"Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and life to everything." -Plato
The music department is an active and thriving part of School. We pride ourselves on a curriculum that is aimed at developing knowledge and skills for all pupils and where pupils feel secure to develop at their own rate. We use a wide variety of teaching methods and resources making sure that students are exposed to a broad variety of styles and genres of music through time and place. There is a series of extra-curricular groups available for all ages and abilities. We are fortunate to have a suite of Macs running Garagebeand and Sibelius for pupils across all Key Stages to use to benefit their musical understanding and experience. The Department has a commitment to excellence and encouragement of all students to develop their musical potential.
The Elements of Music/
Finding Your Voice
Music for Cartoons
‘The Planets’ by Gustav Holst
Theme and Variations
Music for Film
Blues and Jazz
At Key Stage 4, students have a variety of opportunities to continue their musical studies. We offer Edexcel GCSE Music for those students who would like a more theoretical qualification. We also offer Level 2 Certificate in Performance and /or Technology which is a much more practical based course.
At Key Stage 5 we offer Edexcel A level Music and also Level 3 Subsidiary Diploma specialising in either Performance, Composition or Technology. Students taking A level are well placed to further their studies in a Music based degree course. Students studying for the Level 3 Diploma can study a huge variety of units to complete this qualification and specialise in their own musical interests, and can follow a further education course in a variety of music disciplines.
Extra -Curricular Opportunities
The Music Department runs a lively and broad extra-curricular programme. Not only do we utilise our departmental teaching staff to run ensembles, and to rehearse with students at break times and lunchtimes, but we also are fortunate to have the expertise of our very experienced peripatetic staff who assist in the running of our Drumming Group. We currently run School Choir, Drumming Ensemble (African and Samba), Guitar Ensemble, Classical Band and Rock Band Practice. Smaller ensembles are invited to rehearse at break time and lunchtimes and practice rooms are equipped with amps, keyboards and drum kits and a piano. Our most recent addition to the department is a new music studio running Logic 10. This is proving to be a fantastic resource, with students creating compositions for GCSE, A level and a variety of professional recordings.
We have several high profile events throughout he school year. The Christmas Carol Concert in December is an opportunity for our School Choir, Drumming Group and soloists to perform in public. Our most prestigious performance has been our Christmas Concert at Gloucester Cathedral which was a fantastically memorable evening of music.
We also work alongside the Drama Department to stage a whole school musical. 2017 saw a fantastic performance of Grease with our music students performing in the pit band which is a brilliant achievement.
We also run a whole school House Music Competition where we encourage participation from as many students as possible. Pupils represent their House through solo or ensemble performance. Those who reach the final perform in front of a packed Hall and judges. This is a great whole school community event supporting the House System and encouraging musical talent.
Our various Rockschool ensembles perform and organise small recitals and concerts as part of their coursework during the Spring terms. We draw together the best examples of Music from across the school to showcase in the Gloucestershire Schools Celebration of Success event which takes place yearly in June.
Our Department has very close links with the Gloucestershire Music Hub and we continue to support our students by offering them the opportunity to take part in the various Music Centre Ensembles and the prestigious County Ensembles such as Gloucestershire Youth Choir, Youth Orchestra and Jazz Band. These groups perform regular concerts at Cheltenham Town Hall or the Pump Rooms, working with a variety of professional musicians which gives our students some wonderful opportunities. We have very recently had students taking part in the County Choir, and the Gloucestershire Youth Wind Orchestra culminating in the Music for Youth final at the Royal Albert Hall – it doesn’t get much better for a musician! In September we were awarded the ‘Music Mark’ award in recognition of a commitment to providing high quality music education for all children and young people.
Next steps or where the subject leads
The creative industries are now the fastest-growing sector in the UK economy, with some areas expanding at three times the national rate. Five out of 6 of our students in 2015 went on to study Music at University – an incredible statistic. Courses ranged from ‘Popular Music, to ‘Jazz Improvisation’ to ‘Composition for Film and Television’. The Level 3 Subsidiary Diploma is an excellent industry relevant course and this proves its accessibility for Further Education.
The various units that we study on that course equip students to follow a variety of pathways. Performance work can lead to work as a recording artist, session musician, music teacher, composer. Our project work can lead to becoming an event promoter, a festival organiser, a sound engineer, a record producer. Creating a music video can learn to work as a video producer, graphic/web designer, photographer or vlogger.
With so many transferable skills gained on the Subsidiary Diploma, any career path is open to students. Many gain jobs working in other sectors, or as creative people in non-creative companies.