Learning, Listening, Composing & Evaluating Activities

In this unit, pupils explore the genre of popular song, learning how different artists and groups have created different musical arrangements of the same song.  Pupils learn about different musical devices used in popular songs including how the different structural elements are sequenced horizontally to produce the classic form of a popular song, as well as how different textural layers combine vertically showing awareness of the different parts used in a popular song.  Pupils explore hooks and riffs and learn about their function within popular songs.  The unit ends with a choice of pathways building on skills, knowledge and understanding of learning during the unit – teachers can choose whether pupils spend the final two lessons composing their own popular song or whether to allow pupils to perform their own arrangement of a popular song from a wealth of options given.

Element Focus - Texture, Timbre & Dynamics, Melody & Harmony, Structure & Form

Secondary/Key Stage 3 Unit - Popular Song

Starter & Plenary Activities
Performing Activities - Songs & Scores

Exploring Songs & Arrangements

Supporting Activities - Cover & Homework
Old Style Performing Songs & Scores (will be updated at a later date)


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Song Sheet 1 - Three Lions

Score 22 - Three Lions Full Score


(Song Example on Audio 6)


(MIDI 1 - Ostinato A; MIDI 2 - Ostinato B;

MIDI 3 - Verse with Melody, Chords and Bass Line)

Song Sheet 2 - England/Vindaloo

Score 23 - England/Vindaloo Full Score


(Song Example on Audio 7)


(MIDI 4 - Melody, Accompaniment, Chords and Bass Line)

Score 1 - Stand by Me


(Song Example on Audio 3)


(MIDI 5 -Bass Line; MIDI 6 - Chords;

MIDI 7 - Bass Line & Chords together; MIDI 8 - Percussion Rhythms;

MIDI 9 - Bass Line, Chords & Percussion Rhythms together;

MIDI 10 - Bridge Melody; MIDI 11 - Counter Melody)




Score 2 - Performing the Riff and Melody to

“Praise You”

Song Sheet 3 - “Praise You”


(Song Example on Audio 10)

(MIDI 12 - “Praise You” Riff;    MIDI 13 - “Praise You” Melody)

Score 24 - Riffs & Hooks from Popular Songs


(Riff examples on Audio 13)

(MIDI 14 - Riff from “Bitter Sweet Symphony”;

MIDI 15 - Riff from “Glory Box”)

Song Sheet 5 - Love is All Around

Score 5 - Love is All Around


(MIDI 16 - Song Melody & Melody Line;

MIDI 17 - Chords;   MIDI 18 - Bass Line;

MIDI 19 - All parts together)







Song Sheet 6 - “I’ll be There for You”

Score 6 - “I’ll be There for You”

(MIDI 20 - Song Melody & Melody Line;

MIDI 21 - Chords;   MIDI 22 - Bass Line;

MIDI 23 - All parts together)













Video 1

Where to Start?

Focus on the Chorus

Video 2

Song Structure

Video 3

Learning a new Popular Song

Video 4

The Drum Kit

Video 5

The Production Studio

Video 6

The Recording Studio








Worksheet 1

Listening to Types and Styles of Songs


(Uses Audio 1)

Worksheet 2




(Uses Audio 2)

Worksheet 3 - Listening to

Arrangements of “Stand by Me”



(Uses Audios 3 & 4)

Worksheet 4

Stand by Me

Evaluation Sheet

Worksheet 5

The Drum Kit


Worksheet 6

Listening to Arrangements of “Killing me Softly”

(Uses Audio 5)








Worksheet 7

Listening to “Vindaloo”


(Uses Audio 7)

Worksheet 8

Listening to



(Uses Audio 8)

Worksheet 9

Listening to “Wayfaring Stranger”

(Uses Audio 9)

Worksheet 10

Listening to “Comfortably Numb”

(Uses Audio 14)

Worksheet 11

Listening to “Give me One Reason”


(Uses Audio 15)

Worksheet 12

Composing a

Popular Song

Worksheet 13

Popular Song

Lyrics Bank

Scheme of Work

Lesson Plan (PDF)

Lesson Plan (DOC)

Lesson Bundles (ZIP)

Download all the resources you need for each lesson (excluding video files) in a ZIP file.

Click here for the latest version of WinZip.

Lesson 1

Exploring Musical Arrangements

Lesson Plan 1

Lesson Plan 1

Lesson 1

Resource Bundle

Lesson 2

Exploring Popular Song Structure &

Textural Layers

Lesson Plan 2

Lesson Plan 2

Lesson 2

Resource Bundle

Lesson 3

Exploring Arrangements of a Popular Song

Lesson Plan 3

Lesson Plan 3

Lesson 3

Resource Bundle

Lesson 4

Exploring Hooks & Riffs

Lesson Plan 4

Lesson Plan 4

Lesson 4

Resource Bundle

Lessons 5 & 6A

Composing a Popular Song

Lesson Plans

5 & 6A

Lesson Plans

5 & 6A

Lessons 5 & 6A

Resource Bundle

Lessons 5 & 6B

Performing a Popular Song

Lesson Plans

5 & 6B

Lesson Plans

5 & 6B

Lessons 5 & 6B

Resource Bundle








Starter/Plenary 1

Song Structure Card Sort


Starter/Plenary 2

Popular Song Titles Picture Quiz

Starter/Plenary 3

Listening to “Praise You” Card Sort

(Uses Audio 10)

Starter/Plenary 4

Listening to Riffs & Hooks Card Sort

(Uses Audio 11)

Audio 12

Riffs & Hooks from Popular Songs

Starter/Plenary 5

My Popular Song Learning









Cover/Homework 1

Popular Song Keywords Word Search

Cover/Homework 2

Pop Groups & Artists from the 1960’s onwards Word Search

Cover/Homework 3

Popular Song in the 1970’s Picture Matching

Cover/Homework 4

Popular Song of the 1960’s Word Search

Cover/Homework 5

Popular Song Word Search

Cover/Homework 6

1980’s Match the Artist Quiz

Cover/Homework 7

Music Technology -

The Recording









Cover/Homework 8

The Drum Kit

Cover/Homework 9

Song Writing: Recording and Selling your Song














Score 7

“Killing me Softly”

Score 8

“Can’t get you out of my Head”

Score 9

“Hey Jude”

Score 10


Score 11

“When you say Nothing”

Score 12

“Tears in Heaven”

Score 13

“Every breath you Take”

Score 14

“(Everything I do) I do it for you”









Score 15

“The Flintstones”

Score 16

“Groovy Kind of Love”

Score 17


Score 18



Score 19

“Take my Breath Away”

Score 20

“Fields of Gold”

Score 12




Presentation 1

Parts of a Song

Kindly submitted by a subscriber, this presentation takes pupils through the form and structure of a Popular Song