Music

Stockport Grammar School provides exceptional musical opportunities for every child. We offer a diverse and inclusive programme of activities, through our curriculum and extensive co-curricular programme . All pupils are given the opportunity to learn instruments with an outstanding team of music staff. In addition to being inclusive, we aspire to the highest level of elite music-making in our choirs, bands and orchestras. We have a significant number of pupils that have attained grade 8 and beyond. Many of our pupils also participate in regional and national music ensembles and at the Junior Royal Northern College of Music. A large number of former pupils have gone on to study Music at Oxbridge, UK conservatoires and other leading universities and pursue successful careers in music.

The activities on offer are intended to provide access for all pupils, including total beginners, in all areas of music and also pathways into music careers for those with outstanding ability. We have a large stock of musical instruments and an instrumental tuition scheme that enables all First Year pupils to have introductory lessons on instruments ranging from oboe, clarinet, saxophone, flute, bassoon, cello and double bass to the full range of brass instruments.

Aims

We aim to:

  • ensure that Music at Stockport Grammar School is lively, varied and exciting
  • capture the interest and develop the skills of all pupils
  • offer playing and singing of an appropriately high standard to over one third of the school

Staff and facilities

The music staff currently consists of two full-time teachers, two part-time teachers and a music department administrator, together with twenty four visiting peripatetic staff on all the mainstream instruments as well as instruments such as the jazz piano and electric guitar.

There is enthusiastic support from other subject teachers, many of whom take part in school music ensembles. There are three main teaching/rehearsal rooms as well as the Hallam Hall and 11 smaller practice rooms. The department has excellent computer facilities including midi keyboards and software such as Cubase and Sibelius 7.

A number of instruments, particularly large and expensive ones, are often available for loan or use in lessons and practices. There is an impressive range of percussion and keyboard instruments, including a three-manual Copeman Hart organ in the main hall and a Yamaha C8 grand piano in the Hallam Hall.


Subject time per 10-day scycle

  • Lower school – two lessons with additional homework
  • GCSE – five lessons with two hours of homework
  • A-level – ten lessons with additional homework

Do I have to do Music?

Music is a part of every child’s life in the school. For the first two years, all pupils have a well-structured musical education. In the First Year, pupils have the opportunity to try a large number of orchestral instruments with specialist teachers and all perform in a concert at the end of the year on a mainstream instrument. In the Second Year, each form is divided into two sets allowing pupils to work at greater depth and speed. Music becomes an optional subject in the Third Year with three lessons per fortnight allowing scope for more extensive study and preparation for GCSE.


Music further up the school

GCSE

From September 2016 Fourth and Fifth Year pupils have studied the Edexcel syllabus which comprises performing, composing and listening and appraising.

A-level

At A-level we follow the Edexcel syllabus, which we believe offers the best course, both for aspiring professional musicians and for those who will specialise in other fields. A-level musicians require a good ear, sound practical skills and an enquiring musical mind reflected in wide performance and listening experience outside lessons.

Please consult the Sixth Form Handbook (pdf) for further information.


Ensembles

The four main areas of musical ensemble are choirs, orchestras, wind bands and chamber music groups, all of which are formed according to age and experience. The regular extracurricular programme is set out in the table below. In addition to the groups listed there are also school musicals with intensive rehearsal schedules as well as aural and theory classes.

Activity Venue Day and time Staff
Concert Band Hallam Hall Monday 1:00 Mr Kennedy
Big Band MU1 Monday 3:50 Mr Evans
Chamber Music Music Department Monday 3:50 Mr Kennedy
MARS recitals Hallam Hall Monday 3:50 Mr Kennedy
Chamber Choir MU1 Tuesday 1:00 Mr Dow and Mrs Short
Jazz Band MU6 Tuesday 3:50 Mr Hamilton
Second Orchestra Hallam Hall Tuesday 3:50 Mrs Short
Saxophone Quartet Music Department Wednesday 12:30 Mr Kennedy
Flute Ensemble Music Department Wednesday 12:30 Mr Kennedy
Beginner Brass Ensemble MU4 Wednesday 1:00 Mr Moore
Beginner Woodwind MU2 Wednesday 1:00 Miss Lyons
Junior Percussion Ensemble Hallam Hall Wednesday 1:00 Mr Landon
Brass Ensemble MU1 Wednesday 1:00 Mrs Johnson
Theory Class MU3 Wednesday 1:00  
Senior Percussion Ensemble Hallam Hall Wednesday 3:50 Mr Landon
Chamber Music  Music Department Wednesday 3:50 Mr Kennedy
Boys’ Vocal Group  MU1 Thursday 8:30  Mrs Matthews
VOX  MU2 Thursday 12:30 Mrs Matthews
Wind Orchestra Hallam Hall Thursday 1:00 Mr Kennedy
First Orchestra  Hallam Hall Thursday 3:50 Mr Dow
Junior Band Hallam Hall Friday 1:00 Mr Kennedy
Guitar Ensemble MU3 Friday 1:00 Mr Roberts
String Orchestra MU2 Friday 1:00 Mrs Matthews
Junior Chamber Choir W7 Friday 3:50 Mrs Matthews
Chorus MU1 & Hallam Hall Friday 3:50 Mr Dow and Mr Kennedy

Performances

The department offers an impressive and varied range of performing opportunities through an extensive programme of evening concerts and lunchtime recitals within school and high profile appearances in the Manchester area.

In recent years, events have included concerts at the Royal Northern College of Music, the Bridgewater Hall, Manchester Cathedral and St George’s Church, Stockport. There have been recent tours of Belgium, Salzburg, Barcelona, Rhineland in Germany, Lake Garda and Venice and the Lake District, including performances in distinguished venues such as the cathedrals of Brussels, Bruges, Cologne, Ghent, Salzburg and St. Marks’ Venice and Keswick’s Theatre by the Lake.

Choir at the Spring Concert

Choir at the Spring Concert

The school chamber choir has also been featured regularly on the BBC Radio 4 Daily Service programme. There is a competitive music festival each year judged by a distinguished adjudicator, and opportunities exist for pupils to take part in musicals, such as the recent outstanding productions of Guys and Dolls, Wizard of Oz, Fiddler on the Roof and Les Misérables, Oliver and Godspell The school has also recorded a CD featuring the chamber choir, first orchestra, wind orchestra and big band.

We have had many representatives in local musical ensembles including the Hallé Youth Orchestra, the Hallé Youth Choir and the Kinder Children’s Choir. Several of our pupils have participated in national ensembles: National Youth Orchestra, National Children’s Orchestra, National Children’s Choir and the National Youth Choir.


Individual music lessons

Our team of highly qualified and committed visiting musicians provide specialist tuition, within a rotating timetable, to around 200 children each week. In addition there are around 250 private lessons taken outside school.

Peripatetic music staff

Instrument Taught Name of teacher and qualifications
Violin Mrs C Studman, BMus (RNCM), GRNCM
Miss V Clarke (PGDip RNCM, BMus (Hons) (Junior School) 
Violin/Viola Mr T Crooks, BMus (Hons), MPhil(RNCM)
Cello Mr B Cashell, BA (Hons)
Double Bass Miss G Ashcroft, BMus (Hons) PgDip RNCM 
Guitar/Electric Guitar Mr R Roberts, BMus (Hons), PGCE
Mrs C Whittaker, GMus, PG (RNCM)
Flute Mrs J Murray, ANSM, LRAM, Cert. Ed.
Miss F Slominska, BMus (Hons (1st Class)), PPRNCM
Oboe Miss C Swain, GRNCM, PPRNCM
Clarinet Mrs A McNaught, GMus (RNCM), PGdip
Saxophone Mr T Evans, MMus Solo, BMus (Hons) LRSM
Miss J Lyons, BMus (Hons), PPRNCM
Bassoon/Flute Miss S Nixon, BMus (Hons), PGdip, PPRNCM (Dist) 
Trumpet/Cornet/Lower Brass Mr A Dallimore, GRNCM, PPRNCM
Mr D Moore, BMus (Hons), CTABRSM
Piano Mr K Lee, MMus,CTABRSM
Mr O Hamilton, BMus (Hons), MMus
Mrs J Katovsky, BA (Junior School)
Mrs H Birkett, BA (Junior School)
Percussion Mr M Landon, BMus (Hons)
Singing Mr A McCall, BMus
Miss K Moore, BMus (Hons 1st class)
Mr O Mills, BA (Hons) (Junior School)

Scholarships and bursaries

Music bursaries providing free lessons for all or part of a pupil’s school career may be available. They are offered to existing pupils who show particular aptitude and potential and who are willing to consider instruments which are less popular but have significant roles in band or orchestra.

In addition two 25% fee music scholarships are available each year for students who show outstanding musical potential.


What can my musical studies lead to?

Preparation for associated board practical and theory examinations culminates in a termly visit by an examiner to the school; in recent years, 17 of our students have reached distinction level at grade eight.

A number of our recent leavers are studying music at university or conservatoire, including Oxford, Cambridge and the Royal Northern College of Music.


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