Departmental Aims

  • To inspire our young musicians of all abilities to enjoy all aspects of music making
  • To provide a wide ranging, contemporary and dynamic curriculum to challenge and motivate all students to develop a life-long love of music
  • To encourage students to venture into new styles of music from contemporary genres to the music of old through creative composition tasks, analysis of musical scores and by encouraging curiosity
  • To promote the importance of communicating to an audience through performance
  • To nurture the musical interests of all students.


  • Three full time teaching staff
  • One full time music administrator
  • Twenty-six peripatetic VMTs instrumental and vocal teaching staff
  • Well-equipped classrooms with piano, interactive whiteboard, and relevant audio facilities. Each class has access to a range of classroom percussion equipment, guitars and keyboards.
  • 13 practice rooms, one recording studio and a live room
  • A computer suite with 12 Apple Mac computers with Logic Pro and Sibelius software to aid composition.

Years 7-9 Curriculum

The theoretical aspects of music are taught through practical activity whether this be performing, composing or also (in Year 9) appraising and analysing music. When performing, students spend their time exploring a range of activities including; playing a piece of music by ear; performing contemporary pop songs  film music and classical music, learning the 12-bar blues and performing a samba piece. When composing, students learn to; write songs, write their own hook/riff, compose a rondo piece in groups, compose their own 16 bar rhythmic piece and 16 bar melody. In each activity, students are encouraged to write their work using musical notation.

Co-curricular, Enrichment, Extension and Support

The Senior School Music Prizes offers a chance for students to compete with their peers to win prizes in performance specific to their instrument. The categories are decided based upon the ability of the individual, and currently includes Preliminary (grades 1 – 3), Intermediate (grades 4 – 6) and a range of Advanced categories (grade 7 – 8) which are named prizes and categorised by instrument.

As part of the music prizes, we offer a composition forum where students can enter their own compositions and receive feedback.

Students are invited to come to Senior Choir and are invited to be involved in the Senior School Musical for Year 7 – 10 which takes place in May.

GCSE Curriculum

We follow the Edexcel GCSE Music course which aims to

  • develop performing and composing skills individually as Non-Examined Coursework (NEA) and communicate musically with fluency
  • recognise links between the integrated activities of performing, composing and appraising and how this informs the development of music
  • broaden musical experience and interests, develop imagination and foster creativity
  • develop awareness of music technologies and their use in the creation and presentation of music
  • engage with and appreciate the diverse heritage of music, in order to promote personal, social, intellectual and cultural development.

Co-curricular, Enrichment, Extension and Support

Our most able and accomplished musicians are invited to be part of the Performance Programme in which they attend a range of events that stretch and challenge them. This has included a talk on issues surrounding instrumental and vocal practice, an active conducting session and individual or small group sessions on Alexander Technique.

Music making is at the heart of what we do in our Faculty. Students are actively welcomed in to use the practice rooms in their own time to develop their skills in composition and performance. All ensembles include students from a range of year groups within the Senior School. This is a strength of the Faculty whereby younger students learn from the older students and vice versa. Students support each other in the shared aim of enjoying music making and performing pieces to a high standard.

We have twenty-six VMT staff who teach a wide range of instruments and lead our chamber groups. With their help, as a Faculty, we are bursting with co-curricular ensembles covering a range of genres and activities from music theory and aural, to Big Band and our Senior Orchestra.

In all years in the Senior School, individual students may be invited to attend a chamber ensemble relevant to their instrument/voice. This unique opportunity encourages them to develop their instrumental technique and general musicianship. We have a beginner player scheme for students wishing to learn to play a brass, wind or stringed instrument. This includes learning to play the instrument from scratch over a series of eight sessions as a group with a specialist. Students are provided with the opportunity to compose music as underscoring for the play that is staged bi-annually.

We recognise the importance of providing a breadth of musical experience and where possible we immerse students in the musicians’ lifestyle by inviting them to take part in the band for the school musicals.

Music at BMS