‘Music begins where the possibilities of language ends.’ Jean Sibelius



Music is everywhere, so why not get to know how it works?   Studying music at The Misbourne will immerse you in the mechanics of composing, performing, theory and listening.  All students are trained in how to sing, play and write music at all stages of our music courses.  There are plenty of opportunities to have instrument lessons, take part in our music clubs or use music technology, and get excited about making great sounds and great music!


Key Stage 3 (Years 7, 8 and 9)

In Year 7 students undertake a baseline test in singing and musical understanding to devise a fair and challenging target for their progress through Key Stage 3. They study the elements of music, build up keyboard playing skills, explore the instruments of the orchestra, music from around the world, develop skills for playing in a band and compose music using different textures and layers.

In Year 8 students explore song writing, learn how chords work in pop music, build up guitar playing skills, The 12 Bar Blues, and the world of musical theatre.

In Year 9 students are immersed in the Musical Futures Programme, a style of informal learning based on how pop and rock musicians learn music.  They are trained in all the various band instruments, from drums to electric guitar, and create their own versions of music that is given to them and music of their own choice.  They also study the music of film and television, improvising and create their own radio shows.

Key Stage 4 (Years 10 and 11)

BTEC Music (Level 2 Award) is a more vocational, coursework based approach that looks in depth at the role of music in society, putting on musical events and training in music technology and sound recording, in addition to opportunities to learn about music history and further develop performing skills.  It offers a route toward further vocational music training in Years 12 and 13, including The Rock School Music Practionner Subsidiary Diploma that offers a more specialised training in musical performance and music technology.  Students are expected to be budding performers or music technologists but are not necessarily expected to deal with the same level of musical notation and theory as in GCSE Music, and potential options in further education and the music industry include arts management and sound engineering.

Key Stage 5 (Years 12 and 13)

A Level/ A Level Equivalent

In Year 12 students study RSL Music Practionner Level 3 Subsidiary Diploma

RSL Music Subsidiary Diploma continues the more vocational, coursework based approach with in depth study into further performing skills. It is career focused and leads toward further study and careers in performing, arts management, and allows students to develop their Performance skills

Department Staff

  • Mrs Appleyard
  • Mr Dwight
  • Mr Ingram
  • Mrs Nash

Clubs, Excursions, Trips and other interesting projects

Working with our colleagues in the Performing Arts Curriculum Area, we offer an exciting and busy programme of clubs, trips and instrumental tuition.

Clubs - Our programme of music clubs is continually evolving to engage as many of our budding young musicians as possible and utilising the skills of our music teachers and older students.   Current clubs include Mizband, Rock Band, Young Voices, and Funktion Band which also plays in our school productions.   We have a well-equipped recording studio and suite of digital audio workstations operating Cubase and Sibelius software.  We have a well-established concert programme involving lunchtime concerts, end of term evening concerts and student-led Battle of the Band competitions.

Trips - We aim to provide regular trips which are open to all students, which include musicals, concerts and operas.  Recent trips include Garsington Opera, Matilida and School of Rock.  We also aim to provide older students with career-related opportunities with visiting speakers and external visits.

Instrumental Tuition - Any Misbourne student can apply to undertake one-to-one or small group tuition on one or more musical instruments and this offers a strong alternative to sourcing private musical tuition out of school.  Lessons take place during 20 or 30 minutes of curriculum time and students are expected to practice between lessons and contribute toward school and, if given the opportunity, county ensembles.  There is normally a termly charge to parents for this tuition and more information can be requested by contacting the school or any of the music staff.

Homework and Assignments


Homework is not part of the Performing Arts programme for Key Stage 3. We do stress the importance of instrumental tuition, taking part in enrichment activities, and the student’s own independent/group exploration of the subject as it is very valuable. Students are given opportunities to do this by their teacher, and are encouraged to use practice rooms during break, lunch and afterschool where available.


Up to 30 minutes set per lesson where relevant but guided by course demands or, earlier in courses, to adequately develop independent research or practice skills and discipline of independent work. Assignment tasks should be put on to SMHW but with a lengthy working period.

Tasks should include:

  • Regular practice (min 3 times a week)
  • Rehearsal logs and practice diaries
  • Group rehearsals
  • Line learning
  • Research
  • To attend live music and theatre
  • Personal targets and evaluations


Up to 1 hour set per lesson were relevant but guided by course demands and fostering an atmosphere where students see the teacher work set as their starting point rather than the end point of independent study and exploration of their subjects.  Assignment tasks should be put on to SMHW but with a lengthy working period.

Tasks should include:

  • Regular practice (min 3 times a week)
  • Rehearsal logs and practice diaries
  • Group rehearsals
  • Line learning
  • Research
  • To attend live music and theatre

Personal targets and evaluations

Past Examination Results - Summer 2018

96% Distinction* - Pass BTEC Level 1/ 2 First Award Music

100% Distinction * Level 3 Music Subsidiary Diploma