The Music Department at John Spence offers a wide range of opportunities for all students at all abilities; both within classroom based lessons and through extra-curricular opportunities.

Students across both Key Stages 3 and 4 will develop their musical abilities through Performing, Composing and Listening to and Appraising music. Most of this learning is done through practical based lessons, working on Keyboards, Guitars, Tuned and Un-tuned Percussion, Voice and Music Technology software.

Students in Key Stage 3 will be assessed every half term in Performing, Composing or Listening and Appraising music. These assessments will allow the teaching staff to grade a student an overall level at the end of the academic year.

Students in Key Stage 4 will have regular ‘achievable’ targets set in order for them to complete their G.C.S.E. course successfully.




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Year 7

Crotchets & Quavers

Music for a Special Occasion

African Music

Pentatonic Writing

Musicals (1)

Musicals (2)

Year 8



Programme Music

Indian Music

Music from the Middle Ages (1)

Music from the Middle Ages (2)

Year 9

Composing with Chords





Popular Music

Key Stage 4

Students choosing to study Music at Key Stage 4 will follow the AQA Music specification.

This specification follows a unitised structure. There are five areas of study for all of the units.

  • AoS1 Rhythm and metre
  • AoS2 Harmony and tonality
  • AoS3 Texture and melody
  • AoS4 Timbre and dynamics
  • AoS5 Structure and form

These are explored through three strands.

The Western Classical Tradition

  • Baroque orchestral music
  • The concerto
  • Music for voices
  • Chamber music
  • The sonata

Popular Music of the 20th and 21st Centuries

  • Blues
  • Popular music of the 1960s
  • Rock music, R'n'B, Hip-Hop
  • Music theatre
  • Film music

World Music

  • Music of the Caribbean
  • Music of Africa
  • Music of India

Students will be assessed in four areas.

Listening to and Appraising Music – 20% - 1 hour written examination

Composing and Appraising Music – 20% - 20 hours supervised time for compositions and 2 hour appraisal exam

Performing Music – 40% - Controlled assessment

Composing – 20% - 25 hours controlled assessment

By the end of the course pupils are able to use their musical skills to appreciate the music of others as well as enjoying music of their own. The GCSE course will provide an excellent base for further study and leisure time activity.

Many of our Key Stage 4 students have previously enrolled onto various Music and Performing Arts courses at local sixth forms and Newcastle and Gateshead College.

Extra Curricular

The department offers the following extra-curricular activities; all extracurricular activities are free of charge and are run by professional musicians.

The John Spence Musical Performance Group :- Students who wish to develop their vocal talents within a pop / soul style or instrumentalists can develop their ensemble skills by providing a rhythm section for the vocalists, students can even develop their own dance routines. Students have recently performed a range of songs for the school awards from the hit show Glee.

The John Spence School Band :– An opportunity for students of any ability or instrument to learn and perform a variety of different styles including:- pop, rock, jazz, classical and world music.

Music Technology Club :- Pupils attending this club will learn how to use music production software on the latest Apple Mac computers. They will learn how to record and produce music through various projects throughout the year. This is a great opportunity for those students who are thinking of studying a music technology based course in further education.

Keyboard Club / Ensemble :- Students will learn to play a wide range of music on electronic keyboard as part of an ensemble. Students of any ability range are welcome to attend and perform as part of a group.

Performance Opportunities

A number of performance opportunities are made available to students at various points throughout the academic year. All performances are a collaboration between the music and performing arts departments.

Past Performances Include:-

  • Christmas Concert
  • GCSE Showcase
  • Summer Concert
  • Party In the Park
  • Singing In The Community
  • Celebration Of Success
  • Open Evenings.

Private Instrumental Lessons

Instrumental lessons are offered by local music teachers; currently we have staff attending the school to deliver lessons on the following instruments, Guitar, Drums, Brass, Piano / Keyboard, Voice.

Students interested in taking private lessons can contact a member of the music department to collect the relevant information.

The Music staff are:

  • Mr K Holland
  • Mr D Grazzer
  • Mr S Wall (Drums)
  • Mr D Jobson (Keyboard)
  • Ms R Lambert (Vocals)
  • Ms K Buzzard (Clarinet)