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Sir William Ramsay School

Empowering Everyone to Achieve


Department Staff

Mr A Maxwell

Deputy Head of Faculty for Performing Arts/Teacher of Music

Mr J Knowles

Teacher of Music


Curriculum Overview

  • Music Curriculum Overview

Curriculum Intent

While attending Sir William Ramsay School our students will develop the confidence and skills to perform and compose music from a range of cultures through independent and collaborative work. Students will explore the ability to express emotion whilst generating a knowledge base of the historic and modern-day music industry.


BTEC Music Level 2 First Award in Music and BTEC Music Level 3 Extended Certificate in Music.

At Sir William Ramsay School the music department is thriving and has excellent resources. The department comprises of 2 teaching rooms, one with a suite of keyboards and the other has 7 Mac computers and 20 PCs installed with Sibelius and Garageband software.  There are also 2 practice rooms that allow students to work in smaller groups during their music lessons and each have a piano.

If you enjoy the practical nature of music and having a hand- on approach to learning then music is the subject for you at Key Stage 4. The Level 2 and Level 3 BTEC music courses develop the topics taught at Key Stage 3, where students are provided the opportunity to study music from all around the world. Students must be prepared to invest their own time at lunch and after-school to develop their coursework and musical skills.

The department offers a variety of extracurricular activities including a school choir, a Jazz band and a keyboard club. We have several concerts each year where students can perform in front of friends and family and there are multiple opportunities to perform within the school throughout the year, including Ramsay Music Week.

We currently offer weekly instrumental lessons in a variety of instruments. These include drum kit, violin, keyboard, piano,  guitar and singing.

The Music department also arranges a range of trips throughout the year. Recent trips have included visiting and watching concerts at the Royal Festival Hall, Royal Albert Hall and to Ounce Studios.

Key Stage 3

In Year 7, students are introduced to a range of topics including:

  • Music and Sound
  • Rhythm Pulse and Notation
  • Popular Song
  • African Drumming
  • Instruments of the Orchestra

 Students are offered opportunities to play a variety of instruments and often use music technology during their music lessons.

The skills learnt in Year 7 are further developed in Year 8. Topics include:

  • Film Music
  • Song Arrangement
  • Music from the Caribbean
  • Music Theory
  • African Drumming.

In Year 9, students continue to develop their skills and are encouraged to become more independent in their work. Topics include:

  • Jazz,
  • Samba,
  • Dance Music
  • Minimalism.

The BTEC Music syllabus is introduced throughout the year to prepare students and allow students to decide if music is suitable for them at key stage 4.


Informal assessments take place weekly in the music department. Formal assessments are every half term and individual targets are set for each student to progress through the use of assessment wheels.

BTEC Level 2 Music:

Students follow the Level 2 BTEC First Award in Music. They will study 4 units over the 2 year course. Two of these units are compulsory and the other two are chosen from a variety of units. The music teachers choose which optional units best suits each group of students.

Compulsory units:

Unit 1: The Music Industry:

This unit will allow you to gain a good understanding of the scope of the music industry with a view to getting work in and using the organisations that exist. You will investigate music organisations to find out about the work they do and how they relate to and rely on one another. You will also be given the opportunity to find out about the people who work in these organisations, from performers to people who work in technical, production and administrative roles.

Students sit a 1 hour exam in the June of Year 10.

Unit 2: Managing a Music Product:

This unit will enable you to manage the planning, delivery and promotion of a live concert, CD, or other music product. The success of your music product will rely heavily on the planning and development process. It is important that different types of audience are understood and successful promotion is able to effectively engage these audiences. Your research should introduce you to elements of industry practice. You will work in a defined role to apply the specialist skills, knowledge and understanding required for the aspect of the work for which you are responsible.

More information can be found at:

BTEC Level 3 National Extended Certificate in Music

Course outline:

This course is equivalent to 1 A- Level with 4 units of which 3 are mandatory and 2 are external. Mandatory content (83%). External assessment (58%).

The four units (360 guided learning hours) that make up the BTEC Extended Certificate in Music have been developed to give learners experience of working in the music industry. Learners will gain experience not only of industry related tasks but will also be provided with an insight into the various means of employment within the music industry, such as composing and performing. The broad basis of study for the music sector has a focus on performance, personal instrumental technique development, music theory and professional practice.

Course requirements:

Learners wishing to study the BTEC Extended Certificate in Music need to be able to sing or play an instrument competently and with confidence. They need to be aware that they will be required to perform in various contexts throughout the course. A basic understanding of music theory and a study of GCSE or BTEC Music Level 2 at Merit of above is an advantage but not essential. Commitment and enthusiasm are essential and the importance of meeting deadlines is vital.

Course content and Assessment:

Throughout the two year course, learners study 4 units. These give opportunities to:

  • Gain an understanding of world music through practical performance-led tasks
  • Organise and participate in large scale concerts
  • Experience life as  a musician and composer in the music industry and the demands and creativity that these roles requires
  • Develop instrumental or vocal skills both as a soloist and as an ensemble

All units require learners to work to timeline and deliver a final product which are skills that are vital within the music industry. The Music department has specialist equipment for the production of both live concerts and recording BTEC students will be given the opportunity to use this equipment during lessons and also in assisting and producing live or recorded events. The Music Department regards BTEC Level 3 students as senior representatives of Music within the school.


The BTEC National Extended Certificate in Music can leader to further study in music in further or higher education. Several past students have progressed to university music courses or have embarked on careers within the music industry

For more information on this course please visit

After school clubs or Activities: