GCSE and A Level examination board – 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 seek to promote well rounded practitioners through the use of performance, composition and appraising and include a wide range of musical styles within our curriculum to ensure students have a detailed knowledge and understanding of the full subject area. We also focus on skills-based learning to ensure students have transferrable skills to support them across the College including team work, communication, confidence and leadership. We aim to make music engaging and enjoyable for all students.

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.

In Year 7, the areas of study include:

  • Music Transition Project
  • Vocal performance
  • Baroque performance
  • Ground bass composition (and use of musical technology)
  • ‘Just Play’ from Musical Futures

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. To support students in preparing for this performance there is a school trip to the Regent Theatre to see a performance of the songs they have learnt.

In Year 8, the areas of study include:

  • ‘Just Play’ an extension
  • Popular Music
  • Song writing
  • Music Through Time (Baroque to 21st Century classical music)
  • Film Music
  • The Music Industry


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.

Students will study a range of music under the following areas of study:

  1. Forms and Devices (Set work – Year 9 Badinerie from Suite No. 2 by Bach, Y10/11 Eine Kleine Nachtmusik movement 3 by Mozart).
  2. Music for ensemble (musical theatre, chamber groups and jazz)
  3. Music for film
  4. Popular Music (Set work – Year 9 Africa by Toto, Year 10/11 Since You Been Gone by Rainbow).

This work is split into the following projects:

Year 9:

  • Rhythm
  • Popular Music
  • Blues Music
  • Theme and Variation
  • Set work – Africa

Year 10:

  • Listening and terminology
  • Classical Music
  • Set work – Badinerie
  • Composition – Coursework 1
  • Film Music

Year 11:

  • Composition to a brief – Coursework 2
  • Musical Theatre
  • Revision of all four areas of study


The A-Level course is a continuation of the GCSE and focuses on the three strands of performing, composing and appraising. The course is divided in the following way:

  1. Performance (35% or 25%)
    1. Live examiner between February and May of Year 13
    2. 35% = 10 minutes (Grade 6 standard – 1x solo then solo or ensemble)
    3. 25% = 6 minutes (Grade 6 standard – solo or ensemble)
  2. Composing (25% or 35%)
    1. 25% = 2 x compositions (1 free choice, 1 in year 13 based on Classical music and based on a brief set by the exam board). 4-6 minutes
    2. 35% = 3 x compositions (1 free choice, 1 in year 13 based on the exam board brief, 1 based on another set style of music e.g. musical theatre). 8-10 minutes
  3. Exam (40%)
    1. Detailed analysis of Symphony No. 104 – Haydn
    2. General study of Symphony No. 4 – Mendelssohn
    3. General knowledge of how a symphony has developed
    4. Knowledge of Musical Theatre by Richard Rodgers, Leonard Bernstein, Stephen Sondheim, Claude-Michel Schönberg, Andrew Lloyd Webber and Stephen Schwartz.
    5. The 20th Century set works: Trio for Oboe, Bassoon and Piano, Movement II: Poulenc and Three Nocturnes, Number 1, Nuages: Debussy

Questions include:

  1. Set work analysis with a score
  2. Extended responses and wider knowledge

iii.   Unprepared extracts without a score

  1. Comparison questions


Music Staff

  • Miss Hannah Bennett, Head of Music, BA (Hons), MA, PGCE KS3-5 music
  • Mr William Moss, Teacher of Music KS4-5 music
  • Mrs H Ablard

Visiting Instrumental Staff

  • Mrs J Condliffe – woodwind
  • Mr W Moss – Brass
  • Mr B Cope – 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

Useful links


Classic FM:

BBC 10 pieces:


Eduqas home page:

Dictation practice:

Keeping score composer information:


Eduqas home page:

Petrucci Music Library:

Naxos Records:

Bach chorale website:

A-Level Music support:

Keeping score composer information:

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 Smyth. Meeting every week either after school or at lunchtime, 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 as we learn traditional hymns and more modern worship music.

Small ensembles:

String Group

This is run by Year 13 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 13 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 Tour

The music tour to Belgium in July 2019 was a huge success and enjoyed by 65 students. Please see the link below for all the highlights of the week. Keep your eyes peeled for news on the next tour to Holland in July 2021.

Belgium Tour 2019

Theatre Trips

There is a theatre trip for year 7 and year 9 every year within the local area to see a musical. This is always an excellent opportunity to see a hit musical show with a professional cast and pit orchestra. There are further opportunities for any students studying music at GCSE or A-Level which links into the musical theatre strands of both courses.

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 Oliver, Grease, The Sound of Music and High School Musical. Musicians need to be of a very good standard on their instrument and be confident to play their own individual parts in the group. Plentiful tea and biscuits are supplied for performers! We are now awaiting the announcement of the musical for 2021!

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). All lessons which require an instrument to be hired out is done so within the price stated above. 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.

Please find the instrumental contract below and contact Miss Bennett on if you would like to begin instrumental lessons at any time in the calendar year.

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.

Learning Journey

Music Learning Journey

Skip to content