Music S3 and S4

The department offers Music with performing from N3-N5. Although the S3 course follows the ideals of a broad general education by this stage most pupils, having tried a variety of instruments in S1/2 will normally have settled on 2 instruments with a view to certification in S4.


Music with Performing

Course Outline N3-5

Pupils are required to perform on 2 instruments, compose and demonstrate an Understanding of Musical concepts and literacy.



Each instrument is worth 25% of the marks

Instruments should be chosen from the following categories

  • Bagpipes                    
  • Guitar/Bass Guitar                 
  • Tuned Percussion
  • Brass                          
  • Keyboard/ Piano                    
  • Voice
  • Drumkit                     
  • Woodwind



Pupils are required to produce an original piece of music at least one minute in length. Pupils are encouraged to develop their technology skills by using the computer and Sibelius program to help with composition. Pupils must also write a 200-300 word review of their composing process, including decisions, development and self-reflection. This will be sent to the SQA to be externally marked.


Understanding Music 

This element is worth 35% of the marks

Pupils will study different styles of music and develop aural recognition of musical concepts, ensembles etc as well as develop some knowledge of musical literacy.




National 4

There is ongoing assessment for all three elements plus an Added Value Unit. This takes the form of pupils preparing an 8 minute program of music on 2 instruments and making a recording.

National 5

  • A Visiting Examiner will assess performance, on both instruments, in March of S4.
  • Composing will be sent to the SQA in April to be externally marked.
  • Understanding Music will be assessed by a written paper taken during the main diet of examinations in May/June.


S3 – S6

Daily practice is essential

Those who do not have access to an instrument at home are expected to practice in the Music department at interval/lunchtime or during supported study.  Practical work is monitored regularly by teachers to ensure that progress is being made.  Written homework is marked by the teacher.


Worksheets, musical dictionary and revision materials are issued to reinforce listening concepts taught in class. Homework tasks are issued on a weekly basis. As 50% of the certificate Music course is practical based, pupils are strongly encouraged to attend supported study classes to further their practical skills. The department issues pupils with a list of reputable websites which pupils can access to enhance listening skills and practise exam type questions


Useful websites




Online Concepts Dictionary and other course topics as well as exam type questions.



Literacy websites – music theory – note reading games



Guides to orchestral instruments



Guide to orchestral and band instruments


Baroque Dance video clips




General Music Websites – listening revision – orchestral instruments – music periods, composers, history of music – BBC Bitesize music, various agegroups – orchestra and musical games – orchestra and musical games – songwriting – virtual keyboard