Students receive 1 lesson of Music per week in years 7 and 8 following a varied curriculum which enables them to explore and develop performance, composition, listening and appraising.

Each topic will last for half a term and students are assessed on their knowledge, skills and understanding of different musical concepts, genres and traditions. St John’s Music Department are passionate about making music accessible to all, for music to be inclusive.

The KS3 curriculum offers students the chance to experiment with sound, learn new instruments and broaden their theoretical knowledge of Music preparing them for GCSE study if they wish.

Year 7 Topics include Pop Music, Music and Film and in Year 8 Blues and Music in Advertising feature. All topics incorporate music theory alongside practical activity.

St John’s Music Department encourages practical activity in and outside of the classroom aiming to provide students with a wide experience of opportunities. Extra-Curricular activities include:

  • Chamber Choir
  • Pop Choir
  • Orchestra
  • Brass and Woodwind group
  • Ukelele Group
  • Music Theory Clubs
  • MADD – Music, Acting, Dance and Drama
Durham Music Service provides instrumental lessons in school with teachers offering:
  • Brass
  • Woodwind
  • Upper Strings
  • Vocals
St John’s Music staff offer Keyboard tuition. Drum kit and Guitar tuition are both available in St John’s and delivered by 2 external members of staff.


The Edexcel GCSE in Music has a clear structure and is designed to allow candidates to study Music through the integration of performing, composing and listening with opportunities to use music technology. Course Requirement Successful candidates will

  • Have regular instrumental / vocal tuition
  • Practise regularly
  • Be an active musician in school
Paper 1 – PERFORMING 30% For this section students must submit two performances; one SOLO and one ENSEMBLE. Performances may take place at any time during the course and can be on any instrument in any style. The performances are marked by the teacher examiner and then moderated by Edexcel. Paper 2 – COMPOSING 30% In this paper, students develop musical ideas in the form of two compositions or arrangements lasting a minimum of two minutes in total. One composition is set to a brief. The compositions are marked by the teacher examiner and then moderated by Edexcel. Paper 3 – APPRASING 40% In this paper student sit an exam lasting 1 hour 45 minutes responding to questions based on set works from different areas of study. They include Instrumental music 1700-1820, Vocal Music, Music for Stage and Screen and Fusions.


Previous GCSE compositions

Dance In The Fire - Tom Flood:
Daniel Hodges: