Course Explorer | Highcliffe School

Course Explorer


Subject Mission Statement

Our aim is to provide a Music education where students experience music-making through collaboration with others and which gives students of all abilities the opportunity to succeed and take pride in a quality musical outcome. The Music curriculum is designed to support students to foster resilience, to become creative problem-solvers, to develop social skills and acquire musical literacy. Furthermore we aspire to engender a life-long appreciation of Music that resonates in many different areas of school life, contributes to the health and well-being of students and the school community as a whole, through the vehicle of a comprehensive extra-curricular and enrichment programme balanced within the context of an academic focussed curriculum.


The value of music as an academic subject lies in its contribution to enjoyment and enrichment, for its social benefits, for those who engage in music seriously as well as for fun. Our high-quality music education will engage and inspire pupils to develop a love of music and their talent as musicians, and so increase their self-confidence, creativity and sense of achievement. As pupils progress, they will develop a critical engagement with music, allowing them to compose, and to listen with discrimination to the best in the musical canon enabling lifelong participation in, and enjoyment of, music, as well as underpinning excellence and professionalism for those who choose to pursue a career in music.


KS3 Intent Statement

Educate students to further understand how Music-making forms a significant part of society across a range of different cultures enriching the lives of both individuals and the community and strengthening the shared bonds of support and trust that allow the class, the school and the wider community to feel connected to others and part of something bigger. Build on students’ understanding of the processes of creative collaboration and thinking and of individual expression, building confidence and promoting well-being through mutual support and positive critical evaluation. Develop the aptitudes for a maturing learner by nurturing transferable skills such as imagination, resourcefulness, problem solving, teamwork, communication, resilience, self-regulation, self-assessment and reflection, skills that are interleaved throughout the curriculum design that builds deeper understanding through increasing depth and complexity. Build academic resilience by sequencing topics that regularly revisit skill sets and musical disciplines, but each time adding a layer of complexity to the “spiral” system through practical music making. Engage students in extending their learning beyond the classroom through a carefully planned enrichment programme offering a wide range of extra-curricular opportunities accessible to students of all abilities and inspire students to consider Music-making opportunities beyond the school and in the wider community through visiting practitioners, professional ensembles, venues, and through links via the Music Education Hub partners working collaboratively.

KS3 Learning Journey


OCR’s GCSE (9–1) in Music will provide a contemporary, accessible and creative education in Music with an integrated approach to the three main elements – performing, composing and appraising. Learners are encouraged to be creative and to broaden their musical horizons and understanding with Areas of Study that inspire and challenge. This specification will enable learners to explore performance and composition with a focus on their own instrument and genre choices and offer opportunity to explore new instrumental skills. Through the various genres, styles and eras contained in our Areas of Study they will explore musical context, musical language, and performance and composition skills.

KS4 Intent Statement

Music at KS4 enhances and strengthens the student’s musical experiences further through a varied curriculum. Music engages students through creative collaboration and thinking and at the same time, provides opportunities for the individual student to show progress in an expressive way. A wide range of extra-curricular opportunities and enrichment are offered to all students for any ability. The Music student continues to develop into the mature learner by nurturing transferable skills such as developing imagination, resourcefulness, problem solving, teamwork, communication and resilience – linking into the whole-school ethos.
The Music curriculum at KS4 allows the student to further develop skills learnt from KS3, including rehearsal skills, ensemble skills, listening and appraising skills, composition skills and performance skills. Opportunities to understand the wider context of musical styles and cultural links are also part of the KS4 curriculum. The current OCR specification allows there to be opportunities to strengthen and refine skills through a variety of different styles of music.
The KS4 curriculum continues with a “spiral” system, regularly revisiting skill sets and elements but diving deeper into each style, highlighting how some styles can be linked and making comparisons between them.

Qualification Details

Exam Board: OCR
Qualification Title: Music
Qualification Specification Code: J536
Qualification Webpage: Click here to visit the OCR webpage for the specification.

Why should I study this course?

OCR’s GCSE (9–1) in Music is designed to appeal to, and cater for, a wide range of interests, instruments, personalities and directions. Learners will have the opportunity to explore instruments and Areas of Study depending on their personal preference and ability.

What knowledge and/or skills will I need?

No prior knowledge or learning of the subject is required. A background in music, for example, learning to play an instrument in an extra-curricular capacity would be beneficial.

OCR’s GCSE (9–1) in Music will encourage learners to:
• engage actively in the process of music study
• develop performing skills individually and in groups to communicate musically with fluency and control of the resources used
• develop composing skills to organise musical ideas and make use of appropriate resources
• recognise links between the integrated activities of performing, composing and appraising and how this informs the development of music
• broaden musical experience and interests, develop imagination and foster creativity
• develop knowledge, understanding and skills needed to communicate effectively as musicians
• develop awareness of a variety of instruments, styles and approaches to performing and composing
• develop awareness of music technologies and their use in the creation and presentation of music
• recognise contrasting genres, styles and traditions of music, and develop some awareness of musical chronology
• develop as effective and independent learners with enquiring minds
• reflect upon and evaluate their own and others’ music
• engage with and appreciate the diverse heritage of music, in order to promote personal, social, intellectual and cultural development

What will I study in this qualification?

How will I be assessed?

Integrated Portfolio (01 or 02)
60 Marks
Non-exam assessment
30% of total GCSE
Performance on the learner's chosen instrument.
Composition to a brief set by the learner.

Practical Component (03 or 04)
60 Marks
Non-exam assessment
30% of total GCSE

Ensemble performance.
Composition to an OCR set brief.

Listening and Appraising (05)
80 Marks
1 hour 30 minutes written paper
40% of total GCSE
Listening and appraising.
A written paper, with CD.
Aural recognition and context unheard/unfamiliar music from within the Areas of Study 2, 3, 4 & 5

Possible Career Paths

Music Teaching, Music Therapy, Instrumental Teaching, Events Management, Business and Arts Management, Performing Arts, Journalism, Producer, Composer/Artist, Studio Recording Engineer, Technician, Live Sound Engineer, Acoustic Engineer, design of acoustic spaces and venues, designing/constructing sound systems for venues, Computer Programmer in music applications, Music for Gaming/Ringtones, MIDI Programmer, design and manufacture of electronic instruments/devices, Electrical Engineer developing microphones and speakers, Sound Engineer in media/ television/radio, Composer of film/media music and future music/media jobs using new technologies that do not yet exist.

Who should I speak to if I need further information?

Mr Bannister

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