"Music is the universal language of mankind".
~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Outre-Mer


Welcome to the Music Department at Pilton Community College where our aim is to promote and encourage the enjoyment of music in its many forms for everyone.

We provide a growing and exciting programme of activities, in and outside the classroom, which gives pupils the opportunities to get involved in different forms of music-making at all levels throughout the school. Involvement in music activities enables our students to develop many skills including self-expression, cultural understanding, critical skills and social interaction. It also helps to increase self-esteem, self-discipline and creativity.

Music plays a major part in the extra-curricular life at Pilton and pupils are encouraged to take part in the musical activities available. Currently we offer the following choice of extra-curricular activities: Choir, Senior Choir, Boys Singing Group, Orchestra/Swing Band, Guitar Club, Technology Club and we always encourage pupils to set up and lead their own groups.


Music Staff List:

Mrs A Lang (Head of Music)

Mr R Newman

Units of work, Grouping of students, assessment and expected standards

All students in Years 7, 8 and 9 have one unit of Music per week. The programme of study covers a wide variety of different styles from classical to contemporary, as well as exploring music from around the world. Each scheme of work aims to help students develop their musical skills through a mixture of performing, composing, listening and appraising.

Levels are given at the end of each unit of work and target levels are given and available for parents to observe on Sims learning gateway.

Units of Work: Year 7

• Elements of Music and Notation

• Marches and Waltzes

• African Music

• Programme Music

• Indian Music

• Group Performances


Units of Work: Year 8

• Graphic Scores

• Baroque Music

• Blues and Improvistaion

• Samba/Junk Music

• Radio Show

• Pop Song Performance


Key Stage 4

In year 9 pupils can take Music as an option to study at GCSE.


The current course has 5 areas to study:

1.Rhythm and metre

2. Harmony and tonality

3. Texture and melody

4. Timbre and dynamics

5. Structure and form

These are experienced through three strands:


1. The Western Classical Tradition

• Baroque orchestral music

• The concerto

• Music for voices

• Chamber music

• The sonata


2. Popular Music of the 20th and 21st Centuries

• Blues

• Popular music of the 1960s

• Rock music, R'n'B, Hip-Hop

• Music theatre

• Film music


3. World Music

• Music of the Caribbean

• Music of Africa

• Music of India

1. You will need to compose a piece of music and complete an appraisal of that piece of music which uses at least 2 of the areas of study and is linked to the 'Western Classical Music' strand. This will be marked by an external examiner. This work represents 20% of the final mark.

2. You will compose a piece of music in a style of your choice but must use 2 or more of the areas of study. This will be marked by your teacher and moderated externally. This work represents 20% of the final mark.

3. You will perform individually and as part of a group on your chosen instrument or voice. Each piece should last a maximim of 5 minutes. This performance will be recorded and marked by your teacher and then moderated externally. This work represents 40% of the final mark.


Written/Listening exam:
You will listen to a range of music from the 3 strands studied and answer questions under the 5 areas of study.



The New GCSE Specification (first exam 2018)


Subject Content

Core content

1. Understanding music


2. Performing music


3. Composing music


What's assessed


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)

The exam is 1 hour and 30 minutes.

This component is worth 40% of GCSE marks (96 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.

This component is 30% of GCSE marks (72 marks).

Non-exam assessment (NEA) will be internally marked by teachers and externally moderated by AQA. Performances must be completed in the year of certification.


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.

This component is 30% of GCSE marks (72 marks).

Non-exam assessment (NEA) will be internally marked by teachers and externally moderated by AQA.




Instrumental tuition is offered in violin, viola, cello and double bass; flute, oboe, clarinet, saxophone; trumpet, cornet, trombone; percussion; acoustic and electric guitar; piano and keyboard, and voice. Tuition takes place during school hours on a rotating basis, or at lunchtimes and after school by arrangement.


Students who opt to take music at GCSE are entitled to free tuition on an instrument of their choice.

Our wide variety of extra-curricular musical activities enables students of all abilities to get involved. These take place after school or at lunchtime. Current groups include:


Orchestra/Swing Band

Aimed at all instrumentalists.This group usually plays a mixture of popular classics and arrangements of pop, rock or film themes.



This involves all year groups and performances include a mixture of popular songs and songs from the musicals


Vocal Harmony Group

This group is aimed at selected students and GCSE Music students and offers a varied programme ranging from Musicals to Madrigals


Boys Singing Group

Setup to encourage boys singing that offers a wide programme including popular music.

There are also opportunities for students to form their own bands and the practice room facilities are available to use in lunchtime and after school.


Various concerts are arranged throughout the year: these include whole-school events which showcase all the ensembles as well as solos by some of our most advanced students; rock band nights; talent shows, and the very popular Carol Service held in St Peters Church, Barnstaple. The recent summer concert included a really diverse programme that involved students from year 7 to year 13 and included music that ranged from the Renaissance period to a lively Samba Band.


Musical productions
Pupils are encouraged to take part in the annual Musical productions. There is always a live band made up of students and previous productions include; Bugsy Malone; Oliver; Dracular Spectacular, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, We Will Rock You, Happy Days and we are looking forward to our next production Billy Elliot


Home Learning Opportunities

Home Learning is an important aspect of students' independent learning skills and can help to consolidate learning in the classroom. Home Learning is set for Key Stage 3 and should take approximately 30 minutes for year 7 and 8 and 45 minutes for year 9 to complete.

At Key Stage 4, GCSE Home Learning is part of students' coursework commitment. This is set weekly and is equivalent to an hour's study at GCSE level.

Home Learning can be extended and supplemented by engaging with learning resources and gallery links listed below

Respect  * Responsibility *  Resilience * Trust *  Kindness *  Courage

A specialist language college

Pilton Community College, Chaddiford Lane, Barnstaple, Devon  EX31 1RB.  01271 374381  email: