Welcome to Musical Contexts!

MUSICAL CONTEXTS ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS - Resources written and compiled and website designed and maintained by Rob Blythe with invaluable assistance with imaging and layout advice from Angela Blythe.  Supported Self Study Audio narrations by Lesley Blythe.  Huge thanks to Kevin Griffin for invaluable patience and suggestions and to Seamus and Felix for unending support.


Sample Materials

Year 7 Resources

Year 8 Resources

Year 9 Resources

GCSE Music

Music Documents

Musical Contexts

Key Stage 2 Music Resources


Frequently Asked Questions


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What is Musical Contexts?

How do I create a Username and Password?

What kind of resources are on Musical Contexts?

Each of the KS2 and KS3 units in Musical Contexts covers a number of the six Elements of Music - Rhythm, Pitch, Texture, Timbre & Dynamics, Melody and Harmony and Structure and Form.  An overview is provided on the unit pages showing which elements are covered by which unit as well as on the Schemes of Work.

Please email root@musicalcontexts.co.uk for full details on how to set up your own username and password for full access to all of the resources.


How has Musical Contexts helped people?

I’ve had great success with many
of the schemes! The lesson plans
on Musical Contexts have proved
an invaluable timesaver so far.


Just to say THANK YOU for the amazing units you provide us on Musical Contexts.  They are so well put together, easy to follow, the children love them and there's always something different for them to do and see and react to!   So, thanks for the masterful job.  The units are priceless.  

Kate Casper Head of Music St. Catherine's School Twickenham

Year 7 Unit 6 - Chinese Music

A Venn diagram simplifies this listening activity making it easier for pupils to identify different musical features

Year 9 Unit 4 - Minimalism

A  Keyboard Assessment is a great way of tracking pupil’s progress!

Here, St. John’s have simplified the parts and added a note guide to help pupils.

Musical Contexts contains a wide variety of different music teaching resources uniquely coded and grouped by unit.  Within each unit are:

·                                   Teacher Schemes of Work (SOW) & Lesson Plans (LP)

·                                   Learning, Listening, Composing & Evaluating Worksheets (W)

·                                   Performing Activities - Songs (SS) & Scores (S)

·                                   Starter and Plenary Activities (SP)

·                                   Supporting Activities - Cover & Homework Worksheets (CH)

·                                   Audio Files (A) in .mp3 format

·                                   MIDI Files (MIDI) in .MID format

Some units also feature Video Files in .mpg format (and most available via You Tube®) and actual classroom recordings of pupils’ work as part of the Musical Contexts “IN ACTION” area (PA).

Musical Contexts is a website providing teachers with quality, “ready to use”, tried and tested and professionally presented resources for use in the Music classroom.  The aim of Musical Contexts is to produce an easy-to-navigate and comprehensive bank of Music Resources, relieving teachers from the lengthy process of resource collection and preparation.  Resources are all available for immediate download and are grouped in “Topics” or “Units” within each Year Group.  Musical Contexts can provide new material to your existing schemes of work or  entire schemes can be used direct from the site - all the resources are there ready to download and use.  I hope that Musical Contexts can help you and that you enjoy the site.  For an overview of Musical Contexts download the following presentation with lots of sample resources:

All KS2 & KS3 Musical Contexts units have been updated to support the new 2014 National Curriculum for Music changes

GCSE Music 2016 specification changes: Musical Contexts is delighted to see the changes in the new GCSE Music specifications for first teaching from September 2016.  As such, time is now being spent in adapting, developing and creating resources to support these new specifications, rather than continuing with the “copyright battles” to complete existing resources in outstanding GCSE sections.  The following information may be of use to teachers:

New Series coming soon to Musical Contexts - “GCSE Music - THE BASICS”

In light of the new GCSE Music 2016 Specifications, Musical Contexts is starting work on a new section - GCSE MUSIC - “THE BASICS”.

Rather than “teaching to the Set Works/Areas of Study” (detailed and specific resources will follow in relation to these at a later date), GCSE MUSIC - “THE BASICS” aims to provide pupils with the underpinning skills, knowledge and understanding required for the study of Music at GCSE Level.  GCSE MUSIC - “THE BASICS” series can be used with the Edexcel, OCR and AQA specifications prior to an in-depth exploration of the Set Works/Areas of Study or at suitable point “within” such section. 

There are 8 planned section in


·               Notation

·               Rhythm & Metre

·               Pitch & Melody

·               Harmony & Tonality

·               Tempo & Dynamics

·               Texture

·               Timbre

·               Form & Structure

Each section will feature a wide variety of musical examples takes from different times and places (including World Music where appropriate) and will offer a range of listening and appraising, performing and composing activities alongside musical theory and key concepts.  More information to follow soon!


New GCSE Music Specification Information (first teaching 2016)

Ideal for new Year 9’s taking GCSE Music next year, or for Year 10’s as valuable revision!


Exciting learning activities covering Set Works or Sub-Strands not previously covered by Musical Contexts

(Buckley, Moby & Yiri for Edexcel and Music of Africa &  Hip-Hop for AQA)


Pupils can access Audio Files for Listening Activities and Suggested Answers online from the Musical Contexts site

Activities include research tasks and listening activities


Full Learning Objectives and suggested time guidance given for each activity


Begins with an invaluable “Getting to know the course” comprehension to familiarize pupils with the GCSE Music specification for their exam board


Innovative “My Own Instrument Facebook Profile” Research Task

Available in .pdf and customisable .doc formats



GCSE Music Summer Holidays Workbooks from Musical Contexts - OCR, Edexcel & newly added AQA



Musical Contexts - An Overview

Presentation (.ppt format)

(293 MB)


Musical Contexts - An Overview

Presentation (.zip format with .ppt file zipped)

(190 MB)

I think that the Self-Supported Study option in the GCSE Music area is a fantastic idea.  It would be great to have some of these for the different musical eras (this way it could be used for any exam board).  Also a similar addition for compositional techniques would be a great thing. Thanks.

Your site - is bloody brilliant.  I am the director of music at a private preparatory school and am currently in the summer holiday's after my first year there. The music department (one teacher) had been following 'Music Express' - not my favourite scheme of work, it dumbs down rather a lot so I reinvented the wheel and replanned the lot. How I WISH I had discovered your site earlier!  I am going to implement about half of your units of work, and can't wait!! Granted your units are for secondary age, and we go from years 2 - 8, but with a little tweaking they are PERFECT units of work. Great to see some proper notation in there too.

Chris Andrews

We have been trialling various units of work from the site and are very pleased with the way they are running.  These are going well and the students are gaining a lot from the resources.  To make life easier we have downloaded the worksheets and formed a booklet from them so that all students have access to the worksheets immediately and this seems to be working very well.  The lesson plans are very helpful also and are a good starting point for the staff.  We have amended some worksheets slightly to suit our needs and we have added some other sheets into our booklets to make it slightly more flexible.  We think that the site is very good particularly for KS3 and the team here felt we should let you know how much we have enjoyed using the resources this year. 


Jonathan Haslett, Head of Music, St John’s Catholic School and Sixth Form Centre, Bishop Auckland

Rob replies : “One of the main aims of the site, was to allow teachers the flexibility to adapt and refine, supplement and support existing resources and schemes of work and it seems that St. John’s RC School & SFC has done just this!  There is the opportunity to teach the lesson plans exactly as written for those who wish, but it’s great to see schools such as this using the resources in a more flexible way.”

Jonathan very kindly allowed me to use his quote on the site and also to share some of his adapted resources so users can see how Musical Contexts can be adapted to suit individual school’s requirements and needs.

I just wanted to write to you at Musical Contexts to say how exciting and excellent the course is proving to be. The children I teach from KS2-4 are really enjoying it and getting so much from it too. I have delivered many schemes before in the different schools I have worked but this is proving to be so enjoyable and so well researched. It actually allows a music teacher to be a music teacher and is just as enjoyable for me to teach as it is for the students to learn. So thank you very much.


Sian Canning, Dhahran British Grammar School , Saudi Arabia






Edexcel GCSE Music Draft Specification 2016

GCSE Music

Inter-board Comparison


OCR GCSE Music Draft Specification 2016

OFQUAL Guidelines for new GCSE Music

AQA GCSE Music Draft Specification 2016