Music Department Frequently Asked Questions

How many music teachers are there?

One. Me. Mr Stephen Henderson.

How many music lessons do students have each week?

One 50 minute lesson a week at Key Stage 3 and three 50 minute lessons at Key Stage 4

How many students in each class?

30 at Key Stage 3 in mixed ability groups.

What GCSE board do you do?


How many students take GCSE music?

Between 19 in Year 10 and 17 in Year 11. About 15% of the cohort. Well above the national average. These groups are also mixed ability.

What are the GCSE results in music like?

Historically they have always been very good, above national average. Last year the students achieved 100% pass, 80% Grade 5+, 60% Grade 8 and 9 and 40% Grade 9

What happens in lessons?

Students learn about music by engaging practically in listening, performing and composing activities.

Do you teach music theory?

Not as such. Not for its own sake. Theory is brought in and used as necessary following needs in the lessons. 

What is your homework policy?

There is no class homework at Key Stage 3, though all students are encouraged to learn and practice a musical instrument and take part in extracurricular activities. GCSE students have one hour per week and are expected to practise their instrument or voice regularly.

Can you learn an instrument?

Yes. We offer lessons in flute, clarinet, saxophone, violin, viola, cello, piano, keyboard, guitar (traditional and contemporary), drum kit and singing.

Who teaches these lessons?

We have visiting teachers from Oxfordshire County Music Service, Berkshire Maestros as well as three private teachers.

Do students have to miss school lessons to learn an instrument?

Yes. However this is done on a rotation basis so that students don’t miss the same lesson every week.

How much do lessons cost?

It varies depending on provider, lesson length and whether the lesson is individual or in a group. Further details are available from the Head of Music

What extracurricular activities are offered?

We have regular orchestras and choirs. The number depends on current student needs. A Junior and Senior Orchestra has run as well Junior, Senior and Boys Choirs. The department gives one performance every half term. These range from smaller scale chamber concerts such as Piano and Flute Soirees to larger scale showcase Easter and Summer Concerts to the Christmas Extravaganza – a collaboration with drama, dance and gymnastics.

We have performed to The Woodcote WI, The Arts Society in Goring and at the reopening of Pangbourne Library

Do you do productions?

Since I have been here we have performed the musicals Little Shop of Horrors and Joseph. The music department has also been involved in collaboration with the drama department in productions of A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Snow Dragons.

Do you do trips?

We have been to concerts at the Hexagon, Reading and the Sheldonian Theatre, Oxford.

Do you do workshops?

We have taken part in workshops in Balinese Gamelan, African Drumming, Samba, Steel Pans. Music Technology and The Bate Collection at The University of Oxford.

Do you offer Music Technology?

Yes. All students do one term of music technology in each year of Key Stage 3. They learn to compose, edit and mixdown music using Cubase. The music room has 12 Digital Audio workstations. Students are able to use this facility for their compositions at GCSE as well as use of an 8 track recording studio.

What facilities does the Music Department have?

One large teaching room (equipped with an 8 track PA system, a top range Yamaha acoustic piano, keyboards, an acoustic drum kit and 12 DAWs), four practice rooms (all equipped with an acoustic piano and a keyboard – one with an electric drum kit), a recording studio and plenty of storage for the large range of instruments available to the students for their work (xylophones, metallophones, glockenspiels, a variety of drums including bongos, tamborim, dohl, tabla and djembe, and a large range of non-tuned latin percussion instruments)

How can I help my child with music?

Encourage your child to listen to a wide range of music with an open mind. Support any keenness to learn a musical instrument and encourage them to take part in choirs, orchestras, concerts and productions.