The music department seeks to develop all-round musicians. As a language music is discussed (in words using specialist vocabulary), written and read (in different forms of musical notation) and performed (in sound), emphasising three key areas: the understanding and application of appropriate musical terminology; the interpretation and use of music notations; and the development of creative and performance based skills. 

Pupils begin their studies by exploring the principal ingredients of all music. Here, essential terminology is introduced and they are able to explore sound and rhythm in whole class and small ensemble performance. Notation reading is taught so that they are able to play simple melodies on the keyboard, and basic ukulele work lays the foundation for some guitar knowledge in later years. In year 8 students gain a greater understanding of how music technology can contribute to the creative process. Work on notation reading and keyboard skills continues plus more detailed exploration of specific techniques heard in music across a range of styles. At this point pupils are given the opportunity to explore rock band ensemble work as both composers and performers. Ensemble work then becomes crucial to the development of skills in teamwork, leadership, negotiation, organisation, determination and self-discipline. At the end of Year 8 music becomes an option and the year 9 groups receive 3 lessons per fortnight. These extra lessons enable the students to broaden their musical experiences, spend more time performing in class and follow more personal pathways. By the end of year 9 students will be able to comment confidently on music they hear using a good range of musical vocabulary; perform with confidence when demonstrating the instrumental and vocal skills they have developed; and exhibit a range of creative skills that can be transferred to wide range of applications in later life.

Students then opt to move on to GCSE and A level qualifications. The exam specifications place emphasis on three key areas: performing, composing and listening and analysis. Performance work becomes much more specific to each student’s chose specialist instrument. Stylistic and personal interpretation are now discussed in much greater depth. Composition work also becomes much more personal and pupils are encouraged to explore styles and genres that interest them – both familiar and unfamiliar. Here they will start to apply their knowledge of all aspects of music to quite specific but extended pieces of coursework. Their reading of notation should also become more fluent during this period as its use becomes far more regular. Pupils will continue to expand their music specific vocabulary and more importantly will be able to apply music terminology more instinctively and with less guidance.

Throughout the week there are many ensembles working after school, cumulating with concerts at the end of the term.  In addition students can access individual voice and instrument lessons with teachers from Alfa Music.

Course Contacts

Head of Department:

J. Parkinson  ( )

Teaching Staff: 

S. Shepherd  ( )

Technical Staff: 

R. Hindle ( )