Music is a universal language that embodies one of the highest forms of creativity. Music is all around us. It is the soundtrack to our lives. Music connects us through people and places in our ever-changing world. It is creative, collaborative, celebratory and challenging. In our schools, music can bring communities together through the shared endeavour of whole-school singing, ensemble playing, experimenting with the creative process and, through the love of listening to friends and fellow pupils, performing. The sheer joy of music making can feed the soul of a school community, enriching each student while strengthening the shared bonds of support and trust which make a great school.

Outside the classroom

Music at Harlington Upper School is a vibrant affair! Students are encouraged not only to participate in, but also lead the many extra curricular music opportunities that are offered to them. Current music groups include Year 9 Voice Box, 6th Form Chamber Choir, Harlington Voice Box, Ukulele group, Guitar group, Percussion group, Orchestra, Jazz, String, Wind and Brass ensembles and Harlington Jams. It expected that, as part of GCSE/RSL/A Level music courses, students attend at least one activity associated with their instrument/s and Harlington Voice Box on a weekly basis and participate in the main school concerts.

Students have the opportunity to take part in various music trips, including orchestral concerts, operas and shows. School concerts, band nights and lunch time gigs, are a regular feature of the school calendar and the bi-annual whole school musical provides another opportunity for students to perform.

We have an excellent, dedicated and highly motivated team of visiting instrumental and vocal teachers (VMT’s) who prepare their students to achieve in the external instrumental/vocal exams as well as support them towards their KS4 and 5 exams whilst also playing a full part in the Music Department’s Tours to Europe.

Year 9

The course will provide an opportunity for students to develop their performance skills in a variety of musical styles. It is particularly appropriate for students who wish to pursue music at Key Stage 4 and beyond.

All students are taught basic keyboard and vocal skills and existing musicians are encouraged to use their instruments in lessons. Students will also be given the opportunity to compose their own music and learn about the fundamental aspects of music through listening and appraising.

Students work individually, in pairs and in larger groups, depending on tasks set. To complement the music curriculum we offer instrumental and vocal lessons as well as many extra-curricular activities.

Year 10 and 11

The school’s policy with regard to instrument tuition is that parents will pay the cost of lessons for the Autumn and Spring terms for students taking Music GCSE or the Music Practitioners Level 2 course. 

Parents will also pay the cost of the lessons in the Summer term, however the school will refund the cost of the final terms lessons at a rate of one lesson per week, per student taking Music GCSE.

The refund will be given on the proviso that the student has a 100% attendance record at peripatetic music lessons throughout the academic year (other than where the student is absent for the day due to sickness or on an approved trip) and regularly attends an ensemble group (where one exists) for their instrument, and participates in school music events such as concerts or productions.  The refund will be made during the following Autumn term.

CourseGCSE Music
Exam Board/SyllabusEdexcel Syllabus 1MUO
Grade Equivalences9 to 1
Assessment Route

Written paper (Listening) (40%)

Performance as a soloist and as a member of a group (30%)

Composition (30%)


The GCSE Music course provides skills for students to pursue further study in three key areas of performance, composition and analysis. The qualification requires students to demonstrate theoretical music knowledge through the studying of set works, perform effectively on an instrument/voice, ideally to a Grade 4 standard, and to compose two contrasting pieces.


This component is internally assessed and externally moderated. Students will be assessed on a solo performance, for a minimum of one minute, and an ensemble performance, again for a minimum of one minute. Together, the performances must total a minimum of 4 minutes.


This component is internally assessed and externally moderated. Students will be assessed on two compositions. One composition will be to a set brief, minimum of one minute, and the other will be a free composition, again for a minimum of one minute. Together the compositions must total a minimum of 3 minutes.


This component is assessed by written exam and will cover four genres of music:

  • Instrumental Music 1700 – 1820
  • Vocal Music
  • Music for Stage and Screen
  • Fusions


CourseMusic Practitioners Level 2 Award
Exam Board/SyllabusRSL
Grade EquivalencesLevel 2 Pass, Merit, Distinction and Distinction*
Assessment Route

Written and practical portfolio

Live Music Performance, is externally assessed


The Level 2 Music Practitioners course provides skills for students to pursue further study in performance, studio production and composition. The qualification requires students to demonstrate theoretical music knowledge, perform effectively on an instrument/voice, develop rehearsal skills and repertoire, as well as music technology skills.

The course consists of three units

Music Knowledge Development

This unit is internally assessed. Students will complete a:
  • Research project of two contrasting modern musical styles, which explores artists/bands/producers, important recordings and performances, and imagery/fashion associated with the style.
  • Listening analysis project, which requires learners to recognise musical features such as; tonality, tempo, instrumentation, lyric content and production techniques.

Live Music Performance

This unit is externally assessed. Students will:
  • Plan a live music performance (repertoire, lighting, projections, costume, ticket and poster design)
  • Undertake an effective rehearsal process
  • Perform in a live environment to a target audience
  • Reflect on the success of the performance


This unit is internally assessed. Students will:
  • Create a piece of music in a defined style of their choice
  • Reflect on the finished music and consider its strengths & areas for development.

Super Curricular Activities

Be ambitious: Engage with the Super Curriculum


Year 9 Music Super Curriculum here


Key Stage 4 Music Super Curriculum here


Ethos & Aims

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