Year 9 GCSE music holiday work

Due on the first lesson in September

  1. Complete the sheet ‘Listening to Jazz and Latin American music’ in sentences. You can do this on google doc or on paper as you don’t have a music book yet.
  2. Prepare a solo performance piece to be played in the first half term in class. This should be on your main instrument / voice

Listening to Jazz and Latin American music

  1. Listen to these three pieces of jazz. For each one, find out (a) when it was recorded (b) what instruments are used and (c) describe what its mood is (d) describe any musical patterns you can hear (e) what is your response to this piece? Do you like it or not, and why? (write a paragraph for each one covering these five points)

Piece 1: West end blues - Louis Armstrong (Dixieland jazz)

Piece 2: Ella Fitzgerald - I’ve got you under my skin (Swing jazz)

Piece 3: Miles Davis: Freddie Freeloader (modal jazz)                        (18)

  1. Investigate Latin American music
  1. Find an example of Latin American music you like and describe it. Give the name, artist and instruments/ voices used. Then describe the mood, tempo, texture, dynamics and melody / accompaniment. If you can also say what scale/ harmony you can hear and what the rhythmic features are (metre? ) What musical patterns can you hear? How does the music change? Also say what style it is in. Here are some styles to help you: Cuban son, bossa nova, salsa, calypso, rhumba    (10)
  2. Find out about the musical history of the style you have chosen. Where does it come from? What styles helped create it?                (2)

                                                                        Total= 30 marks

Summer music assessment: Mon 20th May

Year 9 Summer Music Assessment keywords

1.        Elements of music

        Pitch                                high / low        

        Timbre                                different sounds / instruments

        Tempo                                fast / slow - speed of the beat

        Texture                        thick / thin

        Dynamics                        loud / quiet

        Duration                        short / long notes

        Structure                        pattern of sections

2.        Musical patterns / terms

        riff / ostinato                        repeating pattern

        bassline                        lowest part in the music

        melody                                the main tune, usually has a "question and                                                                 answer" pattern

        pedal                                one note repeated

        harmony                        notes which blend

        accompaniment                the backing parts

        major        scale/chord                bright sounding scale / chord

        minor scale/ chord                dark sounding scale /chord

chromatic scale                tense scale which uses all the black and white


3.        Jazz chords

Improvisation                        making up musical ideas on the spot

12-bar blues chords                chord pattern

                                        C        C        C        C

                                        F        F        C        C

                                        G        F        C        C

Walking bass                        broken chord pattern played in crotchets in the bass

blues scale                        scale with clashing notes used in the melody

seventh chord                        a 4 note chord e.g. DFAC

blue note                        a clashing note in the melody

swing quavers                        a jazz rhythm – long / short

straight quavers                normal quavers (even length of notes)

4.        Minimalism                

Minimalism                        musical style using layers of short simple ideas

Transposition                        moving a set of notes up or down in pitch        

Layering                        building up the texture one layer at a time

Additive melodies                 repeating a short ostinato, gradually adding extra

notes on the end

Gradual change                changing a musical idea slowly

Ostinato                        repeating pattern: used a lot in minimalism

Pedal                                repeating note

5.         Harmony

Semitone                                the smallest jump between notes

                                                2 semitones= tone

Relative chord notation                naming chords with Roman

numbers e.g. I, IV V

Stable / unstable melody notes – melody notes which blend or

clash with the chord

Chord notes




















In C








Chord number







Chords in D







Year 9 Music prep – Jazz

Due Monday 12th March

Investigate a famous jazz musician or singer.

(a)  Write a short biography of them, describing their background, instrument they play and what type of jazz they play / sing (in your own words)

(b)  Find and listen to one track by them. Write down the track name and then describe the music, including the instruments you hear and any musical patterns or changes.

(c)  Include your own opinion of this music. What do you like or dislike?

Here are some famous jazz musicians: Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald, Duke Ellington, Miles Davis, Charlie Parker, Billie Holliday, Count Basie

All prep to be done in your music book : if you use a computer, the prep must  be printed out and stuck in


Y9 Minimalism prep

Due Mon 28th Jan

1.        Find and listen to a minimalist piece of music. Here are some minimalist composers to try:

Michael Nyman, Philip Glass, Steve Reich, John Adams, Ludovico Einaudi, Cliff Martinez, Steve Martland

2.        (a) Write the heading ‘Listening to minimalism’, then write down the title and composer of the music you listened to

(b) Write a description of the music: what instruments are used? What is the mood? What is the tempo, texture and dynamics used? How does it change? Does it use any minimalist features? Describe the music as it happens, like telling a story from the start, and use the elements of music.  

 For more marks also try to say what scale you think is being used (major or minor) and if you can hear any transposition or other musical techniques mention this and say where.

(c)Write down your opinion of this piece. Does it work well? What would it be good for as a backing?

If you do this on computer, you must print it out and stick it in your music book. Don’t share by google docs please!

Music exam 9B2 : Monday 19th

The exam will have more open-ended questions in it than previous music exams (“describe the music you hear”). Use the elements of music and music keywords to describe the music in as much detail as you can.

Year 9 Michaelmas Music Assessment keywords


1.          Elements of music

                Pitch                                               high / low           

                Timbre                                        different sounds / instruments

                Tempo                                        fast / slow - speed of the beat

                Texture                                       thick / thin

                Dynamics                                  loud / quiet

                Duration                                    short / long notes

                Structure                                    pattern of sections

2.          Ground Bass

Bassline                                    a low part, usually playing the                                                                                                       bottom note of the chord above

Ground Bass                                        a repeating bassline

Block/ broken/ rhythmic          different ways to play chords

Structure                                    pattern of sections

Chord note melody                 melody made only of chord                                                                                                            notes

3.          Musical patterns / terms


                riff / ostinato                              repeating pattern



                melody                                       the main tune, usually has a "question and                                                                           answer" pattern


                pedal                                          one note repeated


                harmony                                    notes which blend


                accompaniment                       the backing parts


                major                                          bright sounding scale /chord


                minor                                          dark sounding scale              /chord


                Chord                                         several notes played together



4.          Vocal music


                soprano                                     high female voice

                alto                                              low female voice

                tenor                                           high male voice

                bass                                            low male voice

                treble                                          child’s voice


                pitching                                      getting your voice on the correct note

                breath control                           how you control your breathing in singing

                diction                                                    pronunciation of the words

                vocal range                               lowest to highest note you can sing





Note values                  




















Instrument families


Strings                          violin, viola, cello, double bass, guitar, ukulele, harp


Woodwind                    flute, oboe, clarinet, piccolo, bassoon, saxophone


Brass                             trumpet, trombone, French horn, tuba,


Percussion                  untuned: drumkit, shaker, triangle, agogo, cymbals

                                        tuned: glockenspiel, xylophone, metallophone, piano


Electronic                     synthesizer, keyboard

9B2 vocal project prep

Title: ‘Vocal project prep’


Choose a song by a singer you think has a good voice. Listen to the song.


1. Write the title 'My featured singer... ' then put in the name of the artist and the date

2.Write the title of the song and genre it is in

3.Describe the voice the singer has - is it high, in the middle or low? Does it have a big range? What do you like about it? What special qualities does their voice have? Does it sound quite similar when they sing, or does their voice sound very different in different songs or at different times?

4.Describe the song you listened to: How does the singer sing this song? How do they get the feeling and meaning of the song? Is the backing important? What is in the backing?

Deadline: Mon 12th Nov

9B2 Music prep 1

•         Title: Investigating structure

–           Find a piece of music which uses a repeating bassline (Ground Bass) and which you think is good / interesting. Write down the artist and  song name

–           Write a description of the music , saying what instruments and sounds you can hear, and how they change during the song

–           Describe how well the structure of this song works: does the song manage to stay interesting? Does the bassline repeat all the way through or not? How does the music change to create a new section?

–           Some ideas: if you are stuck, listen to some of the music we heard in class: Clocks by Coldplay, Stand by Me by Ben King, See you again, Time Lapse by Michael Nyman, Pachelbel’s canon, Uprising by Muse

The prep needs to be done in your book - either handwritten or if you use a computer please print it out and stick in.

Deadline: Monday 24th Sept