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Music Department


The music department provides pupils with the opportunity to develop interests which contribute to their personal development, enhance their quality of life and provide the skills and knowledge required to increase their appreciation and enjoyment of music. It is a busy department with a range of courses and extra-curricular groups running throughout the year. The department is well equipped and has a suite of Macbook computers which are used for composition and music technology. The courses offered in the department also provide the skills and knowledge required for pupils who wish to proceed to study music at a more advanced level.

Course Outline

Courses from S1 – S3 consist of 4 main elements: composing, listening, music technology and performing, with pupils following the experiences and outcomes outlined in curriculum for excellence.

In S1 the topics covered are rhythm and drum-kit, pitch and keyboard, ukulele and guitar and instruments of the orchestra.

In S2 pupils further their develop their practical skills by choosing two instruments they would like to focus on a practice individually and as part of a group on each instrument. Listening topics including World Music and Music from the Romantic Era are covered with which pupils develop their understanding of each style of music and take part in various music technology and composition tasks.

In S3 pupils practice further on their chosen two instruments and learn about music from the 1900s to present day. Composition tasks in S3 include a blues improvisation, ragtime melody and song writing which allow pupils to create their own music, as well as developing their understanding of music technology.

As pupils progress through school they have the opportunity to choose one of two course routes at National 3, National 4 and National 5, Higher and Advanced Higher Level: Music Performing or Music Technology.

Music Performing

The music performing course from National 3 to National 5 consists of three main areas: performing, composing and listening.


Pupils are expected to perform individually on two instruments which allows them to:

  • develop performance skills in a wide range of styles, in solo or group situations, including both instrument and voice.
  • build on previous work to achieve a higher level of skill
  • broaden their musical experience and skills


In this unit pupils work towards creating pieces of music in a variety of different styles. Pupils will take part in a number of activities including improvisation, arranging, song writing and use music technology software such as Sibelius and Garageband to record their music. Compositions at National 5 – Advanced Higher level are externally marked by the SQA.


The emphasis in this unit is on listening to a variety of musical styles and developing an awareness of musical concepts. Pupils will have the study music ranging from the Baroque era to present day pop and rock music and will learn how to recognise a wide variety of terms that relate to the music they hear.


Music Technology

Music technology can be studied at National 3 – Higher level at Turriff Academy. In this course, there are three main elements:

  • Understanding 20th and 21st Century music

Pupils listen to a variety of musical styles from this era and develop an awareness of musical concepts relating to each genre.

  • Technology Skills

Pupils learn how to use recording equipment, editing recordings and adding effects to enhance the quality of a recording. They also learn how to use a PA system through setting up and controlling sound at concerts in the school. Pupils research and learn about technological advances in recording sound during the 20th and 21st Centuries.

  • Technology in Context

For this part of the course pupils complete a variety of pieces of work using the technology skills learned in class. These range from creating recordings of bands and groups, creating podcasts or radio broadcasts to creating music / sound effects to accompanying a drama performance or short film.


Extra-Curricular Activities

Turriff Academy Music Department offers a range of extra-curricular activities throughout the school year. In recent sessions groups have included ceilidh band, woodwind group, guitar group, senior and junior choir and percussion group. The department holds a school concert in December and a Musician of the Year contest in March allowing these groups to have the opportunity to gain valuable performing experience and showcase their talent in front of an audience.

Trips, Visits and Workshops

Pupils may be given the opportunity to go and see musical performances / concerts and to take part in workshops. In recent years these have included a song writing workshop with a professional boy band, a performing workshop with The Band of The Royal Regiment of Scotland and a trip to HMT Aberdeen to see Annie: The Musical.


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