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Miss R Yates - Director of Music

Mr C Vaughton


Our Philosophy

Committed to the philosophy of ‘music for all’, the Music Department aims to foster a love of music through practical, accessible and challenging learning. Our curriculum has been designed to empower students with the skills, knowledge and cultural awareness to become musically literate thinkers.

Outside the classroom, our extracurricular music program is varied, catering to every level of playing ability and run by our music staff and expert peripatetic team. The Music Department prides itself on hosting a range of concerts, school productions and trips. Recent excursions have included performances at Disneyland Paris and the Rothschild Hospital, a 3-day trip to London and recording sessions at a Manchester-based studio. 

The Music Department also plays a key part in the spiritual life of the school. Students participate in regular hymn practice, singing at mass and our annual Carol Concert. 

We offer instrumental tuition in piano (classical and jazz), voice, trumpet, trombone, guitar (electric, bass and classical), violin, clarinet, saxophone, flute, oboe and drums. If you would like further information on this, then please get in touch via the contact details at the bottom of this page. 


The Music Department is well-equipped for both traditional and modern music teaching. A class set of keyboards, ukuleles and djembes means that students are able to enjoy practical music making, whilst our suite of Mac mini computers allows students to experience a range of music programmes, such as GarageBand and MuseScore.


Year 7 is about developing basic musical skills as a foundation for future years. There is an emphasis on building fundamental musical skills such as singing, keyboard and using GarageBand as a compositional tool. Students pick up a range of theoretical skills (such as how to read staff notation) but apply them meaningfully to a range of practical scenarios.


Year 8 shifts towards 'music in context', whereby students study music as a product of different cultures, histories and genres. Students are encouraged to think open-mindedly about unfamiliar types of music and the reasons behind its making. The foundational skills of Year 7 are built upon throughout. 


In order to prepare students for GCSE, the curriculum is geared towards independent practise, being able to use software such as MuseScore (our software of choice at GCSE) and for musicians to incorporate their own instrument where possible. Many of our assessments also feature an aspect of oracy, whereby students are assessed on their ability to articulate their opinion in an articulate, critical manner. 


We study GCSE Music with AQA. The course is divided into performing (30%), composing (30%) and appraising (40%) of music. Students will perform a solo and ensemble performance, whilst also producing two compositions (one being ‘free’ choice and the other based on a brief set by the exam board). Students are supported throughout this process and tend to rapidly develop as musicians in this time. There is an expectation that GCSE students actively participate in our extracurricular clubs and concerts.


AQA Music requires students to be well-rounded musicians in the analysis, performance and composition of music. At this level, a successful music student will actively seek out a wide range of unfamiliar music, enjoy the process of in-depth musical analysis and be willing to commit significant time to practising their instrument, refining their aural skills and developing their compositional voice. Class sizes are generally quite small, allowing for highly personalised and rapid progress.



Miss Yates:

Mr Vaughton: