Our music department is committed to embracing and nurturing the academic and performance abilities of any pupil who is interested in music.

Subject Area Curriculum Intent


Research suggests that individuals who are musically trained show better working memory, improved language abilities, increased attention span, creativity, emotional resilience and empathy, as well as showing increasing attainment in other subject areas, than those who have no musical training.

In addition, true progress in Music can only be achieved by discipline, hard work and organisation, all of which are core values of JMCC.

Over the last months as students have been at home, one of the biggest challenges has been how we enable students to have experiences of practical music without equipment or instruments. With the return to school, we are anxious that the students are able to develop skills in performance and composition in a range of musical instruments and styles, which we consider to be at the very core of musical development.


Section 1: Principles at Key Stage 3

The Music curriculum is underpinned by three core components as laid out in the National Curriculum: performing, composing and listening and appraising. Listening and appraising runs through every part of every lesson, but more specific skills are developed through homework quizzes. The curriculum aims to strike a reasonable balance between performance and composition as these are equally weighted at GCSE. Pupils are given opportunity to develop skills on a wide variety of instruments (keyboards, ukuleles, guitar, bass guitar, drums, djembes, boomwhackers) in order to develop a specialism which they can take through to GCSE. They are also exposed to a wide variety of musical styles.

Year 7

    • Playing chords on ukulele/keyboard.
    • Playing melodies on keyboards.
    • Reading rhythm and staff notation.
    • Composing melodies.
    • Understanding and using the elements of music for effect.
    • Ensemble and solo performance.
    • Rehearsal skills.
    • Units are: Principles of Harmony (ukulele), Principles of Pitch (boomwhackers), Principles of Rhythm (chair drumming), Video Game Music (composition), Popular Music (ensemble performance)


Year 8

    • Playing chords on ukulele/keyboard/guitar.
    • Playing longer melodies on keyboards.
    • Reading complex rhythms and staff notation.
    • Composing melodies and accompaniments.
    • Understanding and using the elements of music for effect with more technical language.
    • Ensemble and solo performance.
    • Rehearsal skills.
    • Units are: Blues (ukulele), Djembe drumming, Caribbean Music (keyboards), Film (composition), Popular Music (ensemble performance)


Assessing the impact of Music teaching

    • Year 7s to take baseline Aural Appraisal test in September
    • Thereafter there will be termly listening/appraising assessments
    • Assessed recordings of student performances to provide assessment data
    • Student voice
    • Students demonstrating skills through a number of mediums rather than focusing on one instruments (preparation for GCSE Appraising and Composition)


The planning has been sequenced with the following things in mind:

KS3: balance of performance and composition focused units, as well as alternating familiar and unfamiliar musical styles to keep pupils engaged.

KS3: mixture of classical/film, popular and world music units to ensure pupils are experiencing a breadth of musical material in line with the Eduqas GCSE specification.

KS3: to enable students to experience a wider variety of instruments and styles, in Years 7/8 the units are rotating when classes are taught at the same time to get the most impactful use out of the equipment.

KS4: Y10 starting with popular music, again to enable students to get to grips with the style of teaching and content of the course in a musical genre with which they feel more confident.

KS4: Theory to be taught through popular music and film music (composition focus) as more engaging.

KS4: Classical musical to be final unit when pupils are more comfortable with key concepts and terminology


Section 2: Connectedness (linking and co-ordinating)

    • Understanding of foundational music theory concepts
    • Listening skills and key terminology with which to discuss unfamiliar music.
    • Competency in performance skills on at least one chordal instrument (piano/guitar/ukulele) as well as any other preferred instruments.
    • Understanding of the use of the musical elements to create effect in composition

The progression of all students

    • Carefully selected music for performance tasks allow for personalisation in the lessons; more able students are able to be stretched and less able are appropriately supported to achieve.
    • Individually differentiated parts to enable students to experience the curriculum through their own instrument where applicable. 
    • ‘Bright Spark’ higher thinking questions/tasks for stretch and challenge embedded into lessons.
    • HW tasks repeatedly test and consolidate keywords and principles for Appraising.
    • Peripatetic music lessons are fully funded in Year 11 and partially funded in Year 10 (except for PP pupils, who are fully funded throughout the course)

Core principles of the KS4 curriculum

Performance: to be able to perform with ‘accuracy, technical control and expression and interpretation’ at a GCSE-appropriate standard of difficulty (instrumental Grade 3 or higher).

Composition: to be able to compose music with ‘creativity and development of musical ideas’, ‘technical control of musical elements and resources’ and ‘structure and stylistic coherence’ as well as being able to respond to a brief.

Listening and Appraising: to be able to analyse familiar and unfamiliar music using musical language in a wide range of musical styles.


Section 3: five year impact

The Relevance of Music as a subject area

Students should have:

    • An experiential understanding of the importance that music plays in everyday life, wellbeing and self-expression.
    • An understanding of Music as an academically rigorous subject, requiring high levels of self-discipline in order to achieve success, as well as a multitude of transferable skills: perseverance, creativity, empathy, co-operation, commitment, logic and problem solving.
    • An understanding that ‘talent’ or academic ability are not automatically the cornerstones on which musical success is built, but participation, the seizing of opportunities, hard work, discipline and rehearsal

Music as a subject needs to deliver experiences which increase cultural capital, which can be achieved through a variety of means:

    • Extra-curricular opportunities – due to the restrictions of covid this year we are focusing on producing recorded music, in particular linked to cultural events such as Black History Month or International Women’s Day.
    • Peripatetic instrumental/vocal lessons
    • Opportunities to perform – where possible this will take the form of live concerts, but also recordings, the development of the SoundCloud page and in class.
    • Opportunities to experience live performance where possible.
    • Other music related trips where possible


The relevance and importance of the Music curriculum

The curriculum acknowledges that whilst not every child may take to music, or continue performing and composing throughout their lives, all children can achieve and become true musicians, and that every child should have as wide-ranging a musical experience as possible to ensure that they are given every opportunity to unearth an aptitude for and/or a love of music that is often found in unexpected places. We believe that self-expression and creativity are vital to mental wellbeing and achievement, and that the rigorous demands of performance enable students to develop discipline, commitment and resilience in the face of struggle, which is ultimately what will lead them to reach their potential in all areas of life. We celebrate the fact that Music does not follow the norms of ‘ability’, as we see many SEND students reach outstanding achievement where in other subject areas they might struggle, and we value communication and human connection, particularly for EAL students who are able to fully engage with the curriculum through concrete examples and non-verbal communication


Section 4: Teaching and Learning


Retrieval practice: this takes place every lesson, most obviously in the form of low-stakes quizzing. However, it is more subtly present in students’ interpreting sheet music, use of fine motor skills in the development of muscle memory, and drawing on problem solving in order to evaluate their own performance, identify and correct mistakes.

Interleaving: homework quizzes regularly test key words linked to the musical elements – this continues through all 5 years. In assessment and retrieval practice quizzes these concepts are often interleaved to closely replicate the GCSE Listening exam. In addition, it is the combination of these concepts in a practical sense that makes successful performers and composers, and this is reflected in assessment criteria.

Spaced practice: homework quizzes regularly recall information from several lessons previous. Broader units of work cover the ‘big’ areas, such as pitch/notation and rhythm, and these are revisited and built upon throughout the curriculum.

Elaboration: attention is drawn to the wider application of key concepts in different styles and genres, with explicit links being drawn between different instruments.

Concrete examples: no musician could ever communicate without an instrument in their hand to demonstrate their point! This year staff will be using the visualizers to demonstrate performance work, as well as continuing to build upon our bank of high quality examples from last year.



    • Students are not only delivered new material in steps, but are trained in rehearsal techniques to break down those steps even further so that they can ‘chunk’ learning to their individual needs.
    • The pace at which the curriculum is delivered is based upon students’ practice needs. We are aiming to increase the amount of productive practice time that students have during lessons, ensuring that are employing good rehearsal discipline.
    • When learning to perform/compose a longer piece of music, the overview is given, but it is made explicit how much ground will be covered during that lessons, even if students are rehearsing the same piece for a number of weeks



    • Language for learning is taken from the Eduqas GCSE Music specification, which has published a full list of subject specific language. The aim is to increase year on year the amount of that language which is covered at KS3, as well as pupils’ confidence in using it.
    • Key words which are introduced in the lesson are revisited weekly through Edmodo and Focus on Sound quiz homework. The department has chosen to have a weekly 5-10 minute homework on keywords at KS3, rather than longer homework every four lessons.
    • The consistent format of the homework and the constant cycle of revisiting language linked to the musical elements particularly benefits SEND and EAL students who are able to attempt the multiple-choice quizzes without fully developed language skills.
    • Dual coding is used to support language acquisition, whether that be through pictures for more theoretical concepts, or practical tasks and demonstrations


Music Lessons

Students benefit from the teaching of staff who maintain active professional performing careers. A variety of talented peripatetic instrumental teachers come into school to deliver high quality lessons to students on a private basis. Students are entered for performance exams with a variety of internationally renowned exam boards, and are incredibly successful. For more information about instrumental lessons, please see the information listed below:

At Judgemeadow we offer instrumental and vocal lessons with a variety of outstanding private peripatetic teachers.  There is a cost involved, but this is a wonderful opportunity for students to develop their interests and valuable life skills. Pupils receive their instrumental/vocal lessons during the school day but all communication regarding the arrangement and payments are made directly between parents/carers and the instrumental/vocal teacher. 

The provisions are as follows:


Instrument Name of Teacher Teacher contact details
Woodwind (flute, clarinet, saxophone) Ms Su Robinson
Piano Mr Martyn Hill

Drum Kit Mr Damon Clarridge
Guitar (electric, bass & classical)

Mr Michael Haddon  (Noise Tuition)


Ms Lornette Ford (Leicester Vocal Tech)

Brass (trumpet, cornet, trombone)

Mr Alan Holford
Violin, Viola Ms Tamaki Dickenson

If you would like to start playing a musical instrument or continue to learn, then please contact the relevant teacher.  If you already have lessons and would like to continue with a teacher not on our list then please ask your teacher to contact Mrs O’Hara

If you have any questions regarding instrumental/vocal tuition please feel free to talk to or email Mrs O’Hara (email address at the bottom of this page)



Judgemeadow students perform in several concerts each year, ranging from major performances in school, to informal concerts, assemblies or recitals that introduce pupils to the experience of performing in public for the first time. A number of students go on to study music at A level, and many of our past students have gone on to study music at major universities and music colleges.

You can hear our student performances for yourself by visiting the Judgemeadow Soundcloud page where their exceptional talent is showcased. 


Performance Exams

Students can be entered for performance exams with the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music in consultation with their instrumental/vocal teacher. The college is an examination centre for the ABRSM. This means that students are able to take their graded practical exams during a week towards the end of each term.The department recognises that music exams are not the most appropriate target for all young musicians, and informal or formal performance opportunities are therefore integral to the school's concert programme with a view to providing appropriate goals for every student.


curriculum overview

term year 7 year 8 year 9 year 10 year 11
Autumn 1 Chair drumming Drumming performance West African Music Djembe performance and composition


Keyboard and percussion performance

Step Up – Music Theory Solo

Performance Pupil choice

AoS2: Music for Ensemble Ensemble Performance
Autumn 2 Learn to Play Ukulele Ukulele performance Blues Keyboard/Ukulele performance and improvisation Stormzy v Mozart Keyboard/other performance AoS4: Popular Music Composition Brief
Spring 1


Keyboard performance

Film Performance Keyboard performance Musical Technology SoundTrap AoS3: Film Music
Spring 2/Summer 1 Video Game Music Keyboard Composition Film Composition Keyboard composition

Solo Performance

Pupil choice

AoS1: Form and Structure AoS Revision
Summer 2

Popular Music

Band skills

Riffs and Ostinatos

Band instruments

  Free Composition

Head of Music