“I would teach children music, physics, and philosophy; but most importantly music, for the patterns in music and all the arts are the keys to learning.” ― Plato

At Magnus we hugely value the importance of music and have invested in this area to develop a thriving, modern, and inclusive faculty.

Instrumental Lessons

All students are offered the opportunity to learn an instrument at a heavily subsidised cost as we believe that talent should be valued and nurtured. The faculty is dedicated to reviving the ‘Magnus Swing Band’ which is growing in strength and quality every day.

Pupils are given the opportunity to have extra lessons on a wide range of musical instruments, including most orchestral instruments, voice and guitar. Lessons are usually between 20 – 30 minutes long and take place during lesson time. Pupils may be taught individually, or in small groups, depending on the nature of the instrument, availability of time, the standard of the pupil. Pupils are given an instrument to use while they are receiving lessons. A contribution of £80.00 per term is requested to help towards the cost of this tuition. It should be noted that this is merely a small contribution and in no way reflects the true cost of tuition fees and instrument hire. This is to be made after the pupil has completed some trial lessons and shown satisfactory commitment and aptitude.

Extra-Curricular Groups

There is a wide programme of extra-curricular activities, including Concert Band, Swing Band and choir opportunities. These cater for all interests and ability ranges and there is something for everyone to join. All of the ensembles perform in public and the Swing Band has performed at a variety of venues. We hold school concerts as well as the school’s annual Academy Awards. There are also a number of smaller events throughout the year including The Swing Band pantomime Christmas tour, and Musicals. As a modern, forward thinking faculty, we provide multiple opportunities to suit different musical tastes including everything from pop to more traditional choices such as classical, jazz and swing.

Key information:

Curriculum Progression

Key Stage 3

At Key Stage 3, students cover a wide variety of musical styles and genres. The music lessons are based around the four essential skills for being a good musician: performing, composing, listening and appraising. Most music lessons feature practical activities, and pupils will learn basic notation, and experience singing and performance. Pupils will gain knowledge of music across cultures, time and places, and will have the chance to experiment and create in small groups.

Key Stage 4

The GCSE music course is an exciting course, where pupils will have the chance to develop an interest and understanding of how to perform music to a high standard, compose and appraise music. This course will nurture and develop a lifelong interest and understanding of how music is created through a practical approach.

There are four focused areas of study;

  1. Instrumental Music 1700-1820
  2. Vocal Music
  3. Music for Stage & Screen
  4. Fusions

GCSE Music will develop performing, composing and listening skills and give pupils a wider appreciation of different musical styles. They will have opportunities to use music technology and perform regularly.


  • Two performances – 30%
  • Two compositions – 30%
  • The listening paper – 40%.

Performances are recorded, meaning that pupils can record pieces until they are happy with them. One of the compositions must be composed to a set brief. The other composition is for the pupils’ own “free” composition. They can use music technology to produce the compositions.

Key Stage 5

This course uses the three strands of performing, composing, and listening to introduce pupils to a variety of musical genres, styles and techniques. Music A Level is accepted at all universities. Whilst pupils might not envisage a career in music in the future, this is a subject which universities know demands high levels of self-discipline, team work, creativity, commitment and dedication.

The strands for study are taken from the Western Classical Tradition. The Areas of Study cover a wider range of music from across different time periods and styles, for example: film music, musicals, pop music, jazz and contemporary art music.


Pupils sit a listening exam at the end of the course to assess Unit 1. All composing and performing is externally assessed. Performances are recorded; there is no live recital. For the two compositions, a recording and a score/annotation must be provided.

  • UNIT 1: Listening, Analysis & Contextual Study (40%). Set pieces from two strands, and music from two areas of study
  • UNIT 2: Performing Music (35%). Solo and/or ensemble performing, 10 to 12 minutes in duration
  • UNIT 3: Composing Music (25%). Pupils will compose two compositions, 4 1⁄2 to 6 minutes in duration.

Curriculum Plan