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All pupils in Years 7-8 have one lesson of music per week; in Year 9 music is offered as an optional subject (one of a choice of six subjects with pupils choosing five) and further study at GCSE and A Level is also optional. Small class sizes at The Leys ensure that all pupils receive ample individual attention and tuition in a supportive and stimulating environment. Technology is embraced and iPads are used to enhance some elements of learning, particularly with regard to composition using Garageband. Sibelius and other music notation software is used for compositions at GCSE and A Level.

There is a wide variety of wider curricular music activities available to all pupils irrespective of whether they are studying for GCSE or A Level music.


Years 7 – 9

Pupils in Years 7-8 study a range of topics include: instruments of the orchestra, world music, rhythm and melody writing and music for TV and film. Practical sessions using instruments, classroom percussion and group singing develop general musicianship at this level. In Year 9 pupils enjoy full exposure to the elements of music in a range of topics that will prepare them for study from Year 10, should they choose to continue the subject at GCSE.



The GCSE course follows the Edexcel syllabus and pupils are expected to perform, compose and analyse music. The course is wide-ranging and accessible and the set works studied cover a good variety of pieces and musical styles ranging from Bach to Queen. 60% is coursework based, with one written exam in the summer.

Course Structure

  • Component 1 – Performing one solo and one ensemble performance (30%).
  • Component 2 – Composing two compositions (30%).
  • Component 3 – Appraising (40%): (a) written listening paper, including dictation and a question based on an unfamiliar piece of music; and (b) an essay question based on a comparison between a set work and one unfamiliar piece.


A Level

A Level Music builds on the skills introduced at GCSE, developing further the many aspects and disciplines essential for study of the subject at a higher level. An A Level in music supports progression to higher education not only in music but in most other subjects. Indeed, music was one of the four subjects of the Quadrivium when Oxford and Cambridge Universities were founded. Pupils opting to study A Level Music follow the AQA syllabus which is divided into three sections based on appraising, performance and composition. 60% is coursework based, with one written exam in the summer.

Appraising music (40%)

  • Area of Study 1: Western classical traditional 1650-1910 (compulsory), comprising three strands: Baroque, Classical and Romantic.
  • Area of Study 2-7 (select two): Pop music; Music for media; Music for theatre; Jazz; Contemporary traditional music; Art music since 1910.

Performance (35%)

  • One recital (10 minutes). Performance can be either instrumental / vocal, as a soloist and/or part of an ensemble.

Composition (25%)

  • Two compositions (one in response to a brief, and a free composition). The combined duration of both compositions must be a minimum of 4.5 minutes. The candidate is required to provide programme notes up to 150 words for each composition.
People enjoy a high level of success in instrumental music and the pupils' chapel choir performs at a high level, and has the opportunity to sing at evensong at some of the university colleges.
  • Mr Max Kenworthy MA (Oxon) FRCO ALCM – Director of Music
  • Miss Kamile Radzvilaite BMus MA – Assistant Director of Music
  • Mrs Chloe Emery BA Hons, PGCE – Music Teacher
  • Ms Emily Wilson BMus – Performing Arts Administrator

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