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Music plays a vital role in the life and profile of Lawrence Sheriff School and there is a strong tradition of high-level music making. Penrhos House is home to a bustling music department comprising 2 main teaching rooms, computer suite furnished with iMacs, recording studio and a number of well-equipped practice rooms.

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Music is a compulsory component of the Key Stage 3 curriculum and during years 7 and 8, pupils explore a range of topics from rock to Minimalism to music and war through various compositional (both acoustic and computer-based), aural, historical and performance activities.

Music is taught in half class sizes allowing a great deal of personalised teaching and learning. Pupils have the opportunity to continue their musical education at GCSE level - the Edexcel specification comprises the analysis of 12 set works alongside composition and performance.

Pupils at Lawrence Sheriff are highly motivated and many learn to play an instrument (approximately 15% of pupils learn an instrument in school and many others have private lessons). Currently, peripatetic teachers provide lessons in brass, woodwind, violin, guitar (classical and rock), keyboard and percussion (including drums) and singing.

Outside of the classroom, there are many thriving extra-curricular and enrichment activities in which the pupils can get involved. Enrichment options, directed by the two full-time music teachers, include string orchestra, choir and intermediate jazz band, none of which are auditioned. School orchestra rehearses after school on a Thursday for which pupils should play at Grade 4 standard or above and for Senior Jazz Band – the school’s star ensemble with many performances in and around Rugby to their name – an audition is required. In addition to these, there are many student-led ensembles including rock bands and jazz combos. To showcase the pupils’ talents, the music department hosts regular concerts from Christmas Carol Services to the Battle of the Bands, from formal end-of-year Spring Concerts to Summer Soirees accompanied by afternoon tea.

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Music also features prominently in the community. Ensembles regularly play at local events including summer fetes and Rugby’s Got Talent, at Age Concern and other nearby schools. Every summer students from year 12 visit primary schools where they deliver self-devised workshops on the elements of Music.

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Key stage 3

Students in years 7 and 8 are taught music for one period a week. The aim is to develop the musical skills necessary should they choose to study music further at GCSE and A level. The curriculum is based fundamentally on the following skills: performing, composing, listening and appraising.

Topics covered in year 7: Rhythm [note values, drum beats, African/Samba drumming, drum beat sequencing], Melody [C major scale, keyboard skills, melodic composition, creating moods and atmospheres with different scales], Harmony [primary triads, chord playing, using harmony in a composition]

Topics covered in year 8: Music and War [fanfares, minor scales, orchestration], Pop song arrangement [group performance, arrangement styles], Pop song composition [primary and secondary triads, bass riffs, drum patterns, chord sequences], Music for film [consolidating all skills learned at KS3 in a major composition project].

Assessment is ongoing by national curriculum levels. There is also an end of term exam for each year group. Music technology and ict skills are embedded in each topic.

Key Stage 4

Course :Edexcel Music

Code: 1MU0


Music is taught as an option in years 9-11. In addition to studying for the GCSE students will also be entered for ABRSM Grade 5 Theory in year 10.

Topics covered: Performing [Solo and Ensemble], Composing, Appraising [Instrumental Music, Vocal Music, Music for Stage and Screen, World Music].

Topics Covered in Year 10: Set works from the areas of study covered in year 9, two compositions, two performances [solo and ensemble].

In Year 11 students will follow undertake a further qualification[s] that will be chosen to suit the needs of the group and the individual [IGCSE, Rock School Music Practitioner, Extended Project, Music Theory]

Post 16

Sixth Form Prospectus

Music Department Extra Curricular activities - Please click here for timetable.

  Below is a link to the school orchestra performing 'Themes form 007'. (Please note you may need to be logged into Gmail to listen to this file)

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whose registered office is at Lawrence Sheriff School, Clifton Road, Rugby, Warwickshire, CV21 3AG