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Learning Journey & Sequencing Rationale

The aim of Year 8 is to invite learners to identify aspects of their own and others’ heritage in the pieces we study.

Having a grounding in the diversity and influences of music, the students start Year 8 with the study of blues and African/American music history.

As the year progresses, a narrative of the development of sub-genres of Jazz (such as neo-Jazz and traditional jazz) develops into the integration of both composition and performance techniques such as improvisation. Links are also made with contemporary gospel and worship music. 

Term 2 revisits the classical and romantic eras and examines early music of the baroque era to establish how the western music canon has developed from the Blues structure and texture 

Students should be able to accurately identify polyphony, homophony and ornamentation through the study of renaissance, post-renaissance and music from the Baroque era; relating it to instruments they already learned about in term 1. 

Students will develop the ability to identify form, structure and instrumentation. They will also be introduced to music as a presence with religious connotations and in celebrations such as Gregorian chanting and secular celebrations. 

The third term relates the journey from Slavery to vinyl and integrates the birth of mass media and popular culture from 1950s to present day, Beatles, Pink Floyd, Queen, Rolling Stones, Elvis Presley. We end the term with the most popular forms of music entertainments of the post 1950s era, Including musical theatre and pop/rock/R and B. 


Unit overview

Subject: Music


Explore history of Blues Music and its properties

  • Reading music notation
  • Playing piano/keyboard
  • Performance Analysis

Prepare a performance using musical skills practiced in class.

  • Pitch, Rhythm, Beat and Sonority


Knowledge will be demonstrated through the following skills:

  • Correct application of pitch, rhythm and beat in performance
  • Correct use of stimulus (sheet music) as an aid to the performance
  • Demonstration of musical intent and successful communication with audience, creating engagement with audience

Key skills:

  • Identifying and applying aspects of Blues music and its historical context
  • Applying Elements of Music within Blues style
  • Perform a short musical work/song
  • Engage an audience, using blues genre
  • Oral and written evaluation of performance
  • Successfully identify areas for improvement in performance

Extended writing:

  • Evaluating performance through analysing the skills of blues performers and how successful they are in their ability.
  • Justifying performance choices using understanding of historic context


Studying the 12 Bar Blues will allow learners to study Blues music and the social & historical context in which it arose. This will encourage learners to view music as a cultural product, rather than purely auditory stimulus, and will give them analytic skills that can be applied to other disciplines and art forms.

Applying the Elements of Music to the study of Blues Music enables learners to draw connections between style, genre and performance context. Combining abstract and practical skills enables competence that will aid learners in other subjects.

Interpersonal relationships will be developed through paired and group work.

Year 8 Music builds on skills and learning from the previous year, challenging students in applying their understanding of Music Elements into practice in performance and analysis. Skills learners develop will lead to creative composition work and the ability to perform different styles of music. GCSE composition component looks at how learners apply different styles and genres of music to their creations.

Knowledge organisers

A knowledge organiser is an important document that lists the important facts that learners should know by the end of a unit of work. It is important that learners can recall these facts easily, so that when they are answering challenging questions in their assessments and GCSE and A-Level exams, they are not wasting precious time in exams focusing on remembering simple facts, but making complex arguments, and calculations.

We encourage all pupils to use them by doing the following:

  • quiz themselves at home, using the read, write, cover, check method;
  • practise spelling key vocabulary;
  • further researching people, events and processes most relevant to the unit.