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Our learning

Department Vision and Priorities


The Music department at The Cumberland School aims to give every child the opportunity, skills and aspiration to be well qualified, professional musicians.


We explore a variety of skills and topics to fully develop a child musical ability through performing, listening and composing music from a variety of different genres, cultures and traditions.


There are also many opportunities for students to use music to contribute to the school community, and the wider community in Newham.


Music is an exceptional way for students to develop a large range of mental and social skills, such as the ability to be creative and develop their ideas, and self-management skills.  We believe that through music students can not only express themselves but gain a wide range of transferable skills that can prove useful in many different career paths.


Celebration of achievement

In Music we love to celebrate and publicise all our successful and up-and-coming musicians through a variety of means. We have a school record label online at where we post the latest tracks and performances from our students.


Every month we choose one student to be our ‘Artist of the Month’, receiving 50 Vivos and being publicly displayed on our noticeboard and in The Cumberland Chronicle.


At the end of each academic year we also collaborate with the Drama department to present certain students with the ‘Dedication to the Arts Award’, given to students who have shown exceptional commitment to Performing Arts throughout the year.



Music is taught by two full time teachers, Miss Morelle and Mr Fellows, and supported by our fantastic Performing Arts technician, James Allen, four visiting instrumental tutors and a host of musicians from Newham’s innovative ‘Every Child a Musician’ scheme. We are a dynamic and creative team who really enjoy making music with young people and believe in the importance of creating a free and expressive environment to help foster students creativity.




In years 7 and 8 students are taught in form groups and receive one 1 hour lesson a week.  Students are given the opportunity to fully explore and develop their musicality through a variety of topics.  In year 9 students are grouped according to their options choices and students receive two one hour lessons a week.  This gives us the opportunity to explore more advanced topics that will prepare students for the demands of music at KS4.


Year 7

Autumn 1

Autumn 2

Spring 1

Spring 2

Summer 1

Summer 2

Vocal Skills

Class Orchestra

African Drumming

Live Lounge

Mussorgsky Remix

Song writing

Whole class singing

Creating their own warm ups

Preparing a group performance of a song


Learning specific instrumental techniques


Learning to play in time with a group


Whole class performance


Learning about instruments of the orchestra


Learning conventions of African Drumming


Learning to play Polyrhythms as a class

                       Creating their own African Drumming performance


Listening to and analysing different cover versions of a song


Creating their own cover version of a particular song in groups


Learning about arranging and basic composition skills


Using extracts from Night on Bare Mountain to create their own track on Garageband


Learning about conventions of pop songs


Working in groups to create and record their own song

Year 8

Autumn 1

Autumn 2

Spring 1

Spring 2

Summer 1

Summer 2

Guitar Skills

Hip Hop

Repeating Patterns


Film Music


How to play Riffs, chords and guitar percussion

Students creating their own guitar performances


Playing and creating hip hop riffs


Creating a piece on garageband using sampling and loops


Learning conventions and history of hip hop


Learning conventions of Gamalan and Minimalism


Create their own piece using repeated patterns


Creating percussion performances using household objects


Each lesson a new compositional element is explored and developed into a composition


Analysing film music and why it's effective


Learning to play iconic film music tracks


Creating their own piece to go with a film clip


Students learn techniques and conventions of



Create their own track using Virtual DJ

Year 9

Autumn 1

Autumn 2

Spring 1

Spring 2

Summer 1

Summer 2


In At The Deep End

Keyboard Skills


Composition Skills

Conductive Music

*Play complicated polyrhythms as a whole class band


*Learn conventions of Samba music                       *Create their own Samba drumming performance in groups


*Create a cover version of a song using only listening skills to work out the parts


*Learn advanced keyboard skills and techniques


*Work towards a recital performance of a song of their choice


*Learn conventions of Blues, Reggae, Dance Music and


*Each week arrange a simple piece into this style


* Learn techniques and processes of composition     *Work in pairs to create their own piece on the imacs


*Using innovative technology investigate electricity and sound


*Build their own instruments out of unusual materials


*Create a performance using these instruments


There are currently two pathways available to students at KS4: AQA GCSE and BTEC First in Performing Arts.



Unit 1 – Listening and Appraising (20%)


Unit 2 – Composition and Appraising (20%)


Unit 3 – Performing Music (40%)


Unit 4 –

Free Composition (20%)


This unit is all about music history and being able to listen to, identify and describe different aspects of music from aural extracts. This culminates in a one hour exam at the end of Year 11.


This unit is about composing a new piece of music, and then being able to accurately and effectively describe, explain and evaluate the piece in an essay format.


This unit comprises two smaller units, performing as an individual, and performing as a group. Individual performances can be on any instrument, including DJing, rap and using music software, alongside any traditional instrument as well as voices. The group performance element requires students to form a group of two or more and prepare a piece of their choice to play as a band. Within this they receive an individual grade, but it does reflect the overall quality of the group itself.


This final unit is another composition, but without the necessary accompanying essay from Unit 2. This can be in any style or genre.




BTEC Performing Arts


The Edexcel BTEC Level 1/Level 2 First Award in Performing Arts has been designed primarily for young people aged 14 to 19 who may wish to explore a vocational route throughout Key Stage 4, but it is also suitable for other learners who want a vocationally focused introduction to this area of study. It has been developed to:

  • encourage personal development through practical participation and performance in a range of performing arts disciplines
  • give learners a wider understanding and appreciation of performing arts through defined pathways
  • provide education and training for performing arts employees
  • give opportunities for performing arts employees to achieve a nationally recognised level 1 or level 2 vocationally specific qualification
  • give full-time learners the opportunity to progress to other vocational qualifications, such as BTEC Nationals, specifically the Edexcel BTEC Level 3 in Performing Arts (QCF), and, in due course, to progress to employment in the performing arts sector.

Unit 1 – Individual Showcase

Unit 2 – Preparation, Performance, Production

Unit 6 - Music Performance Skills


In this unit you will:


A understand the skills required for the selected progression opportunity


B present a self-promotional response to the selected progression opportunity.




In this unit you will:

A take part in the preparations for a live performance


B demonstrate performance or production skills and techniques in a performance.



In this unit you will:


A explore and develop your music performance skills and review your own practice


B use your music performance skills within rehearsal and performance.





The Music department aims to deliver effective feedback that directly addresses pupils’ needs and allows them to move forward and make progress.


Feedback is regularly given orally in lessons and pupils are supported in what they need to do in order to improve. Students are also encouraged to become reflective learners and will be given many opportunities to evaluate their own and others’ performances.


Each KS3 pupil will be assessed every half term at the end of a project using the relevant Music criteria.  Each assessment focuses on different aspects of the Music criteria.

Students will be assessed on their proficiency in the following areas:




Soft Skills








-Creating Ideas

-Arranging Ideas




-Musical Elements

-Understanding Instruments









Each assessment will be recorded and students will be able to watch their work back and reflect upon their learning.



At KS3 students will be given an ILP (independent learning project) once a term and will have 2 weeks to complete it.  This means that they can develop their independence and research skills.


At KS4 students are required to go to their instrumental lessons as part of their homework.  They are also expected to complete study support sessions and 1-2-1 sessions when scheduled to work on their coursework.



Cumberland School

Oban Close, London, E13 8SJ



T. 020 7474 0231

F. 020 7511 2510


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