Welcome to AGGS Music!

Our vision:

The Music Department at AGGS is a diverse and vibrant place in which students of all abilities and backgrounds are celebrated and can flourish musically and with independence.

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 three lessons per cycle in Y7 and Y8 and 2 lessons per cycle in Y9. The subject then becomes optional at GCSE and A Level.

Centenary Concert - Bridgewater Hall, 2010

Concerts take place each term at school and concerts typically showcase approximately 200 students performing. Our choirs and orchestras have performed with other schools and we have occasionally commissioned music from a variety of composers, for example on School Hymn, set to student lyrics.

In the past, we have organised 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’.


Extra Curricular

2021 – 22 Extracurricular Music

Music making across year groups is now fully back at AGGS!

During the pandemic, the Music department offered year-group led ensembles and rehearsed a socially distanced Jazz Band, Chamber Choir and String Orchestra. We were very pleased to showcase a fully online Christmas Concert and Summer Serenade with donations going to the charity Help Musicians.

  Day Time Place Led by
Ukulele Band Mon 12.30 – 13.00 Room 10  
GCSE/A level composition help Mon 12.30 – 13.00 Room 9 Ms Mayall
Jazz Band Mon 15.30 – 16:45 Room 9 or
Main Hall if free
Mr Lodge
Saxophone Ensemble Tue 12.30 – 13.00 Room 10 Miss McCallum
Junior Choir (Y7, 8 and 9) Tue 12.30 – 13.10 Church Hall Mrs Boyd
Recorder Ensemble Tue 12.30 – 13.00 Room 10 Year 11
Chamber Choir (Y9 and above) Tue 15.30 – 16.30 Main Hall Ms Mayall
Flute Ensemble Wed 12.30 – 13.00 Room 10 Year 11
First Orchestra Wed 15.30 – 16.30 Main Hall Ms Mayall
Folk Band Wed 12.30 – 13.00 Room 10 Year 11
Second Orchestra Thu 12.30 – 13.10 Room 9 Miss Wright
‘Choral Reef’ vocal group  Thu 1.00 – 1.30 Room 10 Student led
Wind Band Fri 12.30 – 13.00 Room 9 Year 11
Junior Strings Fri 12.30 – 13.00 Room 10  Year 12
Brass Ensemble Fri 13.00 – 13.25 Room 9 Year 11
String Orchestra Fri 15.30 – 16:30 Main Hall Mrs Janes
Guitar Ensemble Fri 13.00 – 13.25 Room 10 Student Led
  Please see Ms Mayall if you would like to form a new student-led music ensemble

Instrumental lessons are now all taking place as face to face lessons.


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


Follow AGGS Music Department online:

AGGS Music News:



Key Stage 3 – Year 7-9


Y7 Brass Workshop

Each 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 analysing and composing pop songs.

We have 20 computers equipped with ‘Sibelius’ software and Music scores which gives an introduction to music technology and assists with composition. All students use the Music Listening Software ‘Focus on Sound’ to support their learning.

All students in Key-stage 3 are encouraged to join Junior/Senior Choir and any of the many instrumental ensembles available. Many students in Y10 and above lead Student Ensembles.

Opera Workshop

Y8 Opera Workshop

Outreach Projects Which Link with the KS3 Curriculum

Year 7: 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. GCSE and A-Level students use ‘I Can Compose’ software which comprehensively supports their composing learning.




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


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 Musescore software are used in our keyboard suite. Focus on sound and landscape are used extensively by students to support their learning.

* GCSE and A-Level students use ‘I Can Compose’ software which comprehensively supports their composing learning.

To see our latest exam results please go to our results area on the website or click here.

External resources:

TED talk about music