“If a composer could say what he had to say in words, he would not bother trying to say it in music” Gustav Mahler 

At Saint Martin’s our music curriculum has been designed to explore, discover and interpret some of the greatest musical works from around the world. Students ‘lessons are mostly practical, we believe in a ‘doing’ curriculum, students can write about music, however, it is through the performance and exploration that the beauty of music is evident. Music is an incredibly rigorous curriculum subject; it requires a varied number of skills unique to this area. Learning an instrument has been linked to better fine motor skills, multi-tasking, improved cognitive performance and the drive to master and perfect practical skills. Singing is linked to lower stress, improved self-esteem, personal confidence and ensemble enjoyment. Our carefully developed schemes of work have been designed to introduce students to a core of knowledge that they can use throughout their musical lives. The music curriculum at Saint Martin’s is traditional in its thinking, this core knowledge taught allows students to access a far wider range of music as opposed to teaching individual topics.  

All students study music in years 7 and 8, they receive one hour a of teaching a week. Equal importance is given to the three strands within music: performing, composing and listening. We cover these areas by ensuring students demonstrate these within each curriculum strand we study. 

At key stage 4, we study the OCR syllabus. This develops the three strands of music stated above. We have a greater emphasis on performance, therefore making this compulsory to an audience with regular opportunities for public performances. This builds students’ confidence and ensure they are ‘performance ready’ for their final recordings in year 11. All students need to study one instrument throughout their time on the GCSE course. The recommended grade for the final performances is grade 4 and above. Students need to demonstrate the grit and resilience required to master a musical instrument, therefore we recommend that students receive 1:1 tuition on their chosen instrument. 

Year 7  

SINGING – students sing for the first half term of the year. They cover 5 pieces in two / three-part harmony. These pieces are performed to parents just before half term as a performance afternoon. 

THE KNOWLEDGE OF THE PIANO, LEARNING AND KNOWLEDGE OF SEMITONES, TONES AND MAJOR SCALES – Students follow the ABRSM grade 1 theory of music book. We explore the basics of music theory and apply these to the piano.  

APPLICATION OF SCALES WITHIN THE BAROQUE ERA – exploring Vivaldi’s the ‘Four Season’s. 

APPLICATION OF SCALES WITHIN THE CLASSICAL ERA – exploring Mozart’s ‘Eine Kleine Nachtmusik’.  

APPLICATION OF SCALES WITHIN THE ROMANTIC ERA – exploring Tchaikowsky’s ‘Swan Lake’ main theme. 

THE PENTATONIC SCALE – exploring Indonesian Gamelan. 

 Year 8 

THE BLUES SCALE – exploring the slave trade story, the music of the ‘Blues’. From late 1800’s to around 1940. 

CHROMATISICM – studying ‘The Rite of Spring’ by Stravinsky 

RHYTHMIC MOTIF, REPITITION AND PHASE SHIFTING – performing ‘Clapping music’ by Steve Reich. Composing own clapping motif and applying phase shifting to this. 

MELODIC MOTIF AND REPITITION (MINIMALISM)– performing ‘Tubular bells’ composed by Mike Oldfield. Students learn all four parts, then combine these in an ensemble performance.  

MELODIC MOTIF AND REPITITION – COMPOSITION TOOL KIT (MINIMALISM) – exploring 8 ways to develop a musical motif. 

TWENTIETH CENTURY COMPOSITION – students are taught how to use Dorico (our composition software). They are to develop their musical motifs by composing a complete composition. 

Foundation GCSE 

Performance – students prepare and perform their first ensemble performance to a public audience in the first term. 

Students prepare and perform their first solo performance to a public audience in the second term. 

Composition – Students are taught chord progressions, extensions and the ingredients for composition. By the end of year 9 students will have composed one piece of music from a genre of their choice. 

Listening  – students start the course by studying ‘Rhythm’s of the World’ 

Year 10  

Performance – students prepare two solo performances to perform in our key stage 4 recital evenings.  

Composition – students will develop skills taught in year 9 by composing their free choice composition, this is half of their composition work required for their GCSE. 

Listening – students study ‘The Conventions of Pop’ and ‘The Concerto through Time’ 

Year 11  

Performance – students prepare one solo and one ensemble pieces to perform in our key stage 4 recital evenings. Students record their final pieces by January of year 11. 

Composition – students will receive a composition brief from OCR. We will explore what this would look like in music. Students work on this composition throughout year 11, to submit with the piece composed in year 10 as their final compositions. 

Listening – students’ study ‘Film and Game music’. This is the last module of the listening exam. The rest of the time is spent revision exam questions. 

We offer a wide and varied extra – curricular programme. All GCSE students are expected to contribute to the wider life of the music department. 

Our clubs are: 

Soul band  

Year 7 choir  

Events choir  

JAM (Junior Academy of Music) rock band club 

Hinckley Area School’s Orchestra 


Our groups have the opportunity to perform at least once a year both in and out of school. Choir attends workshops and performances at De Montfort Hall twice a year and our bands perform at a local music festival in the summer term. We have two key stage 4 compulsory recital evenings, these students are also taken to see a live orchestra. We are also part of the wider performing arts life of the school and join up for whole school musicals; most recently performing Bugsy Malone.