GCSE Exam Board Year 11: Edexcel Year 9/10: Eduqas

Music Department Aims

Music is a very active department at Painsley Catholic College. There are many opportunities for performing and creating music in class, through extra-curricular activities and through instrumental lessons. We aim to make music engaging and enjoyable for all students.

Music Staff

  • Mrs A Reardon-Davies, Teacher of Music across the MAC, BMus (Hons), PGCE – KS3-5 music; piano, keyboard, and lower strings instrumental lessons – Currently on maternity leave
  • Miss Hannah Bennett, Head of Music and permanent Music teacher, BA (Hons), MA, PGCE KS3-5 music; saxophone, clarinet and piano instrumental lessons.

Visiting Instrumental Staff

  • Mrs J Condliffe – woodwind
  • Ms H Nevins – Brass
  • Mr K Popadopolous – Guitar
  • Ms V Ord – Drum-kit
  • Mr A Thorley – Piano
  • Mr R Galley – Strings
  • Ms L Morris – Voice
  • MR S Edwards – Cello and Double bass

Music Curriculum


Students in Year 7 and Year 8 have two curriculum music lessons per fortnight. Our aim is to make the lessons as practical as possible to cover the three essential skills of performing, composing and appraising. Students learn to compose and perform music from a range of cultures and musical eras, from popular music song writing to baroque performance. In their first term at Painsley Catholic College, Year 7 students prepare and deliver a large-scale performance in the college’s annual Christmas concert.


In Year 9, students may opt to study music, working towards a GCSE music qualification from the Eduqas examination board, which students complete at the end of Year 11. Students in Years 9, 10 and 11 have four curriculum music lessons per fortnight. Building on their work from KS3, students submit two performances (one as a soloist and one as part of an ensemble) and two original compositions as their coursework. In preparation for a terminal listening exam, students study two set works in depth, learning to analyse their musical characteristics and musical context. The students are given regular opportunities to perform in front of their peers, both in class and in concerts throughout the academic year.

Currently, year 11 are studying the Edexcel specification and have eight set works to learn alongside the coursework requirements.


Students may choose to study A Level music (from the Edexcel examination board) at Painsley Catholic College sixth form. Students will travel to Denstone College for their music lessons.

How to guides- links to tutorials

Assessment Framework

Music assessment framework KS3

Music KS4 assessment framework

Extra links to help study

Petrucci Music Library:

Naxos Records:

Dictation practice:

Bach chorale website:

Brass Band

Please use the following link to access the backing tracks.

Step 1 – C and D

Step 2 – C and D together

Useful websites

See VLE for additional lists of websites

BBC bitesize


Extra-curricular Music

The Music Department host an annual Christmas and Summer concert which gives all music department ensembles an opportunity to play to a large audience. There are also smaller events to students in both Key Stage 3 and 4 with performance evenings as well as supporting local events such as Alton Fete. The department also support with liturgical music across the MAC.

Large ensembles:

Wind Band

Directed by Mrs Condliffe, the college wind band rehearses every Tuesday until 5.00pm in the hall. All wind, brass and percussion players above grade 1 are welcome and attendance is compulsory for those having instrumental lessons in college. The wide variety of repertoire performed by the group and the mid-rehearsal tuck shop are particularly popular with students!


Directed by Mrs Reardon-Davies rehearse every Thursday lunchtime at 12.45-1.15 in A9. Male and female students of all ages and levels of experience are welcome to attend. The group sings a wide range of repertoire, from choral classics to current hits.


“Glorify” is Painsley’s worship band, led by Miss Smith. Meeting every Thursday, 3.30-4.30pm in A9, students from Years 7-13 and staff are invited to come along and make music and praise God. “Glorify” performs in college Masses and other Acts of Worship. All instrumentalists (from trombonists to triangle-players, guitarists to air-guitarists) and singers of any age, ability and experience are welcome!

Small ensembles:

String Group

This is run by Y12 student S Kemball, the college string group rehearses every Wednesday lunchtime in A9. Violinists, violists, cellists and double bassists who have reached at least grade 1 on their instrument are welcome, with attendance compulsory for those having string lessons in college. The ensemble plays music ranging from jigs, hornpipes and Latin American favourites to jazz/blues and classical repertoire.

Saxophone Ensemble

All saxophonists of at least grade 2 standard are invited to saxophone ensemble rehearsals every Monday lunchtime at 12.45-1.20pm in A9 with Miss Bennett.

Flute Choir

All students who have reached at least grade 1 standard on the flute are invited to attend flute group rehearsals. The ensemble, directed by Mrs Condliffe, rehearses every Tuesday lunchtime at 1.00-1.15 pm in A9.

Clarinet Group

All students who have reached grade 1 standard on the clarinet are invited to attend clarinet group rehearsals. The ensemble, directed by Mrs Condliffe, rehearses every Tuesday lunchtime at 12.30-12.50.

“Charlotte’s Choir”

Directed by Year 12 music student Charlotte Leedham, “Charlotte’s Choir” is an elite all-female chamber choir who rehearse every Wednesday lunchtime at 12.45-1.20pm in Practice Room 3. Membership of the group is by invitation only.

Other extra-curricular activities

Music Theory

Do you need to achieve your grade 5 Music Theory so you can move onto higher grades on your instrument? Bring along your associated board Music Theory book to A9 at 12.30-12.50pm on a Monday lunchtime; Miss Bennett will mark your work and answer any questions you may have. The college will then enter you for the written exam when you are ready.

School Production

Every musical needs a ‘pit orchestra’ and we have played in the last few years for college shows including Grease, The Sound of Music and High School Musical. Musicians need to be of a very good standard on their instrument (at least grade 6) and be confident to play their own individual parts in the group. Plentiful tea and biscuits are supplied for performers! We are now preparing for Oliver!

Instrumental Lessons

Instrumental lessons are offered in strings, woodwind, brass, voice, piano, keyboard, drum kit, voice and guitar. These lessons are held in curriculum time (one twenty-minute lesson per week) and are offered at the highly-competitive rate of £240 per academic year (with financial support available for students who otherwise would be unable to have instrumental lessons). The department has a small number of instruments available to hire. Students who have instrumental lessons in college are encouraged to join suitable ensembles when they are ready, enabling them to develop their musical skills and to make new friends. There is an opportunity to take an ABRSM examination within school in the Autumn and Summer term.

Music Flashes

Students are eligible for a music flash when they have been a committed member of an extra-curricular group for two years. To achieve “Junior Musician”, students must successfully reach grade 3 standard on an instrument; “Senior Musician” is awarded to those who achieve grade 5 standard on an instrument. Let Miss Bennett know if you are eligible for an award . They are awarded at Presentation Evening or in end-of-year assemblies each year.

Music Gifted and Talented Ideas

  1. Go and watch a piece of musical theatre.
  2. Compose a pop song with a melody and chord structure. Perform this to someone you know.
  3. Take an exam on your chosen instrument. You may need some lessons to ensure you are prepared fully.
  4. Play or sing in a music ensemble of your choice. This could include a choir, concert band or pop band. You could join an existing ensemble or make your own.
  5. Go and watch a classical concert.
  6. Listen to a classic fm show and learn about different composers and/or pieces. You can do this on classic fm online as well as live on the radio. (Saturday afternoon is musicals afternoon rather than classical music).
  7. Organise or help organise a concert. You should prepare the program of pieces and make sure there is a small audience. You should perform a chosen piece as well.
  8. Choose your favourite song and make a mash up version. You should alter the lyrics and the style of the song.
  9. Compose a short tune on your favourite instrument and then develop this into a piece.
  10. Choose a musical skill you are confident with and teach this to someone else. It could be a friend or family member. You should test their understanding and ensure they are getting better over a short period of time.