Academic Music

We provide an inclusive, relevant and engaging approach to musical learning, which develops the musical potential in each and every one of our students.

Plato once said that music “is a more potent instrument than any other for education”. Recent research shows that studying music stimulates all areas of the brain, developing a child academically, emotionally, physically and spiritually. Music demands a mixture of transferable skills: creativity, discipline, independence, presentation, teamwork and communication. Increasingly, universities and employers around the world are looking for young people who can demonstrate these skills and have a well-rounded education.

Engaging children in music also helps them form a positive outlook about themselves and their capabilities. Playing a musical instrument develops a child’s self-confidence as it imparts a sense of control and mastery. Our academic music curriculum ensures that all of our students are equipped with the necessary skills and knowledge to participate in music as performers, composers and listeners, undertake further musical study, or pursue a career as a professional musician.

EYFS and Key Stage 1 (ages 4 to 7)

In Reception to Year 2, we nurture our student’s musical development by offering broad musical experiences with specialist teachers from a young age. The musical learning and development is centred around four key areas: listening and responding to a wide range of genres; developing singing skills; moving and dancing in time to music; and exploring and playing with sounds, and rhythms and musical instruments.

When moving up to the Windsor Park Campus in Year 2, our students are given a free TooT for the year. This instrument is the first step to playing the flute and allows all of our students to share and practice their music learning at home.

Key Stage 2 (ages 7 to 11)

Students in Years 3 to 6 receive two music lessons per week, developing holistic musical skills and understanding through playing, singing, creating and listening to music in whole-class ensemble and year group choir settings. Students experience playing both orchestral and popular music instruments in addition to using classroom percussion and music technology. Our students are given access to a free orchestral instrument each year, allowing them to share and practice their music learning at home, and many of them also choose to pursue the study of these instruments individually as part of the school’s Music Academy.

Key Stage 3 (ages 11 to 14)

In the Secondary School, our students continue to develop their music ability through integrated performing, composing, improvising and listening in a range of contexts and styles. Our ‘Just Play’ approach allows students to build instrumental, musical and ensemble skills on a variety of instruments, through whole-class music making. Creative music skills are modelled, and when ready, our students go ‘in at the deep end’. They are asked to work in friendship groups and choose their own music, instruments and pathway to reach the end point – to perform together as a band..

Key Stage 4 (ages 14 -16)

In Years 10 and 11, the music programme is focused on the areas of performing (30%), composing (30%), and listening and appraising (40%), based on the Edexcel GCSE Music curriculum. Students will be introduced to a wide variety of musical styles, from rock music to EDM, film scores to musical theatre, and world music to western classical music. They also continue to develop their performance skills, individually and with others, on any instrument and in any style they choose. The composition component allows students to further explore their musical creativity in a range of styles. They are also given opportunities to use music technology, developing skills in sequencing, mixing and recording.

Key Stage 5 (ages 16 -18)

Students in the Sixth Form have the option to study two different music courses. AQA A Level Music comprises three components: appraising (40%), performing (35%) and composing (25%). There is a strong emphasis on performing and you can play music in any style, whether it’s jazz, classical, folk or heavy metal. It is highly recommended that students have tuition on an instrument or voice in order to progress to the level expected in performance. In addition, they need a grade 5 or above in GCSE Music or Music Theory.

Edexcel A Level Music Technology comprises four components: recording (20%), technology based composition (20%), listening and analysing (25%), and producing and analysing (35%). This course focuses on how professional music is written and produced, how recording studios work and how to gain employment working within the music industry. The course is grounded in popular music covering all styles from rock and soul to EDM and commercial pop. Students are expected to have good keyboard skills and a sound understanding of music notation. A grade 4 or above in GCSE Music is beneficial but not essential.