Department Leader: Louise Chapman

Music at KBA is a constantly developing department, aiming to continuously push creative boundaries. We are committed to delivering a broad and varied curriculum for all of our students, as well as providing opportunities to extend learning within a diverse range of enrichment activities. Our teachers deliver inclusive lessons, engaging students through musical emersion and exploration. We believe our students should meet us a place of musical familiarity and then follow a guided tour through a vast expanse of musical genres and traditions!

The key stage three curriculum is designed to give students the chance to explore their musicianship within the context of several genres and traditions, and to learn instrumental and vocal skills whilst developing a confidence in their own creative ideas alongside an awareness of how music is constructed.

Students who have more previous experience are encouraged to broaden and extend their learning, whilst others are given support to explore where their strengths lie in music in order for all to be prepared for a more specialised approach at GCSE and A level.

We are incredibly lucky to have a purpose built department block, which includes three music classrooms and five practise spaces. We also have a fully integrated recording studio and a dedicated radio station room. All students are given access to our Mac suite which has both Logic and Sibelius software for music production and composition. We also have whole class sets of samba drums, djembes, keyboards and steel pans, as well as a range of orchestral instruments that are available for students to borrow.

Year 7 –

Term 1 - Heroes – Individual Project

An introductory unit that allows teacher to assess basic skills of performing (keyboard), improvising, singing and listening.        

Term 2 – Heroes – Ensemble Project

Continuing from the previous term, students will now combine their new skills to create ensemble performances and their own compositions.       

Term 3 - Body Percussion

Using ‘tribal groove’, an African body percussion resource, students learn how to learn, create and perform some more complex rhythms using their body as an instrument.

Term 4 - Samba Music

Students will develop their rhythmic skills developed in the previous term and learn the key features, historical context and concepts behind the South American dance style of Samba music, performing a piece as part of a whole class ensemble.

Term 5 - Moods Music

Year 7 now get introduced to music software sequencers on the mac. They learn how to use garageband to record and manipulate their musical ideas.  An introduction to chords and harmony and the ways in which moods are created in music. This also involves listening to a wide range of music for inspiration – predominantly from the classical tradition.         

Term 6 - Steel Pans

An introduction unit to our full set of steel pans, and how to play them. We will learn about the musical context that they come from, and learn a performance piece as a class.

Year 8 –

Term 1 - Djembe Drumming

Students are taught instrumental skills on the drums, as well as a more advanced understanding of rhythm. Alongside this, they are taught the musical conventions in West African drumming.    

Term 2 - West African ensembles

Students now add vocals and other percussion to create West African ensembles, and compose their own pieces in a traditional style, putting into place the skills they used last term. 

Term 3 and 4 - Blues Music

Students learn about the development of Blues Music, and how that sits in the wider context of the history of music. They learn about the musical features found in Blues, and there is an emphasis on developing improvisation skills.   

Term 5 and 6 - Club Dance Music

In the Mac suite, students learn to use software sequencers to create and manipulate synthesised sounds and loops, and compose their own pieces of club dance music.


Integrated Portfolio

• Performance on the learner's chosen instrument.

• Composition to a brief set by the learner.

• They will explore the skills and capabilities of their instrument and produce a

performance to demonstrate their interpretation and technical control, and

a composition written to a brief of their own to demonstrate their ability to

develop musical ideas.

  • This is an internally assessed, externally moderated component.

Practical Component

• Ensemble performance and composition to a board set brief. A selection of

briefs will be released in the September of the year of certification linked to

the Areas of Study.

• The ensemble performance can be on any instrument and any genre.

  • This is an internally assessed, externally moderated component.

Listening Exam

• Listening, appraisal and notation skills assessed in an examination at the end

of the course.

  • This is externally assessed.

GCSE Bitesize: Music: This site covers all the main areas students need to master to excel at their GCSE Music exams. Each category offers a revision section as well as a test, so students can glean their level of knowledge and identify weaker areas. The revision sections contain recordings, which make it much easier to understand subjects like texture in music, chords and rhythm notation.

IMSLP: This site has hundreds of free scores, that are useful for analyzing closely related pieces to the set works

Music First: We have a subscription to this website that has a wide range of games and quizzes to test your knowledge

Each year we have a KS3 curriculum performance evening to showcase the excellent work created within lessons. This is also the case for KS4 and KS5 with exam pieces being shared with externally invited audiences.

In order to enable students to extend their learning beyond lesson times, we deliver several enrichment activities. Some of these are seasonal, and some run throughout the year,

Each year, we provide a number of musical opportunities: There is a large scale production every year that involves students in music, dance and drama, as well as the technical and backstage support team. We also host other showcases as well as participating in external concerts and competitions. Last year we ran a trip to Broadway and our steel band completed a performance tour of Tuscany.

We are fortunate to belong to United Learning academy group which supports the performing arts excellently within all its schools. We regularly share performances and workshops with other schools from across the country. These have included shows in the Lyceum theatre in the West End, and in Southwark cathedral.

As well as being a part of performances, we also believe it is very important for our students to learn from watching professional productions and concerts.  We have invited companies such as the English Pocket Opera Company into our school to work with us and perform to our students. We also organise numerous trips throughout the year to broaden our students’ experiences.

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Instrumental and Vocal lessons

Kettering Buccleuch Academy is committed to offering a high standard of instrumental and vocal lessons to its students and we are therefore proud to work alongside Northampton Music and Performing Arts Service. KBA highly subsidise the work of the instrumental teachers who come in to the school.

Lessons are organised on a rotating timetable, so that students are taken out of different lessons/lunchtimes each week in order to minimise disruption to their timetabled lessons. Each year has 33 scheduled lessons, and payment is split evenly between the terms (although the number of lessons per term may vary). There are two options for instrumental tuition: For students below grade 2 standard, we offer paired lessons (at a cost of £65 per term), where the lessons will be shared between two students who attend lessons together. In this case, we will work with the instrumental teacher to find a suitable learning partner for your child – who is working at a similar level. For those working at a standard above grade 2, you may decide to opt for individual lessons (at a cost of £120 per term), meaning your child will receive twenty minutes of one-to-one time with the teacher per week.

If you pay for the whole year upfront, you will receive a discount, therefore further reducing the costs to £175 annual fee for paired lessons, and £324 annual fee for individual lessons. We work with the arrangement that payment must be made in advance of the lessons.

In order to apply for lessons, please complete the application form below:

Application Form

Payment for lessons should be made online via the online payments system, under the title, 18/19 MUSIC LESSONS. To access the user guide and more information about this, please visit our website ( then follow links to information>online payments>userguide.

First priority for allocation of lessons will go to students who are already receiving lessons, and the rest of the lessons will be allocated on a first come first served basis. If the application form is received after the deadline, we will do our best to accommodate your child’s needs, but in the event that all spaces are filled for the chosen instrument we will form a waiting list and refund your initial payment.

Feel free to contact either Miss Chapman or a member of the school finance department if you require any further information.

The school is part of United Learning. United Learning comprises: UCST (Registered in England No: 2780748. Charity No. 1016538) and ULT (Registered in England No. 4439859. An Exempt Charity). Companies limited by guarantee. VAT number 834 8515 12.
Registered address: United Learning, Worldwide House, Thorpe Wood, Peterborough, PE3 6SB. Tel: 01832 864 444

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