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Curriculum Intent and Rationale

Our aim is to provide a varied and interesting music curriculum which is suitable for all pupils, but provides suitable challenges for the more able. We intend the work to be enjoyable, and provide a foundation for pupils’ creativity. We include learning beyond the National Curriculum, and give pupils the opportunity to develop their musical talents across three core skills; listening and appraising, performing and composing. These skills run through key stage 3 and GCSE and A-Level.


We believe in the importance of music to a full and rounded education, as recognised by so many important organisations: Music touches the very heart of our humanity and a sense of the wonder of music has touched human societies throughout history. Music education offers young people the chance to understand, perform and create in an aural dimension that often sits outside our capacity to describe in words. For many pupils, the music they love will be part of the narrative of their lives and bring colour to the experiences that shape them. Ofsted: Research and analysis. Research review series: music (12 July, 2021)


Research has shown the many benefits a music education can bring:

  • Musical training helps develop language and reasoning: Pupils who receive early musical training will develop the areas of the brain related to language and reasoning. 

  • Motor skills: Pupils who practice musical instruments can improve their hand-eye coordination and develop fine motor skills. 

  • Listening skills: Musicians can better detect meaningful, information-bearing elements in sounds, like the emotional meaning in a baby’s cry. Pupils who practice music can have better auditory attention, and pick out predictable patterns from surrounding noise. 

  • Development in creative thinking: Pupils who study the arts can learn to think creatively. This kind of education can help them solve problems and be innovative. 

  • A mastery of memorisation: Musicians are constantly using their memory to perform and compose. The skill of memorization can serve pupils well in education and beyond. 

  • Building imagination and intellectual curiosity: Introducing music in the early childhood years can help foster a positive attitude toward learning and curiosity. Artistic education develops the whole brain and develops a child’s imagination. 

  • Wellbeing and emotional development: The physiological effect of music is well-documented. Listening to music has become increasingly accessible and can be relaxing, exciting and enjoyable. Musicians can be more emotionally developed, with empathy towards other cultures. They also tend to have higher self-esteem and are better at coping with anxiety. 

  • Building confidence and taking risks: With encouragement from teachers and parents, learning to play a musical instrument can build pride and confidence. Performing a musical piece to an audience can bring fear and anxiety. Doing so teaches pupils how to take risks and deal with fear, which will help them become successful and reach their potential. 

  • Independent, group task learning and discipline: Learning to play a musical instrument takes many hours of independent study and learning to play as an ensemble requires the skill of listening and adapting to others. Togetherness in music requires a deep understanding of joint purpose and the roles of individuals. Mastering a musical instrument requires many hours of practice and managing time and workload to include practice, and focusing practice to optimise progress requires discipline. 

  • Pupils learn to improve their work: Learning music promotes craftsmanship, and students learn to want to create good work instead of mediocre work. This desire can be applied to all subjects of study. 

  • A sense of achievement: From learning the shortest piece to performing as part of an orchestra or a band, pupils who master music will be able to feel proud of their achievement. 

Based on work by the National Association for Music Education, 2021.

School Music Development Plan Summary 2024-25

Implementing our curriculum

Key Stage 4

Key Stage 5

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