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 full-time teachers and peripatetic 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.
Fun, Friendly and First Class
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 three full-time teachers and a music department administrator, together with twenty three 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.
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||Day, time||Location||Year Groups||Teacher in charge|
|Junior Percussion Ensemble||Monday 12.30pm||Hallam Hall||First to Fifth Year||Mr Landon|
|Chamber Choir||Monday 1pm||MU1 and MU2||Third Year to Sixth Form||Mr Dow and Mr Newlove|
|Big Band||Monday 4pm||MU1||All||Mr Evans|
|Chamber Choir||Monday 4pm||MU1 and MU2||Third Year to Sixth Form||Mr Dow and Mr Newlove|
|Theory Class||Tuesday 1pm||MU3||All||Mr Newlove|
|Brass Ensemble||Tuesday 1pm||Hallam Hall||All||Mrs Johnson|
|String Orchestra||Tuesday 1pm||MU1||All||Mrs Matthews|
|Cello Choir||Wednesday 8.30am||MU1||All||Mr Dow|
||Wednesday 8.30am||MU2||All||Mr Cashell|
|Concert Band||Wednesday 1pm||Hallam Hall||All||Mrs Matthews|
|Guitar Ensemble||Wednesday 1pm||MU3||All||Mr Anderson|
|Intermediate Percussion Ensemble||Wednesday 4pm||Hallam Hall||Third Year to Fifth Year||Mr Landon|
|Senior Percussion Ensemble||Wednesday 4.30pm||Hallam Hall||Third Year to Sixth Form||Mr Landon|
|Junior Jazz Band||Thursday 8.30am||MU2||First to Fifth Year||Mr Hamilton|
|Senior Jazz Band||Thursday 8.30am||MU1||Fifth Year and Sixth Form||Mr Hamilton|
|Boys Vocal Group||Thursday 8.40am (Autumn and Spring)||MU3||First and Second Year||Mrs Matthews|
|VOX||Thursday 1pm (Autumn and Spring)||MU2||First and Second Year||Mrs Matthews|
|Wind Orchestra||Thursday 1pm||Hallam Hall||All||Mr Newlove|
|First Orchestra||Thursday 4pm||Hallam Hall||All||Mr Dow|
|Junior Woodwind||Friday 8.30am||MU1||All||Mrs Walton|
|Second Orchestra||Friday 1pm||Hallam Hall||All||Mr Newlove|
|Chorus||Friday 4pm||Hallam Hall and MU1||All||Mr Dow and Mr Newlove|
|Junior Chamber Choir||Friday 4pm||W6||First and Second Year||Mrs Matthew|
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.
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.
The department offers pupils an impressive and varied range of performing opportunities through an extensive programme of evening concerts and after school recitals.
Below are a selection of some of these stunning performances. To see the full list, please visit the Music At SGS YouTube channel.
The Monday Afternoon Recital Series allows pupils to perform in an informal concert in the Hallam Hall.
The dates for the 2023-2024 Autumn term are 2nd October, 16th October, 13th November and 20th November.
These are free to attend and you can just turn up on the day.
Individual music lessons
Our team of highly qualified and committed visiting musicians provide specialist tuition, within a rotating timetable, to around 300 children each week. In addition there are around 250 private lessons taken outside school.
Parents that would like their son or daughter to start learning an instrument in school should fill out this form. For the 2023-2024 academic year, lessons are charged at £19 per half-hour lesson.
Visit the Peripatetic Music Staff page to see videos from some of the teachers.
Peripatetic music staff
|Instrument Taught||Name of teacher and qualifications|
|Violin||Miss V Clarke, BMus (Hons), PGDip RNCM
Mrs C Studman, BMus (RNCM), GRNCM
|Cello||Mr B Cashell, BA (Hons)|
|Double Bass||Miss R Nolan, BMus, MMus, PGCEi|
|Guitar||Mrs C Whittaker, GMus, PGDip (RNCM)|
|Electric/Classical Guitar||Mr P Anderson, BA (Hons), MMus|
|Flute||Mrs J Murray, ANSM, LRAM, Cert. Ed.|
|Oboe||Ms M Shibata, BMus (Hons), MMus MISM|
|Clarinet and Saxophone||Mr T Evans, MMus Solo, BMus (Hons), LRSM
Mrs N Walton, GRNCM, PPRNCM
|Bassoon/Flute||Miss S Nixon, BMus (Hons), PGDip, PPRNCM (Dist)|
|Horn||Mrs D Powell, BMus (Hons), PGCE|
|Trumpet/Cornet/Lower Brass||Mr A Dallimore, GRNCM, PPRNCM
Mr D Moore, BMus (Hons), CTABRSM
|Piano||Mr O Hamilton, BMus (Hons), MMus
Mr K Lee, MMus, CTABRSM
Miss E Owen, BMus (Hons) RNCM, DipABRSM
Mr M Paget, MMus (Hons), BMus (Hons), RNCM, DipABRSM
|Percussion||Mr M Landon, BMus (Hons)
Mr S Parkinson, HND, DipMus
|Singing||Mrs R Robinson, BMus, MMus, PGDip
Mrs C Mikic, BA (Hons 1st class), MA
Mrs K Lally, BMus (Hons 1st class)
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.
Subject time per 10-day cycle
- 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
From September 2016 Fourth and Fifth Year pupils have studied the Edexcel syllabus which comprises performing, composing and listening and appraising.
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.
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.
- Musicians welcome in festive period with a cracking Christmas Concert
- Musicians marvel at amazing Autumn Concert
- Hallé ensemble selections thrill talented musicians
- Musicians shine at Summer Concert
- Astounding collaborative production of Dido and Aeneas delights sell-out audiences
- Students sparkle at stunning Spring Concert
- Chamber Choir sing the praises of magical trip to Cambridge
- Winter Concert kicks off calendar year in style
- SGS community comes together for Carol Services
- Cracking Christmas Concert leaves audience feeling festive
- Audiences enjoy a musical journey at the Autumn Concert
- Masterful musicians secure places on national ensembles
- Musicians amaze audiences on action-packed London tour
- Magnificent musicians shine at Music Festival
- Leavers’ Concert provides perfect musical finale for departing Upper Sixth
- Musical talent shines bright at Summer Concert
- Spring Concert – an evening of musical magic
- Winter Concert wows audience
- Community comes together for Carol Services
- Musicians produce cracking performances at Christmas Concert
- Autumn Concert welcomes appreciative audience back to SGS
- Talented musicians secure Hallé selection
- Musicians impress with RNCM offers and exam distinctions
- Musical excellence on display
- Senior School Virtual Carol Service
- Hallé selection success for musicians
- Musicians impress with virtual performances
- Chamber Choir perform at Oxford University