Welcome to the first “new look” Secondary/Key Stage 3 unit - Hooks and Riffs - from Musical Contexts!  This unit has been designed to be used at the start of Year 7 (although not exclusively and may be used at any point within a Key Stage 3 Music Curriculum), to allow pupils the opportunity to engage in active music making (and singing!) from the outset, while exploring music which is based on Repeated Musical Patterns - Hooks, Riffs and Ostinatos.  It is also hoped that suitable opportunities are given within the unit for teachers to “baseline assess” new Year 7’s through the inter-related musical strands of Performing: Playing and Singing; Creating - Composing and Improvising and Critical Engagement: Listening and Appraising.  Unlike the “old”, highly-prescriptive Musical Contexts units, there are now a number of different “routes” or “pathways” to deliver the suggested activities allowing  teachers to use and sequence the resources in whatever order best suits their school, classes and pupils, including time for the Musical Contexts Year 7 Baseline Assessment Listening Test (which is suggested to be “spread over” the final two lessons of the unit), as a way of assessing pupil’s prior knowledge and to gain a better understanding of pupil’s Critical Engagement: Listening and Appraising skills. 

Hooks and Riffs - Musical Repertoire


Music from the Western Classical Tradition

“Bolero” - Ravel

“Habanera” from ‘Carmen’ - Bizet

2nd Movement from Symphony No.101 - “The Clock” - Haydn


Popular Music

“Sweet Dreams” - The Eurythmics

“We Will Rock You” - Queen

“Word Up” - Cameo


Hooks and Riffs - Music Theory

Treble and Bass Clef Symbols

Musical Repeat Markings and Symbols


Hooks and Riffs - Links to GCSE Music

Western Classical Tradition

Popular Music


Hooks and Riffs - Links to BBC 10 Pieces

“Habanera” from ‘Carmen’ - Bizet

Hooks and Riffs - Scheme of Work, Lesson Pathways & Knowledge Organiser

Hooks and Riffs - Scheme of Work and Lesson Pathways

Includes Scheme of Work Overview, Unit Learning Objectives, Learning Outcomes and Lesson Pathways.

Hooks and Riffs - DOITNOW (Starters) and Plenary Activities

Exploring Repeated Musical Patterns

Hooks and Riffs - “DOITNOW” Presentation

Cutting down on printables, file storage and media files, the “new look” Musical Contexts “DOITNOW” Hooks and Riffs lesson openers Presentation contains  a wealth (only two samples shown here), of effective “DOITNOW’s” when delivering the Hooks and Riffs unit in just one place - all audio and video files are embedded and there’s accompanying Teacher’s Notes in the “slide comments” section.  Some of the “DOITNOW’s” lend themselves to development into (optional) longer, more structured activities -suggestions in the “slide comments.”

Hooks and Riffs - 5 Minutes Silent Reading

For teachers who prefer to begin their lessons with quiet, focused openers.  All contain “Questions to Think About” which can also be used as Cover or Homework tasks.

Hooks and Riffs - Music Theory and Rhythmic and Melodic Dictation

Hooks and Riffs Music Theory - Clefs and Repeat Symbols

Introduces pupils to the musical symbols for repeat markings and their use and also the treble and bass clef symbols encouraging pupils to draw both these symbols and understand their use to indicate high or low pitch.


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Hooks and Riffs - Plenaries



A range of lesson closers and ways in which pupil’s can review their learning from within the Hooks and Riffs unit.

1. Repeated Musical Patterns

2. Ostinatos

3.  Riffs

4. Hooks

5. The Habanera and Carmen

6. Bolero

Hooks and Riffs Rhythmic and Melodic Dictation Exercises

Introduces pupils to some basic rhythmic and melodic dictation based on simple ostinatos and riffs, starting with graphic notation and moving onto single line rhythm notation and finally using staff notation.   All of the audio examples are given on the accompanying audio file. 

Score 6 - Performing “Sweet Dreams”


(The original song structure to the song “Sweet Dreams” for class or ensemble performance)

Hooks and Riffs - “Sweet Dreams” - The Eurythmics

Hooks and Riffs - “We Will Rock You” - Queen

Hooks and Riffs - “Bolero” - Ravel

Hooks and Riffs - “Habanera” from ‘Carmen’ - Bizet

Hooks and Riffs - 2nd Movement from Symphony No.101 - Haydn

Hooks and Riffs - Creating and Evaluating “Chocolate Machine” Ostinatos

Hooks and Riffs - “Word Up” - Cameo

Hooks and Riffs - “The Knight’s Farewell”

Hooks and Riffs - Creating and Improvising with Ostinatos and Riffs


(Permission kindly given from resource creator to share)

Hooks and Riffs - Cover and Homework Activities





Hooks and Riffs in Popular Music

Pupils research, listen and analyse to pieces of popular music or songs in terms of Hooks and Riffs and the Elements of Music.

Can be done with ICT or access to popular music websites or set as homework.

Ostinato Word Search

Pupils find the word OSTINATO which is hidden in a word search grid 20 times.

Can be done without using ICT.

Creating Verbal Hooks

Pupils create a simple Verbal Hook choosing from a selection of lyrics with the option of teaching this to other members of the class. 

Can be done without using ICT.

Hooks and Riffs Key Words Crossword

Pupils solve the answers to crossword clues covering the key words given in the Musical Contexts Hooks and Riffs unit.

Can be done without using ICT.