Department Vision:


The music department at St. Francis Xavier’s College aims to make sure that all pupils have the opportunity to learn one of the highest forms of creativity. Music is a universal language and we as a department ensure that all pupils receive a high quality music education through inspiration and creativity. All pupils have the opportunity to increase their knowledge, self-confidence and achievement through performing, composing and listening. We strive to inspire pupils passion for music and to develop their talents as a musician.

St Francis Xavier’s College has a very active, busy and successful music department providing many opportunities for all pupils to engage in some form of musical activity. We are very lucky to house an industry standard department which includes two large teaching rooms, equipped with keyboards, iMac computers complete with audio interface junction boxes with the following software: Sibelius, Logic Pro & Garageband. Plus each room has a touchscreen interactive board and two pianos. The department has three practice rooms and a large rehearsal room; two of the practice rooms containing a clavinova piano and the other a full standard size drum kit. The rehearsal room houses a very fine Yamaha Baby Grand Piano, as well as full size samba kit and African drum set. These rooms are used for peripatetic lessons as well individual pupil practice. The department also houses it’s own industry standard recording studio which is linked up to all of the practice rooms as well as the rehearsal room.

At SFX, we cater for all instrumental needs in where pupils have the opportunity to learn a musical instrument with one of our outside professional tutors. Lessons are structured towards pupils achieving their grades on their chosen instrument. Examinations are through the following boards: ABRSM, RGT & LCM. The college is proud to have an extremely high pass rate within these examinations, as well being a centre for ABRSM examinations within the summer term.

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Curriculum Information

Key Stage 3

Year 7

Term 1: Introduction to Music – This topic relates to the Elements of Music in which pupils focus on key musical terminology by putting this into practice through performing, composing & listening. Key musical works include studying: Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition. Key tasks include composing a graphic score focussing on sound.

Term 2: Composing a Pentatonic Melody & Composing a Melody – Emphasis of these two topics is based on the study of general music theory and applying this through composition. Key musical works include studying: Debussy’s Pagodes (from Estampes)

Term 3: Instruments of the Orchestra & Keyboard Study – Instruments of the Orchestra focuses on the element of timbre. Key musical works include studying: Benjamin Britten’s Young Persons Guide to the Orchestra.

Year 8

Term 1: Dance Music Across the Ages – This topic reflects on various dance styles across the ages as well as dance styles across the globe. Highlights of the topic include composing a dance hook using the department iMacs as well as creating a dance track using pre-recorded loops. Key musical works include studying through performance and listening: Pachebel’s Canon & Susato’s La Mourisique as well as Moby’s Why does my heart feel so bad.

Term 2: Reggae Music & Music in the Western Tradition – The Reggae topic reflects on the use of chords and syncopation through keyboard work, as well as various listening activities. Key musical works include studying: Bob Marley’s Three Little Birds. Music in the Western Tradition focuses on the different musical periods/composers throughout time, great emphasis is on creating a research project based on various composers. Key musical works include studying: Beethoven’s Ode to Joy (from Symphony No.9) & Zadok the Priest by Handel.

Term 3: Indian Music & African Drumming – Both topics reflect on the cultural, musical heritage of India & Africa. Improvisation through performance is an integral part to both of these topics.

Year 9

Term 1: Jazz & Blues – This topic involves a keyboard assessment based on a 12-bar blues chord progression and improvisation using the blues scale. Performing and composing chords to a sequence is a major part of this topic, especially using added 7ths. Key musical works include studying: Take 5 by Dave Brubeck & In the Mood by Glen Miller.

Term 2: Film Music – This topic focuses on music being used for moving image and how the music encapsulates certain moods and atmospheres to what you see on the screen. A major part of this topic includes composing a soundtrack to a film trailer using the department iMacs. Key musical works include studying: James Bond themes & motif by John Barry & The Good, the Bad & the Ugly by Ennio Morricone.

Term 3: Popular Music in Context & Samba – The emphasis on the Popular music topic is based on student presentations on various popular artists/albums & songs. Key musical works include studying: Spice Girls Wannabe & Comfortably Numb by Pink Floyd as well as the cover version by the Scissor-Sisters. The Samba topic is based on a full class samba performance using the college’s samba kit.


Key Stage 4


Year 10

Term 1: Introduction to the course

  • Performing (Progress to be monitored as required)
  • Developing Musical Ideas (To focus on the development of musical material by using established conventions and techniques, thereby exploring musical structures and resources).
  • Analysis of Vocal Music set works (incl: Purcell’s Music for a While & Queen’s Killer Queen (from the album Sheer Heart Attack).

Term 2:

  • Performing & Developing Musical Ideas (Emphasis towards starting controlled composition no.1)
  • Analysis on Instrumental Music 1700-1820 (Works by Handel, Vivaldi, Haydn & Mozart).

Term 3 Topics & Content:

  • Listening Analysis on Music for Stage and Screen wider listening (part one) (Works include: S. Schwartz’ ‘Defying Gravity’ (from the album of the cast recording of Wicked & John Williams’ ‘Main title/rebel blockade runner’ (from the soundtrack to Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope))
  • Building on the study of vocal music in the earlier area of study, similar exploration should be made of songs written for a dramatic context in musicals. In particular the way that music enhances the dramatic action should be explored.
    This can be explored through songs in a variety of styles from contemporary musicals, such as Matilda and Hairspray.

Year 11

Term 1:

  • Revision of Year 1 material & Focus of the Free composition. Performing to still be monitored as required.
  • Focus towards Controlled Composition 2 & Mock Examination practice.


Term 2:

  • Listening Analysis on Fusion Set Works – (Works include: Afro Celt Sound System: ‘Release’ (from the album Volume 2: Release & Esperanza Spalding: ‘Samba Em Preludio’ (from the album Esperanza).
  • Completion of all coursework

Term 3: Exam Revision sessions

Key Stage 5

PEARSON Edexcel Level 3 Advanced GCE in Music (9MU0)

Year 12

Term 1:

  • Introduction to AS/A level
    Vocal Music set works and wider listening (Works include music by: J.S. Bach & Vaughan Williams)
    Free composition exercises and task setting
    Instrumental Music set works and wider listening (Works include music by: Vivaldi & Berlioz)
    Music for Film set works and wider listening (Works include music by: Danny Elfman & Bernard Herrmann)

Term 2:

  • Popular Music and Jazz set works and wider listening (Works include music by: Courtney Pine
    & The Beatles)
  • Composition to a brief / Preparing for brief assessing technique
    Fusions set works and wider listening (Works include music by: Debussy & Anoushka Shankar)
    New Directions set works and wider listening (Works include music by: Cage & Stravinsky)

Term 3:

  • Revision of areas of study
    Revise and record composition(s)
    Record performance (AS only)

Year 13

Term 1:

  • Performing
    Finish and record free composition
    Preparatory work for composition to a brief assessing technique
    Revision of areas of study at AS level
  • Vocal music (Works include music by: Mozart)
    Instrumental music (Works include music by: Clara Wieck-Schumann)

Term 2:

  • Performing
    Preparatory work for composition to a brief assessing technique
    Music for Film (Works include music by: Rachel Portman)
    Popular Music and Jazz (Works include music by: Kate Bush)
  • Fusions (Works include music by: Familia Valera Miranda)
    New Directions (Works include music by: Kaija Saariaho)

Term 3:

  • Record performance
    Complete and record composition to a brief assessing technique
    Revision of all areas of study

Department Staff:

  • Mr D. Stokes - Co-ordinator of Music
  • Bro. James

Department Courses:

Key Stage 3:

Schemes of work in line with the National Curriculum

Key Stage 4:

GCSE Music (Edexcel)

Key Stage 5:

A Level Music (Edexcel) & ABRSM and LCM examinations are also offered in a variety of instruments for interested pupils

Out of Hours Activities:

College Choir:

Tuesday & Friday at 3:10 to 4:10pm in the Rehearsal Room

College Jazz Orchestra:

Wednesday at 3:10 to 4:10pm in the Rehearsal Room

Music Tech Lab:

Friday at 8:00 to 8:40am in MU1

GCSE Music Theory Clinic:

Thursday 10:10 to 10:30am in MU1

Keyboard Club:

Tuesday Y9 & Wednesday for Y7 & 8, break-time

Y9 GCSE Breakfast Club:

Thursday at 8:00 to 8:40am in MU2

GCSE Music Nightowl:

Thursday 3:10 to 4:10pm in MU2

SFX College Worship Band:

See Bro James for details

Department Links: