Training KS4 (ages 14-16)

Musical Futures - Steps to Success in GCSE Music

connecting theory to practice with easy steps to success to integrating GCSE listening, composing and performing


Designed to provide teachers with practical steps to make GCSE music more accessible, our Steps to Success in GCSE Music course offers the opportunity to explore engaging and practical ways to analyse, explore and understand GCSE music set works through workshopping, composing and improvising.

Many students, particularly those without traditional instrumental training, can find the transition from Key Stage 3 to GCSE music difficult.  This course provides teachers with practical steps to make GCSE music more accessible and improve students performance in written/listening examinations through using practical approaches to learn key concepts, terminology and develop critical understanding in listening, appraising, composing and performing. 

Teachers using this approach have reported improvements in students knowledge retention and understanding which facilitates improves outcomes at Key Stage 4, whilst ensuring a vibrant and engaging curriculum approach.

Resources included as part of the course are available for AQA, Edexcel, Eduqas and WJEC

Aims of the Course

  • Learn how to approach the development of knowledge and understanding through relevant and authentic musical activities
  • Take away teaching approaches, strategies and resources that enable learners of all abilities to achieve their full potential in GCSE examinations
  • Develop an understanding of the impact of learning through performance-based activity
  • Learn how to approach songwriting in an innovative, engaging and student-friendly way that gives students the best opportunity to succeed


Learning Through Performance

Use our resources to explore and perform GCSE set works as a basis for developing knowledge and understanding and improving students’ retention of key concepts and terminology.

Learning Through Composing

Using a set work as a starting point, develop strategies to assist students with composing using improvisation to create group compositions that utilise, explore and develop the key features of a particular set work, style or genre.

Composing and Improvising

Explore innovative ways of developing musical Ideas and resources to build on listening skills and effectively fulfil composing briefs.  Using rhythmic grooves as starting points, develop confidence in developing students melodic ideas, and exploring structure, texture and chord sequences to create musically interesting compositions.

Songwriting – Applying creative skills to a task

Explore a series of starting points for songwriting​ using a variety of approaches to help students unpick the mystery of songwriting.

What is Included?

  • Set Works Playalongs for the examination board of your choice (RRP £49.50) 
  • Musical Futures ‘Start With A Set Work’ packs for the examination board of your choice
  • Musical Futures Songwriting resource (RRP £40)
  • Musical Futures Composing & Improvising resource
  • Refreshments and lunch

Who Is It For?

  • Secondary music teachers
  • Heads of Department

Benefits of Musical Futures Training

  • Based in a school setting – A chance to see another department/school in action
  • An opportunity to see a class in action (where possible)
  • Led by experienced classroom teachers who have had exam success with their students at GCSE through using these approaches
  • All of our courses are designed to give you the confidence, knowledge and resources to start delivery in your school the following day!
  • An opportunity to network with other music teachers

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Excellent workshops ‑ extremely accessible for all abilities and levels.

Claire Armour, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra