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At Guru Nanak Sikh Academy the Music department is thriving and has excellent resources. The department has two teaching rooms, one with a suite of keyboards and one with 18 Mac computers installed with Sibelius and Garage Band software.  There are also 4 practice rooms that allow students to work in smaller groups during their music lessons or at free times and each of these has a piano.

The department offers a variety of extra-curricular activities including an Academy Choir, Samba, African Drumming, Steel Pans, Bathkandeh Club and Composition Club. We have an annual Christmas concert during which students can perform in front of friends and family. There are many other opportunities to perform within the school throughout the academic year. We are planning our first whole school musical for the summer of 2017.

We currently offer weekly instrumental lessons in a variety of instruments: Tabla, drum kit, violin, viola, keyboard, piano and guitar. We work with Hillingdon Music Service and, in doing so, can also provide tuition on almost any instrument that is requested.

The Music department also organises a range of trips throughout the year. Recent trips have included a classical concert at the Royal Festival Hall and a theatre trip to see Mamma Mia.

Key Stage 3

In Year 7, students are introduced to a range of topics including:

  • The Sound of Africa: Singing and Drumming
  • Keyboard Studies
  • Instruments of the Orchestra
  • Junk Percussion
  • Musical Theatre

 Students are offered opportunities to play a variety of instruments and often use music technology during their music lessons.

The skills learnt in Year 7 are further developed in Year 8. Topics include:

  • Reggae
  • Theme and Variation
  • Cartooning
  • Rap
  • Cover Versions

In Year 9, students continue to develop their skills and are encouraged to become more independent and creative as young musicians. Topics include:

  • Samba and Fusion
  • Blues into Jazz
  • Music for the Big Screen
  • The Piano Sonata
  • The Popular Song

The GCSE syllabus is gradually introduced throughout the year to prepare students and allow students to decide if Music is a suitable option for them at Key Stage 4.


Informal assessments take place weekly in the music department. Formal assessments are held at the end of every half term and individual targets are set for each student to progress. Practical assessments are recorded.

Key Stage 4

GCSE Music

If you enjoy the practical nature of music and having a hands - on approach to learning then music is the subject for you at GCSE. The course develops the topics taught at Key Stage 3 and students are provided the opportunity to study music from all around the world. Students must be prepared to invest their own time at lunch and after school to develop their coursework and musical skills.

Students follow the EDEXCEL GCSE Music. The award is currently based on the three areas of Performing (30% – Controlled Assessment), Composing (30% Controlled Assessment) and Listening (40% Listening and Areas of Study exam). There is, however, a new specification for teaching in September 2016 in which the same disciplines are studied.

During the two years, you will study FOUR Areas of Study:

  • Western Classical Music 1600-1899
  • Music in the 20th Century
  • Popular Music in context
  • World Music

Performance – 30%

Students study at least one instrument and perform Solo and Ensemble pieces. One solo and one group piece is submitted for the coursework.
A wide range of instruments, as well as the voice/beatbox, can be studied. All GCSE students are strongly encouraged to take up instrumental/vocal lessons if these are not already in place.

Composition – 30%

Students compose two pieces relating to different Areas of Study and the best two pieces from different Areas of Study are selected for final submission.

Listening and Appraising – 40%

Students study twelve contrasting pieces of music from the four Areas of Study. They answer questions based on these set pieces of music. The listening exam lasts for 1½ hours and takes place at the end of Year 11. Students identify features of the music and examine the music in a cultural context. Students are encouraged to listen to a wide variety of music and attend live concerts where possible. 

Key Stage 5

AS Level

The AS Level, completed in one year, comprises of three modules.

  • Unit 1: Performance (30%);
  • Unit 2: Composition (30%)
  • Unit 3: Developing Musical Understanding (40%). 


One 2 hour exam at the end of Year 12

Unit 1 assessment comprises a 6-8 minute performance on an instrument(s)

A Level

In Year 13 students take a further three modules to gain an award in A Level Music

  • Unit 4: Extended Performance (30%);
  • Unit 5: Composition and Technical Study (30%)
  • Unit 6: Further Musical Understanding (40%)


One 2-hour exam at the end of Year 13

Unit 4 assessment comprises a 12-15 minute recital of one or more instruments