About the Faculty

The Performing Arts Faculty is committed to providing high quality and dynamic teaching. Together we support students into building ownership of the work, developing resilience and equipping them with the freedom and confidence to take creative risks. The Faculty aims to create a working atmosphere in which creativity and originality is celebrated.

It is our intent that the Performing Arts Curriculum sparks student’s curiosity and fascination within a range of artistic disciplines. At Belper School, we seek to build upon student’s interests and equip them with powerful knowledge about the  performing  disciplines of music and drama.  We want them to develop skills in RESPONDING, CREATING, PERFORMING and EVALUATING performance for an audience. We provide a range of progression pathways towards qualifications across all of the performing arts. We provide students with access to a wide range of resources including musical instruments, a recording studio, specialist  drama studios and technical equipment. We aim to emulate the specialist disciplinary conditions of the professional arts and want them to develop their confidence and aspirations for the future. We take pride in the development of a rich wider curriculum including opportunities for students to attend performing arts venues, work with professional artists and prepare performance for professional spaces. We strive to teach the students the responsibilities they have as part of a performing arts community and the importance of teamwork, communication and discipline as a performer and member of a ‘company’.

Years 7 to 9 – Key Stage 3

All Key Stage 3 students have 2 Music lessons a fortnight. Students are taught in their mixed ability tutor groups. These lessons are practical and take place in one of our dedicated Music spaces.

As well as teaching music one hour per week as part of the curriculum, the department also offers a wealth of enrichment opportunities. There are visiting instrumental teachers who offer individual tuition on a wide range of instruments including brass, woodwind, violin, piano, keyboard, guitar, drums, singing etc. There are also a range of ensembles from wind ensemble to choir to rock bands. All students are encouraged to take part and also to get involved with some of the regular performance opportunities throughout the year.

The Curriculum

Year 7

Year 7

The following units of work are taught in Year 7.

I’ve Got Rhythm

Students will:

  • Understand that pulse is a fundamental upon which music is built and performed
  • Develop a feeling for and an awareness of a regular pulse in music from different times and places.
  • Distinguish between pulse/beat and rhythm.
  • Develop an understanding of note values in terms of duration, bars and simple time signatures.

Keyboard Skills

Students will: 

  • Understand the basics of pitch notation through the treble and bass clefs
  • Develop a feeling for and an awareness of a regular pulse in music from different times and places
  • Be able to perform short melodies on the keyboard using accurate technique

Carnival of the Animals

Students will:

  • Develop and understanding and recognition of instruments of the orchestra
  • Be able to identify instruments through listening work
  • Develop melodic composition skills

Form and Structure

Students will:

  • Understand different music forms and structures within classical music
  • Be able to identify different sections within a piece of music
  • Recognise that music with a recurring or repeated section provides familiarity to the listener. 
  • Recognise why Form and Structure is important in music
  • Develop melodic composition skills

Building a Song

Students will: 

  • Understand how popular songs are put together, looking at structures such as verse and chorus
  • Understand what a chord is and learn how to form them on both keyboard and ukulele
  • Develop skills performing on the ukulele

Derbyshire Folk Song

Students will:

  • Understand the conventions of folk music
  • Develop lyric writing skills within a structure
  • Further develop composition skills


Year 8

Year 8

The following units of work are taught in Year 8.

Hooks & Riffs

Students will: 

  • Develop an understanding of the terms hook, riff and ostinato
  • Develop their awareness of pulse and performing with a sense of timing and fluency
  • Develop their knowledge of staff music notation

Four Chord Trick

Students will:

  • Further develop their understand on chords and chord sequences
  • Develop performances skills at the keyboard, playing with both left and right hands
  • Develop music notation reading skills; extending from single line reading to chords

Around the World

Students will:

  • Gain knowledge on music from a range of countries – Japan, Brazil and India
  • Develop an understanding of composition and performance techniques in a range of styles
  • Developing group performances skills

Off Beat

Students will:

  • Recognise the stylistic conventions of Reggae music
  • Understand how chords contribute to the texture of a song
  • Be able to recognise the key features of a Reggae bass line
  •  To understand syncopation and how it is used in Reggae music

Keyboard Skills

Students will:

  • extend their understanding of  the basics of pitch notation through the treble and bass clefs
  • Develop a feeling for and an awareness of a regular pulse in music from different times and places.
  • Being able to perform longer or more complex melodies on the keyboard using accurate technique

Rhythm and Poetry

Students will:

  • Develop listening skills, identifying structures and instruments
  • Extend knowledge of songwriting skills – in the genre of hip hop
  • Work collaboratively as part of group to compose

Year 9

Year 9

The following units of work are taught in Year 9.


Students will:

  • Understand how music is used in film music to enhance on screen action
  • Understand specific musical vocabulary
  • Draw on knowledge of hooks and ostinato to create soundtracks to a specific theme
  • Use different compositional devices to add drama to a scene

Strike a Chord

Students will:

  • Extend their knowledge of chords and chord sequencing from Y8
  • Develop their ability to perform with dexterity and transition between chords with fluency
  • Work collaboratively  with other students to create a group performances

Game Over

Students will:

  • Develop an understanding of how music is used with computer/ video games and how it can be used to enhance the action/drama
  • Develop notation reading skills and performance skills by learning themes on the keyboard

All About the Bass

Students will:


  • Specifically focus on showing an understanding of how the bass clef is used as a form of musical notation
  • Be able to identify musical instruments and voices which use the bass clef
  • Know and understand the construction of commonly used bass line patterns
  • Understand the importance of bass instruments within the structure of a song

What makes a good song?

Students will:

  • Develop songwriting and lyric writing skills
  • Extend knowledge and understanding of popular music
  • Further develop understanding of chords and chord sequencing
  • Understand the different textural and structural elements of a song/popular song
  • Understand and use the different musical information given on a lead sheet

Making an Arrangement

Students will:

  • Consolidate learning across KS3 to produce a group performance piece
  • Demonstrate an increase in confidence in performing to others.



Formative assessments take place throughout lessons through discussion work and feedback from teachers and peers. Memory boost activities help to consolidate knowledge and inform the teacher about progress and understanding.

Students at KS3 also have formal written assessments during set times during the year:

Assessment windows:

Year 7: 24th April – 5th May

Year 8: 28th November – 9th December; 8th May – 19th May

Year 9: 31st October – 10th November; 19th June – 23rd June

Years 10 to 11 – Key Stage 4

BTEC Music Level 1/2

Years 10 to 11 – Key Stage 4

BTEC First Award in Music (Level 1 and Level 2)

BTEC Music is aimed at any student who has an interest in music making and those who have an interest in music as a possible career. The qualification is a Level 1/Level 2 Award, is equivalent to one GCSE and has a large vocational content. The content of the course includes a large amount of practical and performance based activity. It also covers the working practices that are employed by professionals in many diverse areas of the music industry. Three components form the final assessment made up of two-thirds internal assessment and one-third external assessment.


The components that will be studied include a range of activities relating to the learner’s own interest in music based around themes which include:

Exploring music products and styles, music skills development, and responding to a commercial music brief.

Years 12 to 13 – Key Stage 5

BTEC Music Level 3

Examination Board: Edexcel

BTEC Music is aimed at any student who has an interest, or wishes to further their interest in music making and those who have an interest in music as a possible career. The qualification is a Level 3 Extended Certificate (QCF), is equivalent to one A Level with the same level of UCAS points. The certificate allows students to specialise in either Performance or Technology strands.

Across the two years each pathway studies 6 units. Three that are common across both strands and three that are specific to the students chosen preference.

The common units are –

Unit 39: The Sound and Music Industry – a mandatory unit looking at key elements involved in any form of career in the music industry, focusing particularly roles, contracts, progression routes etc.

Unit 24: (Year 13) Music Project – students work as part of a team and form a business whose aim is to put on a concert. At present the plan is for students to be involved in the committee for the Belper Schools Music Festival – a new venture that we intend to be a bi-annual event in June/July. Students must also perform as part of this event whether as technicians or musicians.

Unit 43: (Year 13) Subject Special Investigation – an extended research project of the students own choosing.

Performance Strand

Three units that cover all aspects of performance including solo performance skills, Music interpretation, composition/song writing and ensemble work.

The unit headings are –

Unit 33: (Year 12) Solo Music Performance

Unit 30: (Year 12) Popular Music in Practice

Unit 23: (Year 13) Music Performance Techniques

Technology Strand

Students study three elements of music technology – Live sound, Studio recording and Sequencing.

The unit headings are –

Unit 25: (Year 12) Music Production Techniques

Unit 29: (Year 12) Live Sound Techniques

Unit 32: (Year 13) Sequencing Systems and Techniques

Work for all of the optional strands is mostly practical and assessment is based on a portfolio of practical tasks and research based work including presentations and documentation.