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Music website bannerGBHS Students Study Music to… 

  • Develop a love for music  

  • Build self-confidence, expression, team-skills and creativity 

  • Foster the ability to analyse music through listening skills 

  • Work in a team, learning how to cooperate with their peers and experience leading others 

  • Embrace a wide variety of musical genres, styles and cultures 

  • Develop skills in composition and performance regardless of prior ability 

  • Embed musical skills within all aspects of their work 

  • To have a deeply rooted appreciation of the Arts 

Transferable Skills

  • Communication 

  • Teamwork 

  • Creativity 

  • Personal Motivation 

  • Listening  

  • Technical Skills 

  • Time Management 

  • Work Ethic 

  • Providing Feedback 

  • Improvisation 

  • Research Skills 

  • Team Management 

  • Emotional Intelligence  

  • Meet Deadlines 

Key Stage 3

The aim of the KS3 curriculum is to generate a passion for music, nurture and enthuse interest in a variety of instruments, develop an appreciation of a range of genres and develop the basic skills of a well-rounded musician. This is achieved through a wide variety of half-termly Schemes of Work that each focus on performance, composition and wider listening elements. 

Year 7 Topics: Baseline Testing (to assess previous music knowledge from KS2), Vocal Techniques, Pop & Rock, African Drumming, Stomp! and Piano. 

Year 8 Topics: Chord Sequences & Pop Music, Ukulele, Jazz & Improvisation, Song-Writing, Classical Music, and Recording & Remixing. 

In Year 9 we study four topics with either a performance or composition focus attached to them. Knowledge about the topics is taught through the deep-analysis of set pieces and their significance within the topic. The performance or composition allows students to learn new skills related to the topic and demonstrate their understanding through practical work of a larger-scale compared to Year 7 and Year 8. 

Year 9 Topics:  

  • Music for the Stage – Hamilton the Musical – Composition task to produce a number for a musical 

  • Fusion Music – Skye Wauking Song by Capercaillie – Performance of a modern piece fused with jazz/samba elements 

  • Music for Film – Excerpts from a variety of film genres – Composition of a film piece similar to the work of Hans Zimmer 

  • Music for Voice – Times Like These by Foo Fighters – Performance of a modern piece as an ensemble and/or as a solo 

Key Stage 4

Exam Board: Edexcel 
Pre-Course Recommended Requirements 

Grade 4 standard on an instrument/voice and be able to read notation (Please note there is flexibility with these recommended requirements. For further information or an assessment of course suitability, please contact one of the Music Teachers).The GCSE Music course content is based around the three key principles of a well-rounded musician (performance, composition, listening and appraisal). 
60% of the course is coursework and 40% a written exam sat in the Summer Term of the year of the award. 

Performance (30%) 

Students submit one solo recording and one ensemble recording. Together these performances must be four-minutes’ worth of material with a minimum length of one minute each. The expected grade of difficulty is Grade 4 (ABRSM). 

Composition (30%) 

Students submit two compositions with a combined minimum run-time of three minutes and minimum of one minute each. One composition is to an Edexcel specified brief released at the start of the year of final examination. The other composition is of free-choice and may be developed from the student’s personal interest or genres covered in class. With all compositions, students may prepare their work using our industry-standard software and with the support of our resident Composition Tutor. 

Listening and Appraising (40%): 

Students complete a 1 hour 30-minute written examination in the Summer of their final year. Within the exam students are required to answer questions on any extracts from the eight set-works taught to them, complete an unfamiliar listening task, a rhythmic and melodic dictation exercise and write a comparison essay between one of their set-works and an unfamiliar piece of the same genre/style. 

Additional Support: 

GCSE Music students receive a Free 15-minute allocation of peripatetic teaching to use either in instrumental lessons or composition tutorials. 

Students have the opportunity to attend Lectures linked specifically to their set-works performed by the London Philharmonic Orchestra via the Brightsparks initiative. 

Key Stage 5

Exam Board: Edexcel 

Duration: 2 Years 
Pre-Course Recommended Requirements 

Grade 7 standard on an instrument/voice and be able to read notation (Please note there is flexibility with these recommended requirements. For further information or an assessment of course suitability, please contact one of the Music Teachers) 

About the course: 

The A-Level course we run here at Great Baddow High School is a continuation of the GCSE course outlined above. All weightings remain the same, however the Performance recital must last 8 minutes minimum and be of Grade 7 standard. The composition is expected to be longer too and a larger amount of substantial set works are studied. 


Students give monthly in-class performances of a section of their final repertoire to check it is making progress. There are also multiple mock recitals during Y13 to prepare the students for the final assessed recital. 

Students submit their composition work at least once a half-term for marking and feedback although this can be more regularly if the student prefers shorter/fewer targets to prioritise. 

Compositions and Performances receive on-going verbal feedback when time is given in class to work on these aspects of the course. 

The Listening and Appraising is assessed via the checking of notes and annotated scores at the end of each of the eighteen set-works studied, regular quizzes on the set-works, essay practise writing once every three weeks and four PPE's conducted in examination conditions. 

Social, Moral, Spiritual and Cultural Development


  • All students work is encouraged to show individuality that is purposeful and meaningful. 

  • Students are taught to give and receive positive criticism in order to inform ideas and decisions about their work. 

  • Students are encouraged to explore their own styles of performance in order to promote self-identity.  

  • We concentrate on building confidence through developing skill sets in each project. 

  • Confidence is developed through performance and class activities. 

  • Communication skills, Listening Skills and Teamwork – through ensemble/group work 

  • Self-Expression – developed through the medium of music (vital for well-being and mental health) 


  • All students are taught to listen to songs in order to relate to a concept or idea that conveys a meaning. 

  • Students are required to give an opinion on others work with justification for their view. 


  • Performances of student work around the school, on our Youtube channel and on our Twitter feed. 

  • Respect and empathy developed during the watching of others performances and the process of giving feedback 

  • Self-Expression is developed through the medium of music (vital for well-being and mental health) 

  • Happiness is found through singing (scientifically proven to release positive endorphins) 


  • Students develop through researching and analysing a wide range of artists and link their findings to their own work. 

  • Students are encouraged to experiment with a variety of traditional and non-traditional art materials and processes. 

  • Investigation and analysis of artists and work that may address cultural, social and political views. 

Beyond the Classroom

Instrumental Lessons 

We are joined weekly by 11 peripatetic teachers giving specialist tuition in a range of instruments providing 15, 30 or 60 minute lessons during the school day. This service is provided by Essex Music Services and private-tutors. 

Lessons offered include at present, but are not limited to: 

  • Violin 

  • Double-Bass 

  • Flute 

  • Clarinet / Saxophone 

  • Trumpet / Trombone 

  • Electric Guitar / Bass Guitar / Acoustic Guitar / Ukulele 

  • Drums 

  • Piano / Keyboard 

  • Classical Vocals / Modern Vocals 


We offer a wide-range of extra-curricular clubs where students can further their performance experiences beyond the classroom and peripatetic lessons. 
Please see the Club Timetable for a summary of each ensembles and our timetable of when these clubs meet: 


December:    Christmas Carol Service at Chelmsford Cathedral 

February:      GCSE Performance Recital 

April:             Piano Recital Evening 

June:             Stand-alone Concerts by the collective Choirs and the Orchestra (themed) 

July:              Summer Concert  


Students of Great Baddow High School often perform at school functions such as Curriculum meetings with parents, Awards Evenings, Christmas Dinners, Sports Days, and Assemblies. Our students also feature in events within the Chelmsford area such as the Jack Petchey Awards Evenings, Chelmsford’s Gotta Dance Shows, Summer Fetes and Weddings. 


Instruments: We have some string, brass and woodwind instruments that can be lent to students receiving peripatetic lessons on those instruments. For whole class learning we have 30 ukuleles, 15 guitars, a Samba kit for up to 50 students and 17 MIDI keyboards in each classroom which serve as instruments and as technology to play compositions into our software. Students also have access to the Pianos in the four practise rooms and classrooms as well as the two drum-kits within the department. 

Technology: Our two music classrooms are each equipped with 17 computers and MIDI keyboards. All our keyboards are linked to the computers so that they can be used as instruments and as interfaces for composing on our collection of music software’s.  

We currently own the following software’s: 

  • Sibelius Ultimate – the latest version of the score-notation software where you can play in parts or manually notate parts for every ensemble and instrument imaginable 

  • Cubase – a leading MIDI software that allows you to play in parts for a range of instruments, record in vocals and guitar direct to the software, and edit the overall sound with a range of adjustable effects units 

  • Reason – similar to Cubase but in a simplified format for KS3 

We also have access to and can support students who choose to compose via Charanga, GaragBandSoundTrap, Logic and any other similar softwares to these platforms. 

Our Recording Studio boasts a range of high-quality microphones for a range of uses including SM57’s, SM58’s, Behringer B2’s, a Behringer D2, a Coomber C1000, and Sennheiser Figure-8 Vocal Mics. Our microphones cover an array of Polar pattern types and they are versatile to an array of uses from recording full kit, to solo guitar, full orchestra, choirs and soloists. We have multiple mic-stands and pop shields to get the best quality sound possible and all can be operated from our studio and sound-proof booth. We have a Guitar DI box and a pair of Sennheiser HD280 Pro Studio headphones to assist a high-quality mixing and editing process.