About the Department
The Music Department consists of two specialist classroom music teachers, 20 peripatetic instrumental teachers, a postgraduate musician, and the Exams & Music Administrator.
Facilities at both our Cumberland Street and Fence Avenue sites include dedicated classroom spaces, computer/keyboard labs and a suite of practice rooms.
Music is an essential part of life for students at King’s. Academic music is thriving and each year a number of students go on to study music at university or conservatoire level.
At the same time, each year over 400 students take part in extra-curricular music-making, a majority of whom also have instrumental/singing lessons at King’s.
A Level: 100% A*-A
GCSE: 64% 9-7, 91% A*-C
A Level: 66% A*-B, 100% A*-C
GCSE: 57% A*-A, 100% A*-B
Subject Content & Syllabus
At King’s, we follow our own bespoke curriculum at Key Stage 3. We compose, perform and listen to music in a wide range of styles including World Music, Classical Music, Jazz/Blues, Film Music and Rock/Pop. At all times, the emphasis is on practical music-making whether as soloists or as members of an instrumental ensemble or choral group.
Music is compulsory for students in Years 7 and 8 and a popular choice in Year 9 where topics range from Schubert to Samba!
From KS4 upwards, we follow the EdExcel specification for GCSE and A Level. Students are examined in performance, composition and listening and appraising skills informed by set works ranging from Bach to House Music. Smaller class sizes (usually 8-12 at GCSE, 2-4 at A Level) allow us to pay close attention to individuals’ needs and interests.
Monitoring & Assessment
During their time at King’s, all pupils are assessed each half-term and regular feedback is given to parents.
End of year examinations are taken in Years 7, 8, 9 and 10. Public exams (GCSE and A Level examinations) are taken in Years 11 and 13.
Instrumental lessons are available in strings, woodwind and brass instruments, percussion, guitar (acoustic and electric) and voice. We also offer tuition in Music Theory and aural skills. Students are encouraged to work towards ABRSM, Trinity or Rockschool examinations.
In addition, we offer a full and diverse range of extra-curricular activities for musicians of all standards and interests. Many of our students rehearse and perform with leading regional and national ensembles (e.g. National Youth Choir, National Youth Jazz Collective, National Children’s Orchestra, Hallé) in addition to their work in-school.
Our instrumental ensembles include the Big Band, Chamber Orchestra, String Orchestra, Brass Group, Wind Band and smaller groups created to meet the changing needs and interests of specific students (e.g. Year 8 Rock Band, AS/A2 String Quartets, Barbershop).
Singing and Choral work is particularly strong at King’s. This year, the Foundation (Senior) Choir will be singing Evensong at Blackburn Cathedral in addition to numerous concerts and services in Macclesfield. Singing is also popular at KS3 with large numbers of students taking part in Songbirds (Years 7 - 9 SSA) and King’s Cambiata (Boys’ Changing Voices) rehearsals & concerts.
Each year, we collaborate with colleagues in the Drama department on productions of plays and musicals. Recent productions include Les Miserables (2016), Kindertransport (2017) and Oliver! (2018). The Music department also organises regular trips including concert/theatre visits, residential courses and bi-annual international tours (e.g. Tuscany 2014, Prague 2016, Rome 2018).
Each year, several students leave to study Music at university/conservatoire level (including Oxbridge organ and choral scholars), and from there go on to enjoy successful careers in different areas of the music industry (e.g. composers, performers, producers, agents).
At the same time, studying Music to GCSE and A Level enables students to develop a wide range of critical thinking, analysis and creative skills which are highly valued by university admissions tutors and, later on, potential employers.