The Purbeck School Music Curriculum

Why Study Music at The Purbeck School?

At The Purbeck School, musicians of all experiences and abilities enjoy music, feeling a sense of fulfilment, friendship, joy and competence through a range of extra-curricular opportunities and high quality music instruction.

Using links with supporting organisations, musicians at Purbeck are drawn into annual opportunities that inspire and free their creative and expressive imagination. Past examples include masterclasses with the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra and The Band & Bugles of The Rifles, large ensemble performances and orchestral workshops with Dorset Music Service and Purbeck Youth Music, and an opportunity to create and perform a miniature opera with Dorset Opera.

In addition to these practical opportunities, students also experience inspiring live music of both local and international performers – whether that is 1920s swing at Exeter Northcott Theatre, opera at Covent Garden (courtesy of ENO’s under 18s go free), free masterclasses at the Royal College of Music, the film music of John Williams and Hans Zimmer at Poole Lighthouse or the more intimate sounds of Purbeck Chamber Music Festival – that connect them with a broader, boundless musical community; but also more deeply with their friends in a positive, shared experience.

In school, weekly lunchtime concerts provide musicians and bands opportunities to perform and try out new repertoire and material in a welcoming and positive environment. The annual school musical is a highlight of the school calendar bringing together departments across the school and offering students the opportunity to develop skills and gain experience in an array of roles from the pit band, lead characters and chorus, to sound, lighting, stage, costume and make-up design, in an inspiring, professional production that often shows to sell-out crowd. The school choir performs at a number of engagements throughout the year, both in school and to the wider community, whilst there are opportunities for instrumentalists to join our dedicated school woodwind and string ensemble.

Curriculum music at The Purbeck School is a practical in every sense. Lessons are opportunities for students to showcase their enthusiasm and energy for performing, whether demonstrating their skills on their specialist instrument, or using their voice, keyboards, or the instruments available in lesson. This is complemented with tasks that deliberately practice musical literacy, theory, dictation and aural skills, exploring specific concepts in an array of styles and contexts. Students also gain a thorough grounding in the rudiments of composition and harmony, exploring how these techniques and features are used in a number of styles, including commercial music, musical theatre, the western classical tradition, jazz and 21st Century styles.

From language skills, to literacy and numeracy, and enhanced intellectual, social and emotional development, many parents recognise the benefits of music and encourage an active involvement with it beyond KS3. GCSE music provides numerous opportunities for students to practise their performance skills, enhancing self-discipline, self-esteem and a sense of identity. Students who succeed are empathetic, intrinsically motivated, and refuse to let things get in the way of their practice. Ensemble performance is a prominent part of GCSE music. It allows students to meet and get together with likeminded people, sharing their passion for music, developing a stronger sense of community and sense of belonging. In addition to the opportunities in school, opportunities outside of school include Dorset Youth Symphony Orchestra, Dorset Youth Chamber Orchestra, Dorset Youth Jazz Orchestra, Reel Dorset, Purbeck Arts Choir, Bournemouth Symphony Youth Chorus, and Swish Theatre School.

How is Music taught?

  • KS3 – students are taught in mixed ability classes for 2 hours a fortnight on rotation with Art and Drama
  • KS4 – students are taught in mixed ability classes for 5 hours a fortnight

Rationale and ambition for The Purbeck School Music curriculum:

  • To inspire students and develop their fluency in key musical skills

Key concepts:

The concepts that The Purbeck School Music curriculum aims to support student progression in are:

  • To perform with technical control, expression and interpretation
  • Compose and develop musical ideas with technical control and coherence
  • Demonstrate and apply musical knowledge
  • Use appraising skills to make evaluative and critical judgements about music

Useful Links:

National curriculum music:

Eduqas GCSE Music specification:

Long Term Overview


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