Outside the classroom

    It is essential that students take advantage of the wide range of extra-curricular activities on offer at Harlington.  Current ensembles include Jazz Band, Wind Band, Brass Band, Rock Band (Harlington Jams), percussion group, string group, ukulele group, Keyboard Orchestra and Choir (Harlington Voices).  These activities make an important contribution to the development of musical skills and introduce students to a wide range of repertoire. It is expected that, as part of the GCSE course, students attend at least one activity associated with their instrument and Harlington Voices on a weekly basis and participate in the main school concerts.

    Students have the opportunity to take part in various concert trips, including orchestral concerts, operas and shows.  The regular school musicals provide another opportunity for musicians to perform and GCSE musicians also play 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.


    GCSE Music

    Exam Board/Syllabus

    Edexcel  Syllabus 1MUO

    Grade Equivalences

    9 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




    Music Practitioners Level 2 Award

    Exam Board/Syllabus


    Grade Equivalences

    Level 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.

    Year 12 and Year 13



    GCE A Level Music

    Exam Board/Syllabus

    Edexcel - 9MU01



    Course Entry Requirements

    In Addition To The School Sixth Form Entry Requirements

    GCSE Grade 4 in Music

    Assessment Route

    There are 3 modules to each course. 60% of the course is based on performance and composing coursework of which all is marked externally. There is a written exam at the end of each year, which assesses understanding of set works studied, four part harmony skills and general aural awareness. In Year 12 students perform for 6 minutes; In Year 13, students perform a recital lasting between 8 minutes. Solo and group performances are both permitted and the recital can use music of any style. Students are required to complete two compositions/two technical studies each year. However, the performing and composing elements of AS are able to be re-visited and developed in A level. The Music Department does not enter students for examination in Year 12; however, students are expected to complete the units as stated above for internal assessment purposes and to ensure progression into Year 13 is of the projected standard required for success in the Course.


    The ‘A’ level Music course is particularly suited to those individuals who are able to demonstrate competent performance skills. This would typically be indicated by a minimum of a ‘5’ in Music GCSE (with an “6/7” in the performance unit- unit 3), and/or grade 5 standard in either Music Theory or Performance. A significant element of the course is practically based with much scope for students to develop their own skills and interests. Students can choose to perform and compose in a musical style of their choice.  The department is fortunate enough to have 2 suites of computers with the music packages Cubase and Sibelius for student use. Such ICT facilities aid with both the creative process and professional standard score writing.

    A wide variety of extra-curricular activities exist including; Orchestra, Wind Band, Jazz Band, Brass Band, String Group, Ukulele group , Harlington Voice Box, Harlington Jams, Keyboard Orchestra, Music Committee, Music tours, concerts and productions. Students are encouraged to attend at least 2 activities per week, enhancing their musical experience at HUS.  

    The course develops a range of musical skills as well as giving students a broad musical background and repertoire. They serve as a sound basis for meeting the demands of university and college music courses. Indeed A’level Music is highly regarded by the Russell Group of Universities due to both the academic rigour and the creative aspects of the courses.  The qualification is relevant to careers in the Music Industry as well as other careers that demand lateral thinking skills, independence and self- motivation to name but a few.

    The A level music course provides opportunities for the development of creativity, improvement of performance skills and the acquisition of musical vocabulary and knowledge. Students A’ level music can expect to:

    • Perform regularly on their chosen instrument in class as well as participate in a variety of extra-curricular activities and musical groups.

    • Develop composing and creative skills through short composing projects, extended composition coursework and the use of ICT.

    • Listen to and analyse music from a wide range of musical styles, writing about it using musical vocabulary.

    • Learning Strategies:

    • Students will be expected to work independently in developing their own performance and composing skills. They will also be expected to work within a team and perform in class and whole school ensembles.

      Students will be expected to carry out background reading and listening on relevant topics.

      Staff will offer guidance and support in practical work and coursework alongside a range of strategies suited to the more academic elements of the course.

      It is recommended that to study A’ Level Music, students have a performance standard of a minimum grade 4-5 at the end of year 11 (in consultation with the Head of Music); however, instrumental / vocal exams do not have to have been taken.