“Music is a moral law. It gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, a charm of sadness, and life to everything. It is the essence of order, and leads to all that is good, just and beautiful, of which it is the invisible, but nevertheless dazzling, passionate and eternal form”

Greek Philosophy

Within the Performing Arts, music is held in high esteem. To allow a student to express themselves through music is fundamental to the Arts, and our talented musicians are held in high regard throughout our school community. The dedication needed to learn and become expert in an instrument or voice and the determination to achieve a high level of performance are great examples of our LEARN ethos in action. The music curriculum is designed to develop artistic and cultural competence and expression, as well as fostering creativity, critical judgment, and general cultural and social skills.

Our belief is that discipline and talent in music can lead to success in other areas as it:

  • promotes respect for other people’s cultural identities

  • promotes awareness of one’s own identity

  • fosters critical reflection and general life skills

Our aims in the music department are to:

  • Give every student the opportunity to develop knowledge and skills in the arts

  • Give every student the opportunity to discover and communicate their own artistic and cultural expressions

  • Strengthen the students’ aesthetic, social and cultural competences

  • Strengthen the students’ capacity for critical reflection and independent choice

  • Provide opportunities for in-depth training, preparing them for higher education in arts and culture

  • Contribute, in cooperation with the school system, to a comprehensive general education in arts and culture for children and young people

  • Cooperate with local cultural life in offering cultural and artistic support for teaching and communicating arts and culture to the entire local community

By the end of the students’ experience of Music at Westhoughton, whether it is at KS3 or 4, we want to ensure that every student has been given the opportunity to express himself or herself in front of an audience; concerts, shows and exhibitions are an integrated part of the school experience, and every student receives feedback on their development and results through half-termly assessments and evaluations.

Key Stage 3

In Years 7, 8 and 9, pupils study a variety of genres and styles through performance, composition, and listening and appraising. We work with Bolton Music Service to provide instrumental lessons as an option for those pupils who wish to have a more intense programme of learning on their preferred instrument.

Year 7 

At the start of Y7 we explore the elements of music focusing particularly on dynamics, pitch, texture, tempo, duration and sonority. We learn how to use our voices properly adopting good technique and posture and students produce a group performance of a song of their choice to demonstrate their learning.

Students then transfer these skills to musical instruments by learning how to play the keyboard. Using rhythm and pitch notation they learn how to use the correct technique to play melodies using the treble clef. Those pupils with previous experience of learning an instrument are placed on an accelerated and personalised programme of study.

Year 8 
UnitWhat We Learn
In this unit students learn how to play the Ukulele and explore the 12 bar Blues sequence, as well as mastering a variety of chords to enable them to accompany themselves singing several well-known songs.
Extended Keyboard Skills
Pupils build upon the skills gained in Year 7 and extend their knowledge of the keyboard by exploring chords and sharps and flats. As well as learning to play the keyboard, pupils use it to develop their creativity by producing their own music based on different themes.
Band work 1  Combining the skills they have gained in the first two terms, and introducing more complex rhythms and syncopation, students work together in groups to produce their own ‘band’ performances using Reggae music as a platform 

Year 9

Band work 2  In Year 9 students develop their band skills further through studying the different kinds of chords used in pop songs. In small groups they produce performances of music by current bands and artists 
Film music  Students explore the music of film score composers through learning to play famous theme tunes from well-known films. Students learn the techniques used by composers to achieve certain effects through music and use these in their own compositions to produce a soundtrack for a film 
Dance music & sequencing  Using music technology students will learn how music is sequenced and mixed using pre-recorded tracks. They will learn how to use structure, texture, tempo and sound effects to produce their own unique piece of music 

Key Stage 4

Courses run in Key Stage 4 include Music GCSE and BTEC awards – the exam course each year is chosen according to the talents and abilities of the small cohort opting to take music.

The current Y11 cohort are studying for the BTEC Technical Award in Music Practice, this consists of three components:

Component 1: Exploring Music Products and Styles 

This unit is designed to introduce students to performing, composing, producing (using technology) as well as listening and analysis skills.

In Year 10 students take part in many different music-making workshops over several months to explore a wide range of different styles and iconic performers. They produce a portfolio of their studies which includes: 

• Short videos of their own interpretations of musical products

• Audio

• Text

• Graphics

• Annotated photos

Component 2: Musical Skills Development

Students SPECIALISE from two out of these three areas:

Performing (on their chosen instrument or voice.


Producing (using technology to create music)

Component 3: Responding to a Commercial Brief

Students are given a brief from the exam board to work on which they then develop to present an ORIGINAL creation, choosing one of the four styles the exam board has selected for that year. This final piece of work can be presented as a solo or group performance, an audio recording or a project using Cubase/music technology.

Throughout the course students work entirely to their own strengths.