We appreciate that students joining the school have all different levels of musical experience, so we have worked tirelessly to develop a curriculum that all students can access, whatever level they begin at. We also strongly believe that all students, no matter their musical background, can make improvements in their confidence to perform, their ability to create and make music, and their ability to talk and respond to Music through listening and appraising. Finally, we hope that Music at SGS makes a lasting impression on students so they can carry a passion and appreciation of Music into their adult lives.
Outside of the classroom, we have a range of extra-curricular groups including an Orchestra, a Jazz Orchestra, a range of choirs, a String group and a creative music club. These groups work on repertoire throughout the year and are showcased in termly performances. We also carry out a bi-annual Musical Production in collaboration with Sutton High School.
Students also have the opportunity to participate in trips and music workshops throughout their time at SGS. If students wish to learn an instrument outside of lessons, we have a range of peripatetic tutors who can provide lessons in piano, guitar, vocals, woodwind, strings, drum kit, composition and brass.
The Music department aims to
- To develop confidence and appreciation in performance
- To expand students’ creative capacity in Music Making
- To nurture an ability to discuss, analysis and appraise a broad range of Music in an articulate way.
Inclusion, Improvement, Impact.
No matter what your musical experience, students will be stretched, challenged and offered an opportunity to engage with the Music Curriculum.
Throughout the three year key stage, students will improve their singing; understanding of notation, ability to perform, use Music technology, work as a team, extend their vocabulary, and expand composing and appraising skills during your time at SGS.
Whether you study Music to year 9, or Year 13, we hope all students can carry an appreciation and understanding of music into their adult lives.
If pupils wish to learn an instrument a SGS, we have a range of experienced peripatetic teachers who deliver lessons in; piano, vocals, violin and viola, clarinet, flute, saxophone, drum kit and percussion, guitar, composition and brass lessons. Please visit the instrumental lesson session for further information.
Key stage three students also have access to Music workshops and Music trips to enhance their understanding and cultural appreciation of different musical styles. Year 7 students undertake 4 lessons a fortnight in Music, and three lessons a fortnight in year 8 and 9.
At GCSE, students build on their skills in performing, composing and appraising/listening to Music.
Like Key stage three, 30% of the award is assessed in performance. GCSE students must submit a solo performance on an instrument of their choice and a group (ensemble) performance. This can be decided and rehearsed throughout the two year course. The second 30% part of NEA (coursework) is composition, students submit a free composition in year 10 (a piece in any style of their choosing) and a brief composition set by Edexcel in year 11. Pupils at SGS have access to two IMAC suites, all with Logic Pro, Sibelius Ultimate and GarageBand.
For the remaining 40% of the GCSE award, there is an Appraising Music exam. Students complete questions in response to 8 set works that we study in detail over the two year course. Much of the exam relies on students to recall key features of the set works, so much of the exam relies on memory of vocabulary. Some aspects of the exam require students to apply their knowledge by answering more descriptive questions, or more contextual questions. Finally, students finish the exam with a comparative essay where they have to evaluate one of their set works against another piece of a similar style. All these set works link to four Areas of Study at GCSE.
Music can be enjoyed on whatever path you choose. Many students who take A level music go on to university to study Music, Music Technology or some combined music course. Every university has several orchestras, groups and choirs that you may wish to be part of. In the last four years, we have had successful Oxbridge applicants in Music. You may also wish to continue your musical pursuits alongside your future career and what you studied at A level will help you understand the music that you would be playing in any high standard orchestra or as part of solo work.
Overview of the specification
This specification is divided into three components.
Component 1: Performing – Options A or B
Non exam assessment: externally assessed by a visiting examiner.
Option A (35%) Total performance duration: 10–12 minutes
Option B (25%) Total performance duration: 6–8 minutes
Component 2: Composing – Options A or B
Non-exam assessment: externally assessed by WJEC Eduqas.
Option A (25%) Total duration of compositions: 4 – 6 minutes
Option B (35%) Total duration of compositions: 8 – 10 minutes
Component 3: Appraising
Written examination: 2 hours 15 minutes approximately 40% of qualification
The written examination focuses on three areas of study.
Area of study A
The Western Classical Tradition covering The Development of the Symphony,
1750 – 1900. Learners should choose one of the following set works for detailed analysis, and the other for general study:
- Symphony No.104 in D major, ‘London’ by Haydn
- Symphony No.4 in A major, ‘Italian’ by Mendelssohn
Area of Study B, C or D
- Area of study B: Rock and Pop (1960-2000)
- Area of study C: Musical Theatre (Rodgers, Bernstein, Sondheim Schonberg, Lloyd Webber and Schwartz)
- Area of study D: Jazz (1920-1960)
Area of study E
Into the 20th Century, which includes 2 set works –
- Trio for Oboe, Bassoon and Piano, Movement II by Poulenc
- Three Nocturnes, Number 1 Nuages by Debussy
What if I don’t want to continue with Music after A Levels?
Music A level shows any employer or university that you are dedicated and committed because you have to be both these things in order to prepare for, rehearse and perform an instrumental recital. It also shows that you have effective time management when composing music within a set time frame and to a specific brief. Composition requires creative openness, which is a key interpersonal skill. Creativity is becoming increasingly desirable to employers. For those students who want to study Music at the university degree level, it is essential that you have a Music A level to do this. Above all, music is a great way to express yourself where words fail, it is a universal language that all cultures understand.