The Music department has a wealth of activities and we strongly encourage all students to participate in at least one. We have two teaching areas, each fully equipped with classroom instruments, and the main classroom also has a dedicated ICT suite running Sibelius 5 and Cubase. There is a suite of practice rooms in which Berkshire Maestros provide lessons in a wide variety of instruments. The Music Department has a recording studio, running the industry standard ProTools which is used mainly by BTEC and GCSE students.

Key Stage 3

In Years 7-9 all students have class music lessons each week. In these lessons students will learn about music from a variety of cultures and styles. They will compose and perform music with tasks designed to help them understand many common musical devices and use this knowledge to understand music that is both familiar and alien to them. Extra Curricular Musical Activities run during morning registration and lunchtimes for pupils.

  Autumn 1 Autumn 2 Spring 1 Spring 2 Summer 1 Summer 2
Year 7 Elements of Music and graphic scores Keyboard and xylophone unit Performing Fanfares, Instruments of the orchestra Caribbean Music, Fanfare Competition, Instruments of the orchestra Music through History
Year 8 Samba Reggae Blues Ground Bass Musical Futures – Popular music Musical Futures – Classical Music
Year 9 African Drumming Indian and Bhangra Musical futures – Performing Musical Futures - Composing Music and Media (how music is used in film, TV and advertising), Music and Structures


Key Stage 4


The department has chosen to follow the EDEXCEL syllabus and so it is recommended (but not compulsory) that pupils are able to play an instrument as the exam board expects Grade 3 standard as 'average'. The course requires students to compose (30%), perform (30%) and sit a listening paper (40%). The listening and composition are based on four Areas of Study of which set works are learnt.

Exam Board reference:

Western classical music 1600-1899 Music in the 20th century Popular music in context World music
G F Handel: Chorus: And The Glory of The Lord from Messiah, HWV 56 A Schoenberg: Peripetie from Five Orchestral Pieces, Op. 16 M Davis: All Blues from the album Kind of Blue Capercaillie: Chuir M’Athair Mise Dhan Taigh Charraideach (Skye Waulking Song) from the album Nàdurra
W A Mozart: 1st Movement from Symphony No. 40 in G minor, K. 550 L Bernstein: Something’s Coming from West Side Story J Buckley: Grace from the album Grace Rag Desh - Suggested listening:
A Shankar: Rag Desh from the album Live at Carnegie Hall
S D Dhandhadaand H Dhandhada: Rag Desh from the album Mewar Re Mira
B Wertheimer and S Gorn: Rag Desh Parts 1-3 from the album Priyagitah: Nightingale
F Chopin: Prelude No 15 in D flat major, Op. 28 S Reich: 3rd Movement (fast) from Electric Counterpoint Moby: Why Does My Heart Feel So Bad? from the album Play Koko: Yiri


BTEC Music

The Edexcel BTEC Level 2 Award Extended Certificate in Music is a 120 guided-learning-hour (GLH) qualification that consists of two mandatory units plus optional units. The course offers a wide variety of choice, and development of skills needed for the workplace. Students should be competent on an instrument or voice if they are to consider BTEC Music.

  Autumn Term Spring Term Summer Term
Year 10 Introducing Musical Composition Introducing Musical Composition and Managing a Musical Product Managing a Musical Product
Year 11 The Music Industry (External Assessment) Introducing Musical Performance Introducing Musical Performance


Advanced Subsidiary/Advanced Level

The course aims to develop further the areas of performing, composing and listening. In addition students will undertake historical and analytical studies of music from key points in musical history. The course aims to develop the skills of all different styles of musicians; it is for those interested in a range of musical styles. Although preferable, it is not essential to have had experience of music at GCSE level. However, students must be competent performers (at least grade 5) on one instrument. The course consists of six modules. Modules 1, 2 and 3 are taken for ‘AS’ level. Modules 4, 5 and 6 are taken in the second year to gain the ‘A’ level. The student is assessed by coursework, written examination and by a visiting examiner. Each module can be retaken once before a final ‘A’ level grade is awarded.

  1. Performing solo recital lasting 5-6 minutes performing during the course (at least four occasions during the year)
  2. Composing compositional techniques/harmony exercises free composition (using set stimuli)
  3. Historical study of set works in a variety of styles from the western ‘classical’ repertoire
  4. Specialist option choice of solo recital or free composition
  5. Performing and compositional techniques/harmony exercises composing performing during the course
  6. Analysing music in depth study of set works

Career and Higher Education Opportunities

There are now many degree courses which enable further study of music, performing arts and music technology. Music ‘A’ level is often important for students who wish to enter the teaching profession, whether for primary or secondary schools. There are also many other careers associated with music for which ‘A’ level is useful, for example recording engineer, publishing, music librarian and, of course, careers in performing and accompanying.


The department aims to create a range of regular performance opportunities for students at the school. There are large Christmas and Summer concerts involving all the ensembles the department runs and smaller recitals for exam classes to perform. Our Choir performs at Basildon park every year and there is also abiennial House Music competition which is run by the students. We invite a visiting adjudicator each time to join the panel of judges.We run a series of summer concerts where students who have instrumental lessons can show what they have learnt that year.

The School Musical

Each year the Drama and Music Departments combine to put on a musical. Past performances have included Grease, Bugsy Malone, The Sound of Music, We Will Rock You, Our House, Wizard of Oz, Footloose and Beauty and the Beast. Other Departments also get involved and help with set design and other essential projects. The Musical is open to all age groups to audition and we usually have a mix of students in years 7-13.

Instrumental lessons

Pupils are able to take instrumental lessons through the Berkshire Maestros in a wide variety of instruments. Currently pupils are able to study cello, clarinet, drum kit, flute, guitar, horn, keyboard, percussion, piano, saxophone, trumpet, trombone, violin and voice. These lessons take place during the normal school day. The cost for lessons and an application form can be obtained direct from Berkshire Maestros website which includes details of lessons and other activities they and Berkshire as a whole organise.

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