Don Valley Music Department believes all students can achieve a degree of success in music. Students have the right to study in a positive, creative and friendly environment and we strive to achieve this in our classrooms at all times. Every student can share in the enjoyment and satisfaction of music in its various forms through progressively developing their skills in the fundamental aspects of performing, composing, listening and appraising, with an emphasis on music making. Through music education we believe students can develop self-confidence, co-operation and social skills as well as develop creativity and sensitivity.

Don Valley Music Department believes in equal opportunities for all and therefore offers free instrumental lessons to all students who opt to study Music at KS 4 (Years 9, 10 and 11). Instrumental lessons are also offered to all other students at a cost of £5.17 a week and are subsidised for Pupil Premium students.  Currently students can study drums, voice, saxophone, clarinet, flute, trumpet, trombone, euphonium, keyboard, piano, bass guitar, electric guitar and classical guitar.

The Music Department offers a wide variety of weekly extra-curricular activities which anyone can attend: Don Valley Vocals, soul band, theory club, GCSE & BTEC study club, Drum club, and KS3 keyboard club. Students can also book 1 of our 8 practice rooms at break, lunch or after school to develop their skills.

The KS3 programme of Study is comprised of topic based schemes of work. The emphasis is on practical music making using keyboards, drums, the voice and music technology. It provides a continuous and progressive education.

Year 7

1960’s music and the voice

Staff notation with basic keyboard skills

Rhythm and the drum kit

Music technology using Mixcraft – composing a ringtone

Ensemble performance – Band Skills

Year 8

1970’s music and singing

Chords and Reggae – Band Skills

Song writing

Chromaticism, Fur Elise, keyboard skills

Music technology, Cartoon and film

BTEC Music Year 9 – (Equivalent to 1 GCSE)

Unit 1 – The Music Industry

Students take a written exam in May/June

Unit 2 – Managing a Music Product

Students create, plan, promote,  manage and review an event

Unit 5 – Introducing Music Performance

Students rehearse and improve performance skills


New Specification

Component 1: Understanding music - 40% of GCSE marks (96 marks)

What's assessed- The exam is 1 hour and 30 minutes.


Contextual understanding

How it's assessed

Exam paper with listening exercises and written questions using excerpts of music.


Section A: Listening – unfamiliar music (68 marks)

Section B: Study pieces (28 marks)

Component 2: Performing music - 30% of GCSE marks (72 marks).

What's assessed

Music performance

How it's assessed

As an instrumentalist and/or vocalist and/or via technology:

Performance 1: Solo performance (36 marks)

Performance 2: Ensemble performance (36 marks).

A minimum of four minutes of performance in total is required, of which a minimum of one minute must be the ensemble performance.

Component 3:Composing music- 30% of GCSE marks (72 marks).

What's assessed


How it's assessed

  • Composition 1: Composition to a brief (36 marks)
  • Composition 2: Free composition (36 marks)

A minimum of three minutes of music in total is required.