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.


Extra Curricular

Welcome to AGGS Music!

Enjoy making socially distanced music safely together this term.

We can’t offer all the extra-curricular music that usually takes place due to the distancing rules that are in place.

This term the Music Department will be leading a reduced programme of ensembles carefully distanced, so we can enjoy music making safely. Please see the music noticeboard outside room 10 and watch the electronic noticeboard/Teams for messages.

  Day Time Place Led by
Y7 orchestra Tuesday 12:45 – 13:15 Room 9 Mrs Boyd
Thursday 12.45 – 13.15 Room 9 Miss Wright
Other year group musical ensembles
These will be led by GCSE/A level students, but supervised by Ms Mayall
Y10 Ensemble Fri 12.30 – 1.00 Room 10  

Y11 Ensemble

Mon 12.30 – 1.00 Room 9 student led
Y13 Ensemble Thu 12.30 – 1.00 Room 10 student led
Other cross year group ensembles – 2m distanced
String Orchestra – invited players Fri 3.30 – 4.30 Main Hall Mrs Janes
Jazz Band Mon 3.30 – 4.45 Room 9 Mr Lodge
Chamber Choir Tue 3.30 – 4.30 Room 9 Ms Mayall
Saxophone Ensemble led remotely by Miss McCallum

Instrumental lessons will be taking place either in school as a face to face lesson, or remotely with the student zooming in from school for their wind/brass/singing lesson.

Please look on the music noticeboards near rooms 9 and 10 for details about rooms for instrumental lessons. Please also read the electronic noticeboards for further updates.


Watch our Virtual Christmas Concert which went live on 14th December 2020:


Follow AGGS Music Department online:

AGGS Music blog:




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