Curriculum Intent

It is the Alderbrook’s Music department intention to ensure that every student has access to musical instruments in their time at Alderbrook School. Every student will learn a range of instruments, as well as the opportunity to use their voice, both in and out of lesson.

The Music Curriculum is taught with the following disciplines as a focus- performing, composing, listening and analysing. These are embedded across a range of historical periods, genres, styles and traditions. Students are also taught how the elements of music are used effectively across all the disciplines which will enhance their musical knowledge, understanding and terminology.

It is important that in our Music Curriculum, we give students the opportunity to:

  • Develop self-confidence through learning an instrument- both in and out of lesson.
  • To use their voice as an instrument and explore how this can open pathways to performance opportunities.
  • Gain a sense of achievement through performance- both in and out of lesson.
  • Encourage students to be creative when composing music- both on an instrument and with music technology.
  • Gain an understanding of transferable skills such as perseverance, self-discipline, team work, confidence and self-awareness, and how these can support their current learning but also be used beyond secondary school.
  • Learn about careers and opportunities that are available in the Music Industry.
  • Listen to wide variety of music in order to broaden their musical repertoire.

Within the department, we offer an extensive extra-curricular programme to help students develop their musical skills beyond the classroom. We offer termly concerts, lunchtime lives, peripatetic lessons (see list below) an annual school production in conjunction with the Dance and Drama Department, trips to external performance venues such as the Cavern Club and Royal Albert Hall, as well as a busy extracurricular timetable such as Choir, Orchestra, year group bands and the opportunity for rehearsals in the practice rooms outside of lesson time.  By having these exciting performance opportunities, it is an honour to be able to showcase the amazing talents of the Alderbrook music students on performance evenings. It is their enthusiasm and commitment to the subject that makes the Music Department its true success.


Curriculum Implementation

Music is taught in mixed ability groups for KS3 and KS4.

Music at Alderbrook School is taught by

  • Miss Rafferty (Head of Music)
  • Mrs Stocks (Teacher of Drama and Music)
  • Miss Shinnick (Teacher of Performing Arts)

Please follow the Music Department on Twitter for regular updates.


Key Stage 3

The Key Stage 3 Curriculum has been structured, alongside guidance from the National Curriculum, to give all pupils the chance to develop musicianship skills, so that any pupil with a passion and skill set for the subject can achieve a Music qualification by the end of Year 11.

In Year 7 and 8, students study a range of topics that are designed to spark interest within the subject of Music. It is also designed to encourage those already with a passion or experience in music, to excel. The lessons contain an introduction to the topic, listening tasks, rehearsal composition or performance lessons and a final assessment. See units below:


Year 7

Find Your Voice, Body Percussion, Keyboard Course, African Drumming, World Music, Elements of Music, Instruments of the Orchestra and Learning the Ukulele.

Year 8

Samba, Reggae, Blues, Jazz, Music, Pop Riffs, Film Music, Music Through Time and Festival Planning.


Key Stage 4

Year 9

In Year 9, students strengthen performance skills, develop their composition skills, work as a solo or in group projects all whilst developing their musicianship skills. Students are encouraged to take part in termly concerts to boost their confidence on their instrument as well as developing their ensemble skills. See units below:


Year 9 BTEC

Live Lounge Unit, Song Writing Unit, The Music Industry Introduction, Creating a Music Product, Developing you as a Musician and Music Composition Introduction.


Year 9 GCSE

Live Lounge Unit, Song Writing Unit, Introduction to Music Theory, Introduction to Composition and Performance revisited.


Year 10 and Year 11

The Music Department offers two courses at Key Stage 4.

Firstly, the BTEC Tech Award Level 1 /2 in Music Practice. This course consists of three components

  • Component 1- Exploring Music Products and Styles.
  • Component 2- Music Skills Development
  • Component 3- Responding to a Music Brief.

For each component, students will explore, apply and demonstrate their knowledge and understanding. The first two components will be completed in Y10, then the third in Y11. All work will be internally assessed and externally moderated by Pearson.

Students will take part in workshops, online tutorials, supervised study, rehearsals and research groups throughout each component.

The second course we offer is OCR GCSE Music. This course is assessed through composition (30%), performance (30%) and a listening exam. (40%). This course is suited to students who enjoy the more theoretical side of music and those interested in studying the history of music. Students are required to learn about Film Music, Concerto through time, World Music and Conventions of Pop.

If students are unsure which course to opt for, please watch the following video or talk to your music teacher for more advice.


Key Stage 5

Exam Board: OCR


Why A level Music?

Music is a powerful gift that can change our lives in a variety of ways. In listening, performing and composing, music can portray emotions that words cannot, instantly effect our mood, enhance our understanding of the world and grants an opportunity to express ourselves. Music is part of our daily life as well as a key focus within our communities and school.


What will you study?

Students will engage with the diverse and dynamic heritage of music, extend their skills in performing and composing and develop a deeper understanding of the need to communicate music through their own choice and to a set brief. Students will study a range of set works that vary from Vocal Music, Jazz and Programme Music whilst broadening their musical repertoire.


University degrees that require or often prefer music include:

Music, Music Technology, Music Therapy, Performing Arts, Teaching, Arts Administration, Commercial Music, Journalism, Marketing, Media.


Entry requirements: 

Minimum grade 6 in GCSE Music or BTEC Merit or Distinction. Grade 5 on an instrument/vocals is preferred.

‘Music expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent’

Victor Hugo



Extra-Curricular Opportunities

The Music Department offer a range of Music Activities for students to excel such as

  • Arts Award
  • Choir
  • Orchestra
  • Rock and Pop Bands
  • BTEC Catch Up

Students are welcome to rehearse individually or for personal bands either before school, break time or lunch time, with teacher’s permission.


Solihull Music

School bands are invited to perform at the many concerts the Solihull Music provide for the Borough. Please speak with Miss Rafferty about this exciting opportunity.


Peripatetic lessons

We have worked with Solihull Music for a number of years and are proud to offer peripatetic lessons on the following instruments.

  • Brass
  • Drums
  • Guitar
  • Keyboard and Piano
  • Violin
  • Vocals
  • Woodwind

Students who take part in these lessons have a weekly 20-minute lesson in which they rotate every week to ensure they don’t miss the same part of the curriculum lesson.

If you require more information about these lessons, please contact Miss Rafferty through the ‘Contact’ page on the main website.



There are many trips on offer within the Music Department that students are invited to partake. Recent trips include

  • Symphony Hall, Birmingham
  • The Cavern Club, Liverpool
  • The Core Theatre, Solihull
  • Royal Albert Hall, London
  • Wembley Arena, London
  • Abbey Road Studios, London
  • *NEW* Music Performance Trip to Paris, France- May 2023
  • Annual theatre trips to London including Aladdin, Wicked, Dream Girls, Matilda, Back to the Future.

Arts Award– Students can take part in the Arts Award qualification through a music pathway. Speak to Miss Rafferty or Mrs Stocks for more information.


Skills for Success Career Opportunities

The subject of Music can offer you a range of skills needed for success in your time at Alderbrook. Here is a list of the likely skills that you develop in Music.

Collaboration, Pride, Responsibility, Respect, Patience, Perseverance, Determination, Self-Discipline, Self-Motivation, Team Work, Confidence, Creativity, Empathy & Compassion

This qualification can lead to a career as a:

  • Musician
  • Composer
  • Musical Director
  • Agent
  • Artist’s Manager
  • Studio Manager
  • Promoter
  • Teacher
  • Music Therapist
  • Artist in Residence
  • Music Journalist
  • Broadcaster
  • Producer
  • Music Trade Association
  • Blogger
  • Music Publisher
  • Live Sound Engineer
  • Technical Crew
  • Stage Manager


Contact the Head of Department

For further information, please contact Oonagh Rafferty.