Key Stage 4 (GCSE) Schemes of Work

Some of these files are large.  The most effective way of accessing them is to RIGHT CLICK and select save. 

Pupil access page is

Step-by-step composing - The Blues    added June 2002
A flexible approach to teaching composition in this popular style.  The 10 page booklet contains ideas and hints on composing blues phrases, bass lines and rhythms.  Teacher notes, pupil worksheets and notes, examples and ICT projects are all included.

Step-by-step composing - Atonal music   added August 2001

The Quirky House score and analysis   added August 2004

The Quirky House MP3            added August 2004

The Quirky House  Sibelius file    added August 2004
This traditionally difficult topic is broken down into simple sections and is approached in a way that makes it very accessible to pupils.  This 10 page booklet contains all the materials you need to teach this topic, including teacher notes, pupil worksheets, examples ideas of integrating ICT.  The Quirky House is an actual example which can be used for analysis or discussion in class


Step-by-step composing - The Tango     added February 2004

A very structured approach to teaching Tango composition.  This guide takes the student through the characteristics of the Tango; typical chord progressions, bass parts and melodic characteristics of the Tango.  There are 5 MIDI files to go with each of the examples.  Click below to hear them or right click to save to your drive.

Tango example 1     Tango example 2     Tango example 3     Tango example 4      Tango example 5

Music for Film and Television  added July 2003
Pupils gain an insight into composing music for film, commercials and identity hooks by working through five projects in this pack, including listening activities.  The CD quality music can be downloaded below and burned to CD.  If you have problems or don't have a CD burner, please e mail me.  since I can supply these excerpts on an audio CD for you for a small cost to cover materials.  You'll find this an exciting and stimulating project.

Composing and Listening projects with teacher notes
T2 MIDI file
CD Track 1    CD Track 2    CD Track 3    CD Track 4    CD Track 5    CD Track 6    CD Track 7    CD Track 8    CD Track 9    CD Track 10

CD Track 11   CD Track 12    CD Track 13    CD Track 14    CD Track 15    CD Track 16    CD Track 17    Download all CD files (.zip)

Step-by-step composing - Minimalism    added July 2003
The techniques of Philip Glass, Steve Reich, John Adams and Michael Nyman are explored through three composing projects which can use extensive music technology if required.  Detailed teacher notes, scores and MIDI files supplement this interesting topic.

Music for Special Events : 'The Art Exhibition'     added May 2003
An unusual brief based on writing music to accompany an art exhibition.  Pupils have to compose 30 second clips of music to accompany 4 contrasting pieces of art.

Drum n' Bass  added August 2003
The stuff of nightmares for some teachers!  The mysteries of hardcore, gabba, garage etc. are revealed in this comprehensive guide that explains the origins, composing styles, terminology used in these types of music.  Pupils of all abilities will benefit from the information in this scheme, as will us teachers!

Drum n bass project       (Right click on title and select save option - This large file will not open in your browser)
MIDI example 1
MIDI example 2

Drum n bass example composition 1 (MP3)    added August 2004

Drum n bass example composition 2 (MP3)    added August 2004

Four composing tasks   added November 2001
4 contrasting tasks in musical composition using a variety of instruments/ICT.  Suitable in large or small classes.  These can be approached in many different ways and will give students a good basis to begin free composing.
Two accompanying MIDI files are required for Task A.  These are below :
MIDI stimulus
MIDI example

Four composing assignments 1        added February 2002
These assignments are briefs for longer term compositions based on the four composing tasks (above).  Ideally, the tasks should be tackled first, to give pupils a 'toolbox' of composing skills.  Example recordings to come soon!!

Variations        added March 2002
No, it's not Andrew Lloyd Webber!  Three simple chord progressions are presented here, taken from the Renaissance and Baroque periods.  There are some suggestions on how you could use these but it is very flexible.  Included in this pack is a MIDI file of each, in case you want to make this into a sequencing project, which works well.  Also included is a Sibelius file of each chord progression.  If you need this in Encore, Musictime, Finale etc. format, let me know.  Click on each link below to get the components of this project.  Perfect for a GCSE project!

The project sheet (pdf): Includes all the themes and teacher notes
La folia - MIDI file
La folia - Sibelius file
Romanesca - MIDI file
Romanesca - Sibelius file
Pachelbel - MIDI file
Pachelbel - Sibelius file

Programme Music   added Nov 2005

This project features some specially commissioned music by Mark Slater, our resident composer on the MTRS.  Mark has composed a piece of music to accompany Aesop's fable "The Hare and the Tortoise".  A presentation analyses the music with audio clips and excerpts from the sheet music.  The story is broken into sections to enable a composition topic to be more easily understood by pupils.


Presentation  (This file is 96Mb and is zipped due to the CD quality audio samples.  Right click and select save as.., then be patient!)

Full score - Sibelius file      Full score - pdf

Composing worksheet

MP3 of music (Optional.  This is included in the presentation)

Garageband loop project   added Sept 2007

A complete guide to using Garageband.  Discover the power of this program, which is far more than just a loop generator.  Written by Omar Khokher


Garageband guide - pdf


Ibiza busy bar.wav

Ibiza lead loop.wav

Ibiza bass loop.wav

Ibiza drum loop.wav

Ibiza roto loop.wav

Ibiza lead loop.wav




Songs from the Musical Theatre.  Written by Dave Major   added Jan 2009

A complete set of powerpoints for this Area of Study.  This includes listening materials and videos.  Important : The powerpoints link to videos and audio excerpts, so must all be within the same folders.  Download this whole zip file and unzip it.  Keep it all together and it will work well.


Songs from the musical


Complete revision for GCSE.  Written by Dave Major  added February 2009

A good guide suitable for any exam board,  but optimised for Edexcel, with mindmaps



Area of Study 1.pdf

Area of Study 2.pdf


Classical Structure.pdf

Dance Music.pdf


General Listening.pdf



Musical Styles resource pack.  Written by Dave Major added March 2009

A very large resource for integrating listening, composing and performing.  Central to this resource pack is a project on each of Baroque, Jazz and Reggae with listening material, composing tasks and performance activities. All with related teachers' notes, MP3 audio files and even Sibelius files.  Download the whole resource as a zip file then decompress it when it arrives.




Other handy documents


GCSE listening revision notes

Composing Log (for use with AQA specification)               added January 2002

Composing Log (for use with Edexcel specification)          added January 2002

Composing Log (for use with OCR specification)               added January 2002

Please contact me if you require WJEC or US criteria