform in class gigs and make recordings of your work throughout the year.  Sometimes you will also edit your recordings using music software.  You will also use music technology in lessons and learn techniques for sequencing and notating music.

What new skills will I be learning?
  • Band Skills: how to successfully put together a band and make the most of rehearsals
  • Reading chord symbols:  using notations to help you create different arrangements of songs
  • Improvising: building up solos over a chord sequence
  • Composing: writing music in layers, using ostinatos and riffs, writing chord sequences
  • Listening: comparing similar and different features in musical styles
  • Music Technology: looping, sequencing and notating music
In Year 8, you will study…

Chords and Structure
Sing and analyse a range of pop songs, looking at how they are put together.  Consider techniques such as hooks, riffs, repetition and song structure before writing your own song for the Year 8 ‘Battle of the Bands’.

Explore this special, musical form from the Classical Period and learn about the instruments of the orchestra.  Perform a class Rondo, talking a development section each in small groups.

Christmas CD Project
Introduction to the music industry through our own ‘band aid’ project.  Working in small bands/groups, record a class Christmas song for a Y8 charity CD to sell at the annual ALNS ‘Bizarre Bazaar’.

Afro-American Pop Music
Discover a range of Latin and American pop styles.  Develop improvising skills with the pentatonic scale.

The Blues
Discover the historical and social context of the blues.  Perform a 12 bar blues with improvisation on the blues scale.  Learn how the blues has influenced rock music.

Classical Quest
Project looking at the lives of two great composers – J.S. Bach and Beethoven.  Learn to play some of the most famous themes in classical music history, focusing on keyboard skills.

Listening Practice
More development of your listening and analysis skills, concentrating on chords and structures, comparing musical styles and a history of music.  Notation practice with software and prep for your Y8 terminal exam.

Feeling Good
Perform and improvise with this famous jazz song.  Learn about compound time, minor keys and chords.

KS4 Curriculum

In Year 9, you will study…

Classical Destinations (Norway)
Learn about programme music and Nationalism.  Discover how music can be used to tell a story.  Perform Grieg’s famous ‘In the Hall of the Mountain King’.  Recap your notation skills and learn a greater range of musical symbols.

Film Music
Perform some famous film themes as an introduction.  Research, analyse and present a film composer including clips or a performance from one of their scores.  Analyse film clips and identify motif, hit point, incidental music and effects.

Christmas Challenge
The ultimate Christmas Music challenge.  Students learn as many Christmas songs as you can in chronological order, developing solo and ensemble performing skills.

The Great American Songbook
A study of American popular music and culture from the 1920’s to the 1950’s.  Explore an overview history and reflect on the social conventions of 1950’s America.  Study and perform a variety of songs from films and musicals of the time.

Loopy Loops
Explore sampling and editing in Music Technology to create your own remix or soundtrack for a computer game style visual.

Listening Practice
Listening and theory practice focusing on style and interpretation as well as new topics and concepts.  Continued development of notation skills.  Terminal exam prep.

Music and War
Consider the role of music in WW1 & 2 including fanfares, marches, anthems and songs for the troops.  Learn about the instruments of the big band and research some of the great band leaders of this era.  Analyse the melodic and rhythmic features of the March and compose in this style.

Music Industry Project
Take part in a carousel of music technology challenges and projects this term including multi-track recording, editing and sequencing.  Intro to music BTEC – Create your own group album ‘Now that’s what I call Year 9’.


Welcome to Year 10 & 11 Music!

In KS4, students can opt to study BTEC Level 2 Award in Music. Equivalent to 1 GCSE at A*-C grade, students work through the course during Years 10 and 11. Building on skills learned during KS3, we focus on the specialist skills of performance and composition as well as developing a working knowledge of the music industry. BTEC Music is a fully practical, fun course that develops performance, musicianship and vocational skills.

The Edexcel BTEC Level 2 First Certificate in Music is a 15-credit qualification that consists of one core unit plus two specialist units that provide for a combined total of 15 credits

In Year 10 & 11, you will study…

Unit 1 – The Music Industry
Externally Assessed with a 1 hour exam.  Learn about the music industry, roles and organisations and different career paths.

Unit 2 – Creating a Music Product
Create your own CD from planning to promotion.  A practical and enterprising unit to use both musical and vocational skills.

Unit 4 – Introducing Music Composition
Compose music as a soundtrack to an advert using a range of techniques and effects.  Produce your own recordings and scores.

Unit 5 – Introducing Music Performance
Develop your rehearsal and performance skills as a musician.  Work towards goals and targets and produce your best performances for live events.

For our Music BTEC, we use Edexcel:

BTEC Firsts Music (2013)

Students in Key Stage 3 Music are assessed through their practical performance work and written tasks. Students complete an assessment  at the end of each Scheme of Learning, this could be a performance, a listening test or a written task. They are marked using the criteria on the Music Progress ladder which they then use to set targets to develop their skills further. Students are assessed on their musical accuracy and technique,  expressions and musicality, their ability to compose music, group work skills and the quality of written work.

In Key Stage 4 students can follow the Edexcel BTEC Music scheme. This course is continually assessed through practical work, workshops, performances and a log book that students must keep. There is one externally assessed element of the course which is a written examination.

All students are entitled to:
  • a positive, safe learning environment that encourages the development of performance skills and the sharing of work within a culture of mutual respect and shared responsibility.
  • be actively engaged in their own learning whilst being challenged and motivated to take responsibility for their own development and take risks!
  • experience well planned lessons which challenge them, provide clear assessment and regular performance opportunities whilst reflecting upon their own learning and development.
  • regular opportunities to perform both within lessons and at public performances such as Performing Arts evenings, Concerts, Festivals and the School Productions.


Teaching within Music lessons should have:
  • a positive ethos which promotes an atmosphere for learning in which all students feel safe and confident to perform and feedback honestly about others work and their own development.
  • clear levels of challenge to enable students to develop their technical and interpretive skills, group work skills, also practising higher order thinking skills, creativity, problem solving and independence.
  • well planned lessons in which learning aims are clear and shared with all students enabling them to understand the purpose of their learning and how to make progress. Methods and purpose of assessments are shared with students at every opportunity.
  • a culture of mutual respect in which students effort and achievement is celebrated.


How we achieve high quality Teaching and Learning within Music: 
  • ASSESSMENT: Promotes learning within Music. Students are assessed using levels from 3-8. They are assessed every half term at the end of a Scheme of Learning. This is through a combination of performance, self and peer assessment. All assessment is recorded in students log-books.
    At KS4 students follow the BTEC courses. Their assessment is on-going, rigorous and forms the basis of each lesson. Students work through assignments and always know what their targets are and how to make progress. (Refer to specifications for more details of the delivery of these courses).
  • TEACHING: Teachers create positive, safe learning environments with clear ground rules and expectations. Learning aims are shared with students at every opportunity and success is celebrated every lesson through the sharing of work and feedback.

The culture of success, praise and reward enables lessons within Music to be positive, dynamic and engaging. Students want to perform and share their work within a supportive environment and without judgement. This is common practise throughout the faculty.


Effective lessons within Music have the following features:
  • All objectives and intended outcomes are shared with the students.
  • Expectations are always high for the quality of work, concentration and behaviour.
  • Lessons are well-structured.
  • Clear vocabulary is used and is always explained.
  • Classes and groups are well organised.
  • There is clear explanation of learning.
  • A variety of activities are used i.e an effective balance between whole class work, group work, independent learning and teacher led activities.
  • Good pace and timing.
  • Effective use of resources.
  • Strong and effective assessment that is shared with students.


Music enables pupils to:
  • bring together intellect and feeling, enabling personal expression, reflection and emotional development;
  • develop physical control and coordination through vocal and instrumental skills;
  • develop confidence and self-esteem;
  • link into the world and community through the study of music in the past and present
  • understand themselves, relate to others and develop their cultural understanding, forging important links between home, school and the wider world.
  • develop critical skills: the ability to listen, to appreciate a wide variety of music, and to make judgments about musical quality
  • increase their self-discipline, creativity, aesthetic sensitivity and fulfillment


Effective Music Strategies
  • Aural Modelling to allow students to quickly learn a part from memory – folk styles, world music styles, popular styles.  Allows focus on technique rather than accuracy of score-reading.
  • Community Learning whole class ensemble: the unity of everyone contributing to the overall effect of the ensemble, taking responsibility for their own part.  Can also be used as a modelling technique before moving onto small group work.   Choirs, world music ensembles, orchestras…
  • Classroom Workshopping whole class ensemble where students create their own parts over a ‘groove’ set by the teacher.  Improvisation focussed, this strategy encourages creativity and listening.
  • Non-formal learning allowing students to access aural and scored resources to learn a part independently.  The part is differentiated for the student by the teacher.
  • Informal learning the opportunity for the student to select their own repertoire and resources, working independently while the teacher supports.  Encourages the student to discover repertoire suitable for their ability, deepen their love of their own voice/instrument and engage with new techniques.
  • Co-operative learning to allow students to evaluate their strengths and take on an enterprising role within a group, working together as a team towards the creation of a musical product or project.  Good for song writing, CD making, recording, band skills etc.
  • KS3 Strategy uses the concepts of style, genre and tradition to challenge students to evaluate, compare and analyse music. Benefit is that students can more easily link different musical styles and explore influences.
  • Informal Composition teacher follows the process ‘observe – select – guide’ in order to help the student use techniques appropriate to their composing style.  Modelling is kept to a minimum.