Music at KS3- The Million Dollar 90 Hour Question

louisI’d be really interested to know what a History or English teacher would do if they were told they now only have about 90 hours to teach a student their subject before they potentially never study it again.

What would the curriculum look like? What periods of History? What would be the last book chosen to study, bearing in mind it might be the last book the students ever read?

This is the situation for most secondary school music teachers. Hopefully we have about one hour a week, 10 hours a term, so 30 hours in Y7, 8 & 9. A rough estimate I know but it could be even less if like me you only see a class on Friday period 5 then Monday period 1.


So as I only have those 90 hours to play with, what do I teach? Or, what can I teach?

Is it possible for example, for me to teach a class of 30 a simple keyboard piece with both hands using traditional staff notation and then expect them to be able to remember & apply that know-how to learn pieces of a similar level more independently?

Is it even important that they can do that?

With the pathetic amount of time we have been given at KS3 we have to accept that we aren’t going to be able to teach students everything we or the school or the government want them to learn. It’s just not possible in 90 hours. Even if we forget assessment; literacy; numeracy; cross-curricular links; social cultural moral spiritual enterprise personal learning thinking skills etc

So here is ‘The Million Dollar 90 Hour Question:

Musically what are the MOST important things a student needs to know, understand or be able to do (by the end of KS3)?

questionI’d be interested in your thoughts. After answering that question I might be able to consider planning a curriculum and then worry about things like assessment, levels etc. 


4 thoughts on “Music at KS3- The Million Dollar 90 Hour Question

  1. Great question! Here’s another question!! As well as the what we need a why. What is the purpose of music ed at KS3? Does purpose change the things that seem important?

    • Yeah I agree the purpose should drive everything else. I’m not completely sure what the purpose is. However I do know that it’s not to prepare (the minority of) students for GCSE Music. It’s got to be aimed at the Majority.

  2. Pingback: A New Adventure, A New Curriculum « MyMusicEd

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