Sign In

 ‭(Hidden)‬ apply_styles



Music at Stringer

Curriculum Intent - Music Department



Dorothy Stringer has a vibrant arts culture and the Music Department is a key part of that. Our aim is to promote MUSIC FOR ALL. Students are able to develop skills, not only in the classroom but in all aspects of school life. A passion for music is built upon in our strong Music Department. We believe students have the opportunity to become creative, expressive and confident young people. Music is such an important part of everyday life and a good Music Education develops life skills such as responsibility, teamwork, creativity, resilience, emotional satisfaction, social skills and of course enjoyment. This isn't an exhaustive list but they are fundamental to the mental health and well-being of our students. 

In our KS3 Music Curriculum, we aim to develop key skills throughout Years 7, 8 and 9 to give all students the option to study Music at Key Stage 4 if they choose. The key areas of focus in their Music Education are listening to and responding to a breadth of musical genres, composing music; either individually or in small groups, performing to small audiences and of course singing, which is proven to improve mood and general well-being. 

We offer four well equipped teaching classrooms, each with an excellent selection of musical instruments. We also have a Technology Suite and numerous Practise Rooms where students are welcome to practise outside of lesson time. Year 7 and 8 study music ONE hour per week, learning new musical skills. Students opt to study Music in Year 9, where they are taught TWO hours per week. This is fundamentally a foundation year for KS4, developing and expanding on key skills learnt in previous years.  


Key musical elements are gradually introduced in Year 7 and developed throughout Key Stage 3. This is taught through the key areas of focus, which are then developed further at KS4. The acronym MAD T-SHIRT introduces all the key musical elements: Melody, Articulation, Dynamics, Texture, Structure, Harmony, Instrumentation, Rhythm/Metre/Tempo and Tonality. Our students improve in confidence throughout Key Stage 3 and learn how to work independently and collaboratively with their peers.

In our Schemes of Work, there is a strong focus on developing skills and introducing students to a variety of music, giving an enriched Music Education. All lessons include an activity where students can develop their listening skills and respond to a variety of music. This will draw on previous learning and introduce them to new material. There is always a strong practical focus where students will experiment and compose in a variety of styles. Modelling by teachers and students are also key to every lesson. Literacy and numeracy are included in lesson planning. Formative assessments enable student development during every lesson through verbal feedback and recordings. Summative assessments take place at the end of each unit and progress is recorded through audio or visual recordings and progress trackers. Expectations are high to enable students to reach their full potential and enjoy a safe working environment. 

Students will study the following units which allow for progression and development of music language and skills. 


In Year 7, students' study:

Rhythm: Creating a piece of music whilst focusing on reading music, with specific focus on the length of the notes.

Pitch: Performing a piece of music whilst focusing on reading music, with specific focus on what notes they are playing.

Folk: Diving into the music of the people and in groups creating an arrangement of some classic folk tunes and learning guitar and ukulele tab along the way.

Band Skills: Creating their own arrangement of a favourite songs using their favourite instruments.  Focusing on playing as a group as they look to get that timing absolutely perfect.

Reggae: Creating group arrangements of some of Reggae's greatest hits with specific focus on rhythm, metre and tempo.

Experimental: Music doesn't always have to be notes on a page, or well-known instruments.  Students create music using numbers, pictures and unusual instruments focusing on the pitch and dynamics of their arrangements.  


In Year 8, students' study:

Mash Up: Putting together some of their favourite songs in a 'Mash-Up' using the very clever four chord trick.  Focusing on harmonies and textures whilst only using four chords, creating the next top hit. 

Musicals: As a class, students will write a class musical on a topic of their choice.  They will write the storyline, lyrics and compose the music as they turn their musical dream into a reality.  

Film: Students study leitmotif, micky-mousing and underscoring to compose their own film music to a well-known film clip.  

Band Skills: Students have the chance to create an arrangement of one of their favourite tunes.  Using the skills they have learnt in Mash-Up to take this arrangement to the next level.  

Blues: They have a chance to jazz away to their hearts content over the very popular 12 bar blues chord progression.  A build up to Rock 'n' Roll, this unit will teach them all about blues harmony and improvisation.  

Rock 'n' Roll: Now they know the 12-bar blues, rock it up a little with some electric guitar as they use their blues knowledge to re-create some of Rock 'n' Roll's finest hits.  

Vocal A-Cappella: Creating their own vocal arrangements of some top tunes with a focus on their vocal quality, singing technique and harmonies.  


In Year 9, students' study:

Song Arranging: They will put some well-known hits into a new style with a focus on the musical elements from MAD T-SHIRT.  Turn Rock into Reggae, Hip-Hop into Hillbilly or Folk into Funk.  

Song-writing: Once they've arranged their song, it's now time to create one of their own.  Picking a topic, they write some lyrics and compose the music thinking about how they structure their song and layer the instruments effectively.  

Theme and Variations: Mozart once wrote a great set of variations on Twinkle Twinkle, now it's their turn to do something very similar.  Picking a theme and composing a set of variations which focus on melody, harmony, tonality to name a few.  

Jazz and Latin American: Samba, Salsa, Rumba, Bossa-Nova and Tango.  Learning some of these funky rhythms as they compose their own Latin American music suitable for Carnival on the streets of Rio.

Music Through Time: From Bach to Beethoven to Berlioz, music through time will take them from the Baroque hundreds of years forward to the Romantic era as they study and re-create some of music's most well-known classics.

Minimalism: Minimalist music takes very 'minimal' ideas and turns them into works of art.  With focus on textures and melodic development, they can turn a small musical motif into a masterpiece in a few simple steps.  

Music Technology: Using computer software such as Ableton and Sibelius, turning some of the music that they've played in class into their very own music technology mix.  Learn how to input, mix and bounce down tracks like they do in the Music Industry.  

All these focuses are aided by our strong team of 15 instrumental teachers who offer one to one or group lessons and working closely with the department in preparing students for exams and performance opportunities. The full range of instrumental lessons are offered, including strings, woodwind, brass, drums, guitars, keyboard, piano and singing. We also offer DJ lessons, a medium that is recognised by all exam boards.


Our enriched Music Curriculum, both in the classroom and beyond, promotes an enjoyment and develops skills that can be taken forward into further education and the world of work. Outside visitors from the Music Industry and many performance opportunities enable students to understand what is involved in a career in Music. 

There is a high uptake of students learning an instrument which has a positive impact on our extra-curricular programme, where a vast number of students enjoy participating in activities and school events. They develop crucial skills in collaborative music making. Students can also experience a wide variety of musical genres, styles and ensembles through the programme. 

The department is always busy with a constant stream of students keen to enjoy music, whether it's through individual practise or music making with their peers. There is a positive vibe which encourages more students to enter into the world music.



Students who opt for Music at Key Stage 4 are given many opportunities to develop as musicians. They develop on skills learnt at Key Stage 3 and find their own pathway in Music.

We offer two courses at Key Stage 4, enabling more students to opt for Music, depending on their own individual strengths. Music GCSE offers a more academic root into Music and a stepping stone to study Music A-level at college. The Music Performance course is a Rock School (RSL) vocational Level 2 qualification, equivalent to one GCSE. This is a more practical based option where students' main focus is performing.

Both courses enable students to develop their creative responses to a varied history of music from around the world. 


GCSE music is taught through THREE components:


Students develop performance skills in their chosen instrument, preparing for two final performances. At least one performance must be an ensemble and the other can be either solo or ensemble performance. The use of music technology and improvisation is accepted within both solo and ensemble performances.

This is assessed internally and moderated externally and forms 30% of the GCSE.



Students are encouraged to develop their knowledge and understanding of music through composing. They are required to create and develop musical ideas in relation to given and chosen briefs. They will submit two compositions during the two years.

This is assessed internally and moderated externally and forms 30% of the GCSE


Listening & Appraising

Students will develop knowledge and understanding of musical elements, contexts and language. This component encourages students to develop skills in appraising music through the exploration of a wide variety of music linked to the four areas of study:

-       Area of study 1: Musical Forms and Devices

-       Area of study 2: Music for Ensemble

-       Area of study 3: Film Music

-       Area of study 4: Popular Music

This component is in the form of an exam and is externally marked.

Rock School Music Performance is taught through THREE units:

Unit 201 - Musical Knowledge

This unit aims to build students musical knowledge and give them the ability to articulate their thoughts and feelings about music using the appropriate musical language.

There are opportunities to develop:

Listening skills - Analytical skills - Research skills - Communication skills - IT skills

This will be undertaken through any of the following:

Essay writing - Power point presentation – Podcast – Blogs - Vlogs

Unit 202 – Live Music Performance

Through study of this unit, students will engage with a full live performance project including planning, rehearsal, performance and evaluation. The skills in this unit can be directly applied to any future pursuits in the music industry.

There are opportunities to develop:

Skills for rehearsal - Skills for performance - Vocal/instrumental skills - Health & Safety - Communication skills - Analytical skills - Organisational skills

This will be undertaken through any of the following:

Essay writing - Power point presentation - Video presentation - Blog - Vlog – Podcast

Unit 204 – Instrumental Study

This unit aims to enhance student's capacity to understand how to develop as an instrumentalist, to recognise success and to encourage improvement in areas which require further work through objective and reflective self-assessment. 

There are opportunities to develop:

Skills for Instrument Maintenance - Health & Safety - Instrumental Skills - Organisational skills - Analytical Skills

This will be undertaken through any of the following:

Essay writing - Power point presentation - Audio/visual presentation - Blog - Vlog - Video evidence


Students will gain and develop key skills, preparing them for further education and the world of work. There will be extensive use of Music Technology which is widely used in the industry. Students will learn how to compose on different platforms which gives them vital experience required for a career in this field.

We aim to provide as much musical experience and opportunities to prepare students for a musical life after school. Our extra-curricular programme, performance opportunities, outside speakers, workshops, visits within the local community and collaborations with local schools enable students to experience an enriched and varied Music Education. 

Dorothy Stringer School, Loder Road, Brighton, BN1 6PZ | Tel: 01273 852222 | Fax: 01273 852310 | Email: