Music

Our Music curriculum

KS3 Music curriculum

Intent: It is hard to imagine a world without music and at St Leonard’s pupils are taught to appreciate a wide variety of musical styles, ranging from Bach to Bebop. Pupils are taught how music works, and how to compose and perform. We believe that music lives beyond the classroom. As a result, there is a wealth of opportunity for pupils to develop their musical skills in a wide range of extra-curricular activities, ranging from informal drum and keyboard clubs to outstanding orchestras and choirs. There are at least two high profile concerts per year, where pupils are able to perform to a large and appreciative audience, thus strengthening community cohesion and developing their confidence and resilience.

Music is studied by all pupils for one hour a week at KS3, with a healthy uptake at GCSE and A Level. The department is rightly proud of its excellent reputation, which centres around very high-quality teaching by skilled and experienced staff in a purpose built and well-equipped area of the school where creativity thrives.

Pupils are encouraged to make music, and to think more musically from the moment they arrive in the department in Year 7. The theory of music is taught through a range of immersive listening, composing and performance opportunities.

The pillar of music education can be seen and heard through the department’s focus on musical elements, such as melody, rhythm and structure. Indeed, these elements underpin musical education through a pupil’s time in the school and, hopefully, well beyond it.

Of course, no music department would be complete without a range of additional instrumental lessons and enrichment activities on offer and St Leonard’s is well served by the Durham Music Service and private teachers, and a diverse assortment of exciting enrichment opportunities freely available and open to young musicians of all abilities.

Year 7Year 8Year 9
Half term 1Rhythm Quartet Frère Jacques arrangementReggae project
Half term 2Melody writing Christmas carolsReggae project
Half term 3Keyboard skills Bass clef and bass riffs Band project 
Half term 4Sensational sounds  12 Bar Blues Band project 
Half term 5Ternary form  Instrumental skills and group performance  Music with a message  
Half term 6Soundtracks Instrumental skills and group performance  Music with a message  

KS4 GCSE Music

Exam board: OCR
Course code: J536
Examinations: NEA integrated portfolio 30%, Practical component – ensemble performance 30%, Listening and appraising written paper 40%
Progression routes: A music qualification has many transferable skills, and employers look for people who can collaborate in teams, think creatively and show tenacity, all of which are integral skills for musicians. Future career routes could include the following: Performance, Teaching, Arts and entertainment management, Marketing, Music therapy, Music studio technician

Year 10Year 11
Half term 1Music theory/bridging 
Refine performance and  composition skills and revise all areas of study
Half term 2AoS2 the concerto through time
Refine performance and  composition skills and revise all areas of study
Half term 3AoS3 rhythms of the world 
Refine performance and  composition skills and revise all areas of study
Half term 4AOS4 film music
Refine performance and  composition skills and revise all areas of study
Half term 5AoS5 conventions of pop Revision
Practice papers
Performance and composition final deadlines
Half term 6AoS5 conventions of pop Revision

KS5 courses

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Updated | 23rd January, 2024 |

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On Tuesday the 13th February, a very special concert took place at Durham’s magnificent Town Hall. James Weeks, the conductor of Exaudi, a small professional chamber choir, has been working on composition with Year 13 A Level music pupils since the spring of 2023. Following a series of workshops in school, the compositions were finally performed […]

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In October 2023 the school moved Year 7 and 8 to Ushaw College, so we could resume Face to Face Teaching for all year groups as soon as possible. This allowed the school to deliver a broad and balanced curriculum, and we are grateful that Durham University and Ushaw were able to be accommodate us […]

Oxbridge

Six brilliant candidates have received offers from Oxford or Cambridge this year. Congratulations to them all and we wish them every success as they prepare for their A Levels. Thank you to Miss Bird and all the Sixth Form staff who have given excellent support – as ever – during the application process. 

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