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“Give me joy in my heart, keep me praising,
keep me praising till the break of day”

Sing hosanna


We offer a practical, creative and ambitious curriculum that allows our pupils to experience making and performing Music in a solo capacity and as part of an ensemble. We deliver this through a wide variety of practical activities to develop musical skills such as timing, instrumental technique, pitch, voice control, tuning, and articulation. Pupils develop social skills such as leadership, communication, and independence alongside their musicianship. In KS3 students master the key elements of music allowing them to confidently listen and appraise, these skills are then transferred into practical performance and composition.

Students are regularly encouraged to experience music from a variety of culture and genres and will use this within their practical work. Students develop an understanding of key terms and theory including graphic notation & simple rhythm. Key musical terms and theoretical knowledge is enhanced during KS3 lesson time through graphic notation and simple rhythm, whilst KS4 critically uses specific areas of study and genres to delve further into music theory and learn to critically respond to music. Cultural capital is developed through the exploration of several traditions and techniques, it is also elevated during a range of extra-curricular activities, instrumental lessons, and concerts. Pupils are regularly encouraged to express themselves through composition and are using notation software, digital audio workstations, and recording devices to support this.

Year 7

Autumn Term 

Baseline assessment & Elements of Music 

Students will discuss their experience of music prior to starting at Cardinal Heenan and standards and expectations for practical lessons are set. What are the musical elements and how do we recognise them? Students then have the opportunity to sing and use their voices with confidence focussing on pitch and tempo. 

Performance Skills (Keyboard) 

Students are introduced to the notes of a keyboard and have the opportunity to recognise them. Students learn how to play ‘In the Jungle’ using the correct finger placement. Every student has the opportunity to perform with confidence. 

Spring Term 

Instruments of the Orchestra 

Focussing on the element of music ‘timbre’, students explore the Orchestra families and the different instruments within them. They have the opportunity to understand how different instruments sounds and are played.  Students learn to perform the classical piece ‘Ode to Joy’. 

Rhythm and Notation 

Focussing on the element of music ‘duration’, students explore note lengths through staff notation and graphic scores. Working in small ensembles, students compose their own rhythms to perform. 

Summer Term 

Sea Shanties 

Year 7 will gain an understanding through context and listening of the traditional folk genre. This will be linked to the city of Liverpool. Students will use their voice to sing the popular Sea Shantie ‘Wellerman’, they will also have the opportunity to perform this on the keyboard. 

An Introduction to Samples & Loops 

Year 7 are introduced to the online software Band Lab for Education. They will work on composing and producing their own structured piece of music using samples and loops from the programme.  

Year 8

Autumn Term 

Fur Elise (Beethoven) Performing & Listening 

An introduction to sharps, flats, tones, semitones and chromatics on the keyboard. A brief history of Ludwig Van Beethoven & Fur Elise. Students will then develop their listening skills using ‘Fur Elise’. Year 8 will then create a performance of ‘Fur Elise’ on the keyboard using two hands (melody and bass). Students will then introduce chords and broken chords into their performance.   

Spring Term 

The History and Development of The Blues 

Year 8 will focus on the beginnings of the blues and its links with the slave trade and African Musical traditions. They will listen to and discuss famous pieces of Blues music through time. Students will then create a Blues performance using the twelve-bar blues pattern. Using skills from the previous unit of work, students will perform with two hands. The performance will also use some compositional skills such as improvisation. 

Summer Term 

Musical Structure using Band Lab 

Year 8 will gain an understanding of the use of different structures in music, this includes binary and ternary form. They will then use Band Lab for Education to demonstrate their understand of musical structure. Students will compose a piece of ternary form music using samples and loops from the programme.  

Year 9

Autumn Term 

Film Music 

An introduction to the use of music in Film. Students will use their listening skills to understand and express how atmospheres are created using music in film. Year 9 will create a performance of the famous John Williams score for ‘Jurassic Park’.  

Spring Term 

Creating a Dance Track using a Digital Audio Workstation 

Using stems, students will understand how to organise and produce tracks to create a successful piece of dance music. This will include choosing appropriate sample to match the given stems and organising them into a clear structure. Students will then be given the freedom to use the skills gained over the previous lessons to create their own piece of dance music from and empty DAW project.  

Summer Term 

Creating Music for Film & Game 

Year 9 will use their listening skills to analyse famous pieces of music from film and game. This will then be used to inform a composition project. The students will be given a scene from a film or game, they will storyboard and timestamp the clip and suggest what musical atmosphere should be created within the scene. Using Band Lab for Education, they students will use their composition skills to produce the music for the film or game clip. 

Year 10 & 11 – BTEC Level 1 / 2 Firsts in Music Practice

Course overview 

The course is comprised of three components, two components will be complete or underway in year 10. Students will focus on developing their understanding of different music genres, improving their rehearsal and performing skills and developing their ability to compose music.  

Component 1 - Exploring Music Products and Styles 

Students will be able to demonstrate an awareness of the techniques and elements used in a range of musical styles and to be able to apply that understanding to create short musical examples for musical products. The component is split into two tasks. In task 1, students will compile a portfolio of evidence that demonstrates their understanding of four different styles of music. They will spend time researching the four different genres and exploring their musical traditions through performance activities and listening activities. In task 2, learners will create three 30–60-second compositions related to a theme. The composition will relate to a genre or theme. 

Component 2 - Music Skills Development 

During component 2 students will plan and create two musical outcomes (performance or composition) in different musical areas in response to a theme that will develop professional and musical skills. Throughout this component you must evidence your development. This can be done through recordings of performances or draft versions of compositions.  

Extra-Curricular Activities

At Cardinal Heenan we offer a range of different extra curricula opportunities including; Guitar Club, School Production Band, KS3 & KS4 Rock Band, Swing Band, Music Technology Club and School Choir. The clubs run for approximately 1 hour after school and a timetable will be available from the beginning of the academic year.

Useful Websites


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Welcome to

Cardinal Heenan