Course Overview


The National 4 Music course builds on the work done in S3 Music. As well as engaging pupils in performing activities and providing them with a wide range of Composing and Understanding Music experiences, it also provides opportunities to enhance their literacy and numeracy skills. 

Course Content

The course consists of three units – Performing, Composing and Understanding Music.  


Performance based activities either solo or in a group on two instruments of their choice.

They will also study topic based activities such as World Music; Scottish Music; Blues & Jazz Music; Music from Earlier Times and Rock & Pop music.

Teacher-led discussion, cooperative group work and formative assessment strategies are used to give pupils the opportunity to demonstrate and improve their performing skills and knowledge about music.


Performing Skills has one outcome which is assessed at appropriate times during the course.  This outcome involves performing music in a range of music styles by:

1.1           Developing musical and technical skills, showing an understanding of the composer’s intentions

1.2           Identifying strengths and areas for improvement in their performing

Composing Skills has one outcome which is assessed at appropriate times during the course.  This outcome involves creating original music by:

1.1           Identifying the compositional methods and music concepts used in given examples of music

1.2           Experimenting and using music concepts and compositional methods to develop and create original music

1.3           Developing musical ideas that convey their creative intention

1.4           Reflecting on their music and their creative choices

Understanding Music has one outcome which is assessed at appropriate times during the course.  This outcome involves recognising and identifying music concepts and styles by:

1.1           Identifying level-specific music concepts in excerpts of music

1.2           Identifying the social and cultural influences that have influenced the distinctive sounds of specific music styles

1.3           Identifying and recognising the meaning of music signs, symbols and terms

As there is no external examination for the National 4 course, there is no need for pupils to undertake additional end-of-topic tests to re-inforce their knowledge and understanding of the concepts.  There is, however, a Value Added Unit that must be satisfactorily completed.  This unit comprises a performance on both instruments.  


The department supports a positive homework policy.

Homework is set regularly to support and consolidate classroom experiences. Some homework assignments will require pupils to carry out research in their own time. Pupils are expected to practise their instruments for 20 minutes at least 5 times throughout the week.

Recording and Reporting

The unit assessment outcomes form the basis for the comments in the pupil reports, issued to parents in Januray and March, while the S4 parents’ night in late January provides an opportunity to discuss successes and/or concerns.