The Music Department at Lewes Old Grammar School nurtures and celebrates the creativity and individuality of pupils expressed through music. In lessons, pupils develop their performing, composing and listening skills. Music lessons are a creative time of exploration and enquiry into the elements of music that apply to all styles and genres. Music is a compulsory subject in years 7 and 8 and optional from year 9 onwards. GCSE music is available to year 10 and 11 pupils, following the Edexcel syllabus. A Level music students follow the Eduqas syllabus.
The music curriculum delivered for Key Stage 3 draws upon multiple arts practices, with a particular cross-curricular connection with the Art Department, imagery and film. The intention is to broaden and deepen pupils’ understanding of the fundamental elements that apply to music and other art forms. GCSE and A Level pupils submit coursework in performing and composing as well as studying the set works specified by the examination board; This develops their listening, appraising and written skills to a high level.
All pupils benefit from a well-resourced department, containing keyboards, pianos, guitars, drum kits and a range of percussion instruments. A suite of iMac computers offers pupils the opportunity to compose and create music using software.
Performance opportunities are key to our thriving department. Concerts take place throughout the year at a variety of venues. We regularly perform at the Town Hall, St John sub Castro and St Michael’s Church. There are a range of extra-curricular instrumental ensembles and choirs for pupils to take part in. Rehearsals take place every week at lunchtimes and participants can expect to perform several times a year.
The orchestra is a mixed-ability ensemble for pupils from all years who play orchestral instruments, including saxophone and percussion. The orchestra is directed by the Head of Music. The Wind Band, directed by Mrs Leake, performs several times a year. The Rock Band, directed by Mr Barry Worley is an opportunity for guitarists (both acoustic and electric) and drummers to perform popular music.
Pupils from all years who enjoy singing may join VOX, a non-auditioning choir that meets every Tuesday for pupils in years 7-11. Each term’s rehearsals culminate in a performance, such as the annual Christmas Carol Concert, where all pupils sing together. VOX is directed by singing teaching Ms Rachel Munro.
There is also an auditioning choir, called Show Choir, which is an opportunity for experienced singers with a strong grasp of harmony singing to develop their skills. Under the direction of Ms Rachel Munro, Show Choir regularly performs at external events such as the South Coast Jazz Festival and Love Supreme festival, as well as giving concerts locally within Sussex. The choir often benefits from the expertise of visiting vocal coaches.
Opportunities exist for pupils to perform as soloists, either in assemblies or during instrumental and vocal ‘Showcase’ concerts. Every two years the Music Department stages a full musical theatre production, and previous productions have been:
- Little Shop of Horrors 2017
- The Sound of Music 2015
- Guys and Dolls 2013
- Grease 2011
- Bugsy Malone 2009
The Music School offers individual instrumental and vocal tuition throughout the school day from our team of visiting music teachers. All pupils in year 7 to 13 are eligible to apply for lessons, which are charged to parents on a termly basis.
Ms A Abis MA (Oxon) (Head of Music)
Mrs M Underhill BA (Hons)
Ms R Munro BA (Hons)
Independent visiting music staff:
Piano - Ms S Jarvis and Mrs N Fuller
Cello - Mr J Giddey
Saxophone/ Clarinet - Mrs A Leake
Flute - Ms S Goodwin
Drums - Mr S Firsht
Guitar - Mr B Worley
Singing - Ms E Rustige
Trumpet - Mr M Warnes
Violin/ Viola - Mr S Smith