The Music Department comprises two full time Music staff and one part time Music teacher. These are assisted by 14 visiting teachers who teach a range of orchestral instruments. In addition, saxophone, acoustic guitar, voice, piano and percussion are taught.

Each pupil has two lessons per cycle at Key Stage Three, after which the subject becomes optional at GCSE and A Level.

Many concerts take place each term, either at school or in venues such as local churches or the Royal Northern College of Music. Our choirs and orchestras have performed with other schools and we have commissioned our own music from a variety of composers.

Centenary Concert - Bridgewater Hall, 2010Occasionally we run a Music Tour at the end of the Summer Term. Destinations have included the Rhine, Spain, France, Germany, Italy, China and the English cathedrals of Salisbury and Durham. Every 2-3 years, Music, Drama and Dance Departments combine to produce a Musical. Past productions have included ‘Annie’ and ‘The Wizard of Oz’ and ‘Oliver’.

The music Department at AGGS is a vibrant place in which musicians of all ages and standards can flourish.

Follow AGGS Music Department online:

AGGS Music blog:


Extra Curricular

music-Christmas-concert14-2Sixteen ensembles / orchestra / choirs meet weekly to rehearse for the termly concerts. Involving over 200 pupils. They are:


  • Junior Choir (Y7 and Y8)
  • Senior Choir (Y9-Y13)
  • Chamber Choir (All years, auditioned)


  • First Orchestra
  • Second Orchestra
  • String Orchestra (by invitation)


  • Wind Band (Student-led)
  • Jazz Band

Music Carols at the RNCMEnsembles

  • Cello Choir (Student-led)
  • Guitar Ensemble (Student-led)
  • Recorder Ensemble (Student-led)
  • Saxophone Ensemble
  • Flute Ensemble (Student-led)
  • Junior Strings (Student-led)
  • Folk Band (Student-led)



Junior Choir
Y7 & Yr 8
Tuesday 12.45 – 1.20 Room 9 Mrs Boyd
Senior Choir
Yr 9 – 13
Monday 12.45 – 1.20 Room 10 Ms Mayall
Chamber Choir (Auditioned – any years) Tuesday 3.30 – 4.30 Room 10 Ms Mayall
1st Orchestra (Grade 5+)
Wednesday 3.30 – 4.30 Main Hall Ms Mayall
2nd Orchestra (No audition!) Thursday 12.45 – 1.20 Room 9 Miss Wright
String Orchestra (Invited players) Friday 3.30 – 4.30 Room 9 Mrs Janes
Bands / Ensembles (Teacher Led)
Jazz Band Monday 3.30 – 4.45 Room 10
Mr Lodge
Saxophone Ensemble
Tuesday 1.00 – 1.30 Room 10
Miss McCallum
Bands / Ensembles (Student Led)
Cello Choir Wednesday 12.45 – 1.20 Room 10 Student led
Recorder Ensemble Tuesday 12.30 – 1.00 Room 10 Student led
Flute Ensemble Wednesday 12.45 – 1.20 Room 10 Student led
Chamber Choir (Auditioned – any years) Thursday 12.45 – 1.20 TBC Ms Mayall
Junior Strings Friday 12.45 – 1.20 Room 9 Student led
Guitar Ensemble Friday
1.00 – 1.25 Room 10 Student led
Wind Band
TBC TBC TBC Student led
Choral Reef TBC TBC TBC Student led
  • Please see Music Notice board (Outside room 10) for details of playing standard / auditions. See Ms Mayall / Miss Wright / Mrs Boyd if you need a lunch pass.
  • Please display on your Form Room Noticeboard – many thanks Music Department.

In addition, AGGS Music Department is frequently approached to provide music for external events. Recent examples include:

  • Joint Netflix choir project on air now on ‘Safe’ Netflix series

    Joint Netflix choir project on air now on ‘Safe’ Netflix series

    Providing a choir for Safe film company, together with singers from Altrincham Boys’ Grammar School, aired on an episode of a Netflix (2018) series – Read all about this and listen to the choir here

  • Choir tours to Germany and France
  • Performing at our Centenary Concert at the Bridgewater Hall (2010). Over 700 pupils were involved singing/playing a really complicated work by Sasha Johnson-Manning
  • Invitation to collaborate with Withington Girls’ School, Manchester High, singing ‘Manchester Carols’ by Sasha Johnson-Manning at the RNCM
  • Performing in the AGGS Musicpresence of HRH Princess Anne – our newly commissioned school hymn was performed
  • Year 7 winners of an Olympic competition performed their song in Manchester (2012) at the opening ceremony of the East Manchester games.




Key Stage 3 – Year 7-9


African DrummingEach Y7 and Y8 pupil has three periods per cycle at this level. Topics covered include aspects of western and non–western classical music, popular music and jazz, and world music (Indonesia, India and Latin America).

Y9 pupils have two periods of music per cycle. Topics covered include composing and listening to film music, and composing ‘Counting Songs’ – MFL project.

We have 20 computers equipped with ‘Sibelius’ software which gives an introduction to music technology and assists with composition.

All girls in Key-stage 3 are encouraged to join Junior/Senior Choir and any of the many instrumental ensembles available.

Opera workshopOutreach Projects Which Link with the KS3 Curriculum

Year 7: Samba Drumming; attending a Hallé Orchestral Concert at the Bridgewater Hall.

Year 8: Opera workshop.

Year 9: Song writing workshop.




Key Stage 4 – GCSE

AGGS Music


Understanding Music (40%)

This unit is based on 4 areas of study, with 4 topic areas within each AOS:

AOS 1 Western Classical Tradition 1650-1910

AOS 2 Popular Music

AOS 3 Traditional Music

AOS 4 Western Classical Tradition since 1910

One Listening exam takes place in June of Y11 year. Externally assessed.


Performing Music (30%)

One solo and one ensemble are recorded in Y11 and the complete performance must last 4 minutes minimum.


Composing music (30%)

2 pieces of music are composed in Y10/Y11.

One in response to a brief sent in September Y11.

The other is a free composition.

2 pieces together last no less than 3 minutes.


Sibelius Software is used to write both compositions and student must submit a composing log also.

Our most recent set of results were 5A* 6A 1B in 2017.




Key Stage 5 – A Level

Full A level MUSIC (AQA) – AGGS pathway

Component 1: Appraising music (40%)


What’s assessed

  • Listening
  • Analysis
  • Contextual understanding

How it’s assessed

  • Exam paper with listening and written questions using excerpts of music.


  • Section A: Listening (56 marks)
  • Section B: Analysis (34 marks)
  • Section C: Essay (30 marks)

Areas of Study

Area of Study 1: Western Classical Tradition

  • Strand A: Baroque solo concerto
  • Strand B: The operas of Mozart
  • Strand C: The piano music of Chopin, Brahms and Grieg

Area of Study 4: Music for Theatre/Music for Media

Area of Study 5: Jazz


Component 2: Performance (35%)


What’s assessed

Music performance

How it’s assessed

Solo and/or ensemble performing as an instrumentalist, or vocalist and/or music production (via technology).


A minimum of ten minutes of performance in total is required (no more than twelve minutes).
This component will be externally marked by AQA examiners.


Component 3: Composition (25%)


What’s assessed


How it’s assessed

  • Composition 1: Composition to a brief (25 marks)
  • Composition 2: Free composition (25 marks)


A minimum of four and a half minutes of music in total is required (no more than six minutes).
This component is worth 25% of A-level marks (50 marks in total).

This component will be externally marked by AQA examiners. Work must be completed by 31 May and sent by post/uploaded to AQA.


* The AQA specification is taught.

* Both Sibelius and Cubase software are used in our keyboard suite.

Results Highlights:
2014 –  Saffiyah Keig-Momin, awarded an A grade, is now reading music at Somerville College, Oxford.
2016 – Harriet Wates awarded A* and reading Music at Manchester University.
2017 – 1A* 3A 1B – Miriam Blackburn studying voice at the RNCM, Beth James and Chi Yu Yu both studying music at University. Ruby Jones (A*) gained full mark on her composition module.


External resources:

TED talk about music