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Purpose and Provision

Download a copy of the Music Departments Purpose and Provision document here.

Music plays a large part in the life of the school and the department's many ensembles and choirs have a strong reputation locally and beyond.

The department has a team of fourteen visiting peripatetic instrumental teachers, all of whom are professional musicians and many are graduates of the country's top conservatoires. All pupils are encouraged to study a musical instrument of their choice and lessons can be taken just for personal enjoyment or can lead to grade examinations of The Royal Schools of Music. Many universities now recognize these qualifications, and grade examinations carry UCAS points from Grade 6 upwards.

Key Stage 3

At Key Stage 3 pupils will study a broad-based curriculum in performance, composition, history of music and listening to and appraising of music. All genres of music will be covered including the Western Classical Tradition, Jazz, Blues, World Music and Popular Music from 1950 to the present day.

There are regular assessments which allow pupils to follow their progress in performance, composition and listening and appraising and this curriculum offers a solid foundation in preparation for GCSE Music which can be taken as an option at Key Stage 4.

Key Stage 4

Pupils can opt to study music for GCSE and it is expected that those doing so will already have a good basic grasp of instrumental or vocal performing. Pupils will study the AQA GCSE Music Specification which is assessed at the end of Year 11 by a terminal examination and controlled assessments in composition and performance.

Unit 1 – Understanding Music

This unit is worth 40% of the overall GCSE and is a 1 ½ hour listening examination taken at the end of the course in Year 11. It features questions on four areas of study which will be studied throughout the two years.

• Western Classical Tradition 1650 – 1910
• Popular Music
• Traditional Music
• Western Classical Tradition since 1910

Pupils will answer eight questions of previously unheard music which comes from the areas of study and then in Section B will answer two questions based on two of the set works studied during the course. These are: -

• Haydn Symphony No. 101 in D Major, The Clock (2nd Movement)
• Copland Rodeo from Appalachian Spring

Pupils will be expected to answer questions and have a clear understanding of; Rhythm and Metre, Harmony and Tonality, Texture and Melody, Timbre and Dynamics and Structure and Form using correct terminology throughout.

Unit 2 – Performing Music

Worth 30% of the overall examination this paper requires the candidates to perform two pieces of music with a minimum duration of four minutes. The performances will be recorded in Year 11 of the GCSE course and it is expected that pupils will undertake instrument lessons in order to help facilitate this.

Unit 3 - Composing Music

Worth 30% of the overall examination pupils will complete two compositions of a minimum combined duration of three minutes. One composition is completed to a brief set by the examination board in the year of the examination and the other to a brief set by the pupil.

Key Stage 5

Students study the OCR A-level specification and will take several modules in performance, composition and listening and appraising music.

Performing Music

This constitutes 35% of the overall marks and students will perform a 10 – 15 minute recital at the end of the course and it is expected that they undertake instrumental lessons to help facilitate this.

Composing Music

Students will complete two compositions comprising of an exam board set brief and an own set brief. These form 25% of the overall examination mark and are submitted in the second year of the course.

Listening and Appraising Music

Students will study four of the six areas of study and these form the content of the listening examination in the final year of the course.
• Instrumental Music of Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven
• Popular Song: Blues, Jazz and Big Band
• Developments in Instrumental Jazz, 1910 to the present day
• Religious Music of the Baroque Period
• Programme Music, 1820 – 1910
• Innovations in Music, 1900 to the present day

Further information on this course can be found under the Sixth Form pages on this web-site.

Extra-Curricular Music

There is a vibrant and varied programme of choirs, bands and groups that pupils can join. These cover ALL ages and abilities from complete beginners to advanced players and include:

• Junior Choir
• Senior Vocals (Girls Choir)
• Cantores (SATB Choir)
• Orchestra
• String Orchestra
• Wind Band
• Concert Band
• Brass Ensemble
• Flute Choir
• Guitar Group
• Folk Direction (Folk Band)
• Jazz Band (Senior)
• Discovery Jazz Band (Junior)

The Department also stages a whole school musical bi-annually and to date these have included Fame, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Cats, Phantom of the Opera, West Side Story, Evita, and Oliver.

The Senior ensembles perform concerts throughout the region and beyond, undertake many charity events and participate in a foreign concert tour each year. In August 2016 Cantores lead the worship for BBC Radio 4’s Sunday Worship and the Department were one of five finalists in the Music Department of the Year Award in January 2018. To date the choirs and bands have toured to Paris, Belgium, Northern Spain, Tuscany, Venice, Poland, Hungary, Malta, Netherlands, Prague, Croatia, Tenerife and Austria. On the most recent tour of Tenerife the choirs were privileged to sing in the beautiful Cathedral in La Laguna. Plans to tour Prague and the surrounding area in the Czech Republic are underway for July 2019.


Miss H Davies - Director of Music and Head of Performing Arts
Miss J Fallows - Music
Miss T Fielding - Performing Arts