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Head of Department - Mr C Western

Curriculum Ambition

Music is all around us. Whether it is heard, sung, played, streamed, experienced live or through technology, it is an integral part of our lives. It is a stimulus to memory, an expression of our emotions, and a way of “getting together” with friends. It is creative, collaborative and celebratory and yes, can be very challenging!  The music department firmly believes an exciting musical experience can stay in our memories forever.

Perhaps the broadest definition of music is that it is organised sound. Understanding music needs an understanding of musical conventions and at time, challenging of them! “Works of Art make rules; rules do not make works of art” - Claude Debussy.

Our activities in our music lessons are created to experience sound, achieved through practical tasks, be it in Year 7 through to Year 13. Students will demonstrate their understanding of this through activities combining listening, performing and composing.

By the end of Key Stage 3 pupils will have:

  • engaged with creative processes through improvisation and composition.
  • built an understanding of how musical elements work.
  • gained an aural knowledge of some of the greatest musical pieces of all time.
  • developed knowledge of a wider range of notes and improved their fluency in music notation - notation can grant access to a lifelong passion for music making if this skill is nurtured.
  • performed in groups or as a soloist, vocally or on an instrument.
  • developed valuable team skills.
  • been provided a route to being able to choose and succeed in further qualifications including GCSE and A Level Music and to play a part in our huge extra curricular musical life of the school and our community.


The music department consists of:

  • One large main teaching room with keyboards and grand piano
  • One music classroom with keyboards and 18 Windows computers
  • One recording studio with iMac and recording audio facilities
  • One sequencing room with two MacMini’s
  • One sequencing room with three Windows computers
  • One drum room
  • One small ensemble room inc. vocal PA
  • One sequencing room with resources ready to connect to students’ personal laptops
  • One exclusive Sixth Form Music study room
  • Nine instrumental teachers
  • Four instrumental practice rooms

We understand that every student has different learning styles and musical tastes, which is why our KS3, GCSE and A Level courses values all music styles, skills and instruments. We want to broaden our students’ minds and foster a love of all music with an education that students of all abilities and backgrounds will enjoy.

The Music Department consists of three full-time members of staff and eleven peripatetic staff.  The staff are all very passionate about music and the way in which it is taught in the school.  We offer Music at KS3, 4 and 5.

Instrumental lessons are available in most instruments and these lessons happen on a weekly basis in one of our practice rooms.

Music lessons are taught in Music specific rooms all of which contain various instruments both melodic and percussive and PC workstations running Presonus and Sibelius as well as other educational software.

At Key Stage 3, students have two lessons per fortnight and within these lessons, we teach the musical elements through a variety of structured topics.

GCSE Music students follow the AQA syllabus.

Further information can be found here -

The course is structured  as follows:

Component One – Listening.
Exam paper with listening exercises and written questions using excerpts of music.
Section A: Listening to unfamiliar music in exam conditions (68 marks)
Section B: Answering 3 two marker and 1 eight marker questions on their Study pieces (28 marks) –

Little Shop of Horrors 1982 off-Broadway version – the following three tracks:

  • Prologue/Little Shop of Horrors (overture)
  • Mushnik and Son
  • Feed Me

and  “Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto in A major”, K. 622, 3rd movement, Rondo.

Component Two – Performance.
As an instrumentalist and/or vocalist and/or via technology:
Students will now need to submit either one solo performance with a duration of at least a minute and a half, or one ensemble performance with a duration of at least two minutes. This is recorded in Year 11.  Most students record their performances after school on a one-to-one basis, recording as many times as they wish, where they also receive feedback on how to improve their mark further.  

Component Three – Composing.
Students will now need to compose one piece of music with a duration of at least two minutes.
Compositions may be in response to a set brief or be freely composed.
Submissions must include a complete recording of the composition with a score, lead sheet or written account produced by the student.
Students don’t have to perform their own composition.
The recording may be computer generated.


A-Level Music students follow the AQA syllabus,

A large number of our students take either ABRSM or TRINITY Music Examinations over the course of the year.

Extra Curricular activities within the Music Department cater for all students and abilities and consist of; Jazz Band, Concert Band, Poynton Junior Singers, Senior Choir, Rock Bands, and we also host and help lead Poynton Music Academy on a Monday evening which is open to all students at the high school as well as students from our primary schools and local community.


We put on a wide range of concerts within the school and in the local and wider community and participate in a larger number of musical initiatives in Cheshire and beyond.


The Music Department
Head of Department Mr C Western
Teachers of Music Mr M Rawling
Mr T Webster

Poynton High School & Performing Arts College

Poynton High School, Yew Tree Lane, Poynton, Cheshire SK121PU, GB

01625 871 811