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“Music begins where the possibilities of language end” Jean Sibelius

The overarching aim for Music at Sharples School is for learners to develop a musical understanding, appreciation, and enjoyment through a variety of different genres and cultures of music. The Music Department’s ambition is that all learners will be engaged with creative processes through improvisation and composition, listening (through technical exercises and the exploration of musical meaning and purpose) and performance work. Our vision is delivered throughout the curriculum and through a wealth of extra-curricular clubs and opportunities.

Music is part of the National Curriculum and we strive to ensure that all pupils have the opportunity to perform, listen to, review and evaluate music across a range of historical periods, genres, styles and traditions, including the works of the great composers and musicians. Through sequences of learning, we have created pathways for pupils to develop as vocalists and/or instrumentalists

The Sharples Music Curriculum aims to ensure that all students:

  • Develop a thorough understanding of music, through performing, composing, listening and analysing.
  • Encourage creativity through composition skills.
  • Use music technology correctly and appropriately.
  • Develop their cross-curricular skills of problem solving, perseverance, diligence, team work, time management, organisation and responsibility.

At Key Stage 3 students have one music lesson per week and they are taught in mixed ability groups. As students progress through KS3, their musical knowledge and practical skills are further developed, increasing their understanding of the key terminology and musical language as well as developing their own oracy skills. By the time students have reached the end of KS3 they will be well equipped with the knowledge, practical skills and terminology required for them to be successful, should they wish to study music at GCSE level.

Key Concepts

The key concepts in Music are embedded throughout the curriculum and are aimed to develop key skills and concepts at KS3. Pupils build on their learning from Key Stages 1 & 2 to ensure a smooth and steady progression in musical learning at Sharples School and to hone these skills and concepts in preparation for choosing Music as an option at GCSE, and/or to play a part in the musical life of the school and the community. Pupils will continue to learn music through performance, composition, listening and appraising:


From the first moment that Year 7 students walk into the Music classroom they will be taught the necessary skills for performing Music. Throughout KS3, students will be developing skills in ensemble practice and solo practice. The curriculum is taught through a range of practical performance work where pupils are able to demonstrate these skills on an instrument. Pupils will learn key Music terminology which they will use in peer and self assessment activities.


Pupils will be taught how to create Music through technology, using a range of different softwares such as Musical Futures, Band Labs and Ableton. Pupis will be able to create their very own music, remix existing pieces and write music for a specific brief.

Listening & Appraising

Pupils will listen to a variety of different music genres in lessons, widening their understanding, appreciation and enjoyment of music. Pupils will learn to correctly evaluate and dissect different pieces of music using the correct music vocabulary.

Musical Elements Melody Articulation Dynamics Tempo
Texture Harmony Rhythm Instrumentation Structure
Time Signature Key Signature DAW Tonality Timbre
Blues Music Classical Music Listening & Appraising Composition Performance
Call and Response Notation Ensemble Vocal Range Pitch
Improvisation Pulse Ostinato Sequencing Polyrhythms

Year 7

The overarching themes in Year 7 are: Popular music, World music, including Musical elements and Musical notation.

An introduction to traditional music notation forms a crucial part of the course in Year 7 and this presents them with a method of understanding rhythm, pitch and note lengths.

Students have the opportunity to perform in an ensemble environment on a variety of different instruments, as a whole class and in smaller ensembles. Polyrhythms and simple melodic pitch work also provide basic performance and composition opportunities. Students in Year 7 will also begin to navigate the keyboard and the principles of drumming technique.

  • Autumn 1 – Just Play 1 This is a Classroom ensemble module using a variety of different instruments and singing. Students will build foundation skills in reading basic musical notation and will perform chords and rhythmic features of a wide range of popular songs as a classroom ensemble.
  • Autumn 2 – Just Play 2 This module uses the foundational skills from Just Play 1 to learn and perform more advanced chord sequences, rhythms, guitar/ukulele chords and strumming patterns. These skills are then applied to the performance of full songs and melodies as a full class ensemble. Students will be able to choose an instrument of their choice.
  • Spring 1 – Find Your Voice Find your Voice focuses on getting students using their voice in music. This will develop their knowledge of how to perform using the Musical Futures ‘Find your Voice’ warm-ups, activities and songs. Learners will then take part in a class choir led by the teacher. The class will be performing Blinded by your Grace pt. 2 by Stormzy and performing it as a class ensemble at the end of the term with Instruments and vocals.
  • Spring 2 – Musical Notation Students will learn the basics of musical notation, focusing on Treble Clef. Students will have half theory, half practical lessons where they will test their understanding and learn ‘Seven Nation Army’, reading only sheet music. At the end of the term students will perform this as a classroom ensemble.
  • Summer 1 – Classical Remix Students will remix their own arrangement of orchestral (‘Classical’) and popular music. Students will create their own piece using samples from these styles using Ableton Live on the computer. They will learn how to edit samples and how to create new material as a remix. Through this project students will be inspired by the ‘great composers’ to compose a piece of contemporary music through samples from orchestral works.
  • Summer 2 – World Music (Samba) Students will discover different rhythms and styles in which samba drums can be played. Students will discover how to play rhythms using different instruments from the samba band. Students will learn pieces such as Rio, Carnival and Carnival de Paris from Simply Samba (Musical Futures).

Year 8

The overarching themes in Year 8 are: Popular Music, Classical Music, Songwriting and Rap, Recording and production, Remixing.

Building on the core skills taught in Year 7, students will build on prior knowledge and skills through performance, composition and listening. Students will have the opportunity to work in smaller groups, forming their own bands using Vocals, Drums, Keys, Ukulele, Guitars and Bass. Students in Year 8 will also begin to dive into the world of Music Technology, remixing popular and classical music and creating their own pieces of music.

  • Autumn 1 – Classroom Live (Contemporary) This part of the module allows the class to work as a large ensemble, all performing the same piece of music on a range of different instruments. Where appropriate, it is best if a student is able to lead the class in their practice and performance. Following full class performances, this topic can then lead to smaller ensemble performances within the class, which are student lead.
  • Autumn 2 – Classroom Live (Classical) This part of the module allows the class to work as a large ensemble all performing the same piece of music on a range of different instruments. The class choose a piece of ‘Classical’ music from the BBC’s collection of 10 pieces. Students are encouraged to perform on a more ‘traditional’ instrument and follow the simple notation provided.
  • Spring 1 – Songwriting Students learn how to compose a song and then perform their song in their chosen genre in strophic form to the class. They will write their own lyrics, chord sequence, bass line and melody using instruments of their choice. Students will also explore different styles and genres within this topic.
  • Spring 2 – Recording and Production Students will use their composition from the song writing/rap unit to record and produce their track using the BandLab. This will include learning how to enhance their recorded track by using editing techniques within the software.
  • Summer 1 – World Music 2 Building on knowledge learnt in World Music 1 this module focuses on reggae music, students will learn about Reggae music as a genre and then as a classroom ensemble, students will perform Three Little Birds By Bob Marley.
  • Summer 2 – Film Music This module focuses on the student choosing a film clip and composing and creating the soundtrack to it on BandLab. Students learn musical devices that are appropriate to use in different genres of film music.

Read like a Musician

Reading is essential in the academic study of music as it provides a gateway to understanding musical notation, theory, history, and interpretation. Musicians rely on written scores to accurately convey melodies, harmonies, rhythms, and dynamics, allowing them to reproduce compositions with precision and expression. 

Reading about the lives and works of renowned composers offers insight into different styles and eras, promoting a deeper appreciation for the rich tapestry of musical traditions. 

Additionally, literature on music theory equips musicians with the knowledge needed to analyse and interpret compositions, empowering them to express themselves creatively and fluently in their performances. 

Reading about music can also inspire and inform individuals, shaping their musical tastes, aspirations, and understanding of the cultural significance of music in society. 

Therefore, reading serves as a foundational pillar in the development and enrichment of musicianship, enabling practitioners to engage with music on multiple levels intellectually, emotionally, and artistically.

Click here to view the suggested reads poster.
Please note: the images of the book covers are clickable hyperlinks to the book.

Extra Curricular

Enrichment and other extra-curricular activities include: Instrumental and vocal lessons are offered to all students from all year groups at Sharples School. These are taught through our partnership with Bolton Music Service and include; Drumming, Guitar, Keyboards, Piano and Vocal lessons. In addition to these music lessons we run a range of inclusive and extended Music clubs and activities such as, guitar group, choir, samba, keyboard club and rock band rehearsals. Students are also encouraged to sign up for our musical evenings including the annual school production in collaboration with the Drama and Art Departments.

Useful Links


Mrs T Hamlin
Director of Performing Arts

Mr J Corrigan
Music Teacher