Music Curriculum Plan

Why are we teaching a knowledge-rich curriculum; how is it different?

Our curriculum is 'knowledge-rich' in two specific ways:

1) there is a strong emphasis on music theory, reinforced with practical exercises

2) there is a focus on listening to, and learning about, western classical music.


Why are we teaching this content?

  • We focus on music theory because:

  • it increases musical literacy, and better enables pupils to take part in extracurricular activities

  • it enables pupils to make faster progress should they decide to engage with instrumental and vocal lessons, and improves the likelihood that the pupil will persevere with that study for longer

  • it provides a body of knowledge which pupils could later manipulate to create their own compositions

  • We focus on the western classical tradition because:

  • we believe that it’s important to introduce pupils to material with which they are not yet familiar

  • it gives a reference point for composition in multiple styles

Why are we teaching it in this order? 

Music theory is a hierarchical subject, so the sequencing of theoretical material is very important. We teach the material in the published order, so that pupils can progress quickly more easily, and so that the correct grounding is in place before tackling more complicated material.

The chosen pieces of music are sequenced to correlate with the expanding domain of music theory, usually aligned with the new theoretical material being introduced.


What do pupils need to remember and be able to do in this subject? 

Pupils need to be able to retain and recall enough knowledge of music theory in order to respond to musical output in musical terms. For example:

  • to listen to a piece of music and be able to answer questions about it with appropriate terminology

  • to be able to respond to musical scores through clapping, singing and playing

  • to be able to able to answer theoretical questions about musical scores

What methods do we use to help pupils secure this knowledge in long-term memory? 

Some examples of how we achieve this are listed below. It is crucial to note that this is not a tick list and not all of these (or perhaps any of them) will be observed in a given lesson. The science teachers will use these as appropriate to the context of what they are teaching.

  • Shed loads of practice (SLOP)

  • Retrieval practice of material from earlier in the expanding domain

  • Low stakes quizzing

  • Summative assessments

  • Call and response

  • Practical exercises to reinforce theory