Music is taught throughout the school; in Forms 1 – 3 all pupils have one lesson a week as part of the general curriculum, and it then becomes an option choice for GCSE and A level.
At all levels, the course incorporates the basic elements of listening and appraising, composing and performing. In the first three years this is linked together by topics, examples of which include the Blues, music that tells a story and variation form. Composition mainly takes place at the keyboard, with the finished product performed, recorded and assessed by pupil and teacher. In addition we also teach music theory as a preparation for GCSE, and aural and listening skills.
At GCSE we follow the Edexcel course. Pupils offer both solo and ensemble performance and are encouraged to perform their own compositions, two of which are offered for examination. We use the Sibelius computer software for this. The listening and appraising module covers world music as well as classical and popular styles.
At A level we use the OCR course, which includes a detailed study of some classical and jazz pieces as well as listening and analysis, composition for both instruments and voices, and two performance modules.
In addition to music in the curriculum, we offer a wide range of activities, including choir, orchestras, jazz band, guitar group and bell choirs. We hold our Carol Service in St Albans Cathedral, put on a musical every year and perform a variety of concerts both in and outside the school.