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Music logoHead of Department: Mr T Joris

Teachers: Mr G Podesta

The Music Department is extremely busy throughout the year. With a recording studio and two large PC labs running Sibelius 6 and Cubase 10, as well as a number of practice rooms, our students are able to spend time in and out of class performing, composing and recording music. Pupils are encouraged to participate in extra-curricular clubs including Soul Band, Vocal Group, Junior Orchestra, Senior Orchestra and Grammar School for Noise, our rock band coaching programme. We have a wide variety of ensembles and many students also create their own bands, which are featured in a number of concerts each year. We also offer an annual Music residential trip to Years 79 and a bi-annual Music tour abroad. Individual tuition is available on a number of instruments.

At A Level we offer Music Technology. This consists of two coursework aspects (Recording and Composing) and two exams with questions on, and practical tasks in, music production. This exciting course allows for development of new skills and understanding through a practical and engaging approach. [updated May 2020]

Co-curricular activities

Junior Orchestra, Senior Orchestra, Grammar School for Noise, Soul Band, Brass Ensemble, Woodwind Ensemble, Vocal Group, GCSE Composition Clinic.

My goal is not to be better than anyone else, but to be better than I used to be
Dr Wayne W. Dyer

Students from Years 813 perform around Lake Garda and Verona on our summer tour to Italy.



Years 7, 8 and 9

Year 7

Musical Theatre – includes a big focus on singing, basic keyboard skills, music theory (introduction to notation and duration), listening skills (incl. Kodály), context/history and an overview of elements of music.

Classical Music – includes an introduction to the world of classical music, covering some of the ‘greats’, learning about orchestral instruments, music theory (notes on the stave, basic rhythms, time signatures, steps and accidentals, the major scale), performing ‘Ode to Joy’, singing classical/choral music, and composing a melody over Pachelbel’s Canon accompaniment using Sibelius software. This is a double topic containing 20 lessons.

Folk Music – includes an exploration of folk music from different cultures, folk instruments, an introduction to chords on keyboard, singing songs like ‘Drunken Sailor’ and ‘Auld Lang Syne’, guided listening exercises and option to learn the ukulele.

Year 8

Music for Adverts – includes investigation into the use of classical music in adverts, music theory (revision of basics, articulation, dynamic terms and symbols, repeat signs), detailed use of sequencing in Sibelius, performing ‘Gymnopedie’ on keyboard, introduction to Cubase.

Blues Music – includes learning a melody, singing, improvisation, 7th chords, walking bass, context/history/instrumentation, music theory (Blues scale, revision of music theory essentials), option to learn the guitar and more extensive use of Cubase.

Reggae Music – includes singing in harmony, performing Reggae songs on a variety of instruments, music theory (bass clef notation, time signatures, key signatures), context/history/instrumentation and an option to compose in Sibelius.

Musical Futures – includes pop music, performance skills, venues, careers in music, ensemble skills, with an emphasis on independent learning and Cubase.

Year 9

School of Rock – includes an extensive look at aural skills (e.g. identifying rhythms or musical devices) and musical vocabulary (e.g. syncopation, distortion, verse-chorus structure) through listening, study of rock instruments, singing and performing (e.g. AC/DC, Queen, Deep Purple) with emphasis on riffs, sequencing of Seven Nation Army using Cubase and option to learn/practise guitar or drum kit.

Music Production – includes an examination of pop music and production techniques (e.g. sampling, sequencing, effects), revision of music theory and vocabulary through listening, keyboards and drum machines, extensive sequencing task on Cubase using video tutorials and optional club dance sample-based composition.

Film Music – includes history/musical features (with a brief look at foley, sound design, musical films and biopics), revision of all KS3 vocabulary through listening, performing of film music (e.g. Superman, Indiana Jones, James Bond) and a composition with focus on scales and musical devices.

All KS3 topics include one lesson with focus on music careers and one on SMSC.


The above topics are all designed to fit within the framework of the KS3 National Curriculum in Music. Click for National curriculum.

GCSE: Years 10 and 11


This diverse GCSE course is for those who love listening to, performing and composing music. The course teaches pupils to analyse music with increasing technical skill and vocabulary, covering styles such as pop/rock, jazz, musical theatre, bhangra, classical and film music.

Students spends most lessons listening to music in groups or as a class and then working on their own composition using Cubase or Sibelius. There are practice rooms that can be booked and we expect students to practise at home as well. We have a team of dedicated and highly professional tutors who support students in their performance coursework.

Year 10 Curriculum Outline:

  • Composition skills – a step-by-step guide to composing from scratch
  • Introduction to areas of study: Musical Forms and Devices, Music for Ensembles, Film Music and Popular Music, including set works
  • Ensemble performance skills
  • Music theory – we use a number of excellent resources to provide a practical approach
  • Core listening skills and vocabulary – a clear list of key terms is provided, with regular tests throughout the year

Year 11 Curriculum Outline:

  • Advanced composition skills – students spend most of this year working on their second composition
  • Revision of all areas of study – we use a variety of practice papers, home-made resources and websites
  • Recording of performing coursework
  • Advanced listening skills and vocabulary – includes preparation for aural dictation questions
  • Exam skills and past papers

Exam board: Eduqas

Click for course specification

A Levels: Years 12 and 13

Music Technology

Qualifications needed: It is helpful if candidates play an instrument, have basic keyboard skills and do some music production in their spare time, though performing itself is not marked.  Enthusiasm for listening to and creating popular music using relevant technologies is a must.

Course content: This practical course will further develop performing, listening and composition skills using music technology to capture, edit and produce musical outcomes. This will include setting up microphones and monitoring sound, arranging and composing music using Cubase. Students will also study popular music from 1910 to the present day identifying relevant technological aspects.




A2 Level




Recording: Production tools and techniques to capture,

edit, process and mix an audio recording.



Composition: Creating, editing, manipulating and structuring

sounds to produce a technology-based composition.



Listening and Analysing: 1 hour 30 min listening examination



Producing and Analysing
2 hours 15 mins examination on music production


Exam board: Edexcel

Click for course specification

Careers Education

Careers Education

  • The Department has a successful track record of students proceeding to study Music and Music Technology at a number of high-profile Universities and Music Colleges.
  • The Department provides specific guidance to students applying for Music and develops important skills outside of the classroom through our extra-curricular programme.
  • The Department also has a number of industry contacts who are able to provide careers advice to students.

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