Music is an academically strong department and a good number of pupils choosing to study GCSE and A Level each year. These courses combine three different strands of study which consist of performing, composing and listening and the music curriculum undertaken in Years 7, 8 and 9 complements this structure.
At GCSE, there is enormous breadth in the works studied, including pieces of classical music from 1600 to 1900, 20th century classical music, the world of jazz, pop and rock, and finally, world music. At A Level, Year 12 candidates look closely at five instrumental works and five vocal works, studying the principal areas of harmony, melody, rhythm and instrumentation. They identify specific features of the music that tie it to a particular era or genre, looking carefully at how each traces the development of music throughout the ages. In the same way, Year 13 students study both instrumental music and a course on applied music, looking how music is effectively composed for a number of different occasions – from church cantatas to film scores. Music at A Level benefits from small classes and provides an opportunity to pursue academic engagement whilst encouraging creativity within the practical elements.
The music curriculum in Years 7, 8 and 9 sets our students up for these qualifications as well as being enjoyable and stimulating whether they have had much exposure to formal musical training or not. It introduces them to performing, composing and listening with a varied scheme of work encouraging group composition and performance tasks within solid study of several musical topic areas – everything from jazz improvisation to orchestral programme music. We make use of music technology in virtually every lesson with students able to work with programmes such as Sibelius for score-writing, DanceEjay for DJ and remix work, and Audacity for recording and sound manipulation work. Performing is strongly encouraged, with a clear focus on ensemble music making within the class, to hone existing instrumental skills and also develop potential in new ones.
Outside of the classroom, we take great pride in an outstanding extra-curricular offer. More details here.