At Shireland CBSO Academy, we recognise Music as one of the highest-leverage and universally present sources of artistic and cultural capital in modern society. We will expose pupils to the best of past and present musical practice from around the world, both within and beyond the realms of their personal experience. In doing so, we seek to cultivate the next generation of musicians and music-lovers – pupils who appreciate and enjoy the phenomenon of listening to and participating in music. Our curriculum is designed to offer rigorous and cyclical exposure to powerful knowledge and disciplinary skill which will enable pupils to develop musical understanding sufficient to create, recreate, and discuss performances and compositions with confidence and awareness. Using a combination of curriculum music, peripatetic lessons, and membership of a diverse rage of ensembles and bands we aim to develop musical understanding to the point where further and higher musical education is accessible for all pupils.

The foundations for the skill and discipline required for musicianship at all levels are laid at KS3. Pupils will develop, through practical experience, musical understanding – knowledge of how music is ‘put together’, appreciation of how it affects individuals and communities, and joy in hearing and participating in musical practice. From the beginning of their musical journey pupils develop and use an expanding variety of subject-specific vocabulary, consistently practicing and using the devices to which this vocabulary refers until knowledge of and skill with are mastered. Pupils have the option to develop technique on a variety of classroom instruments and the voice, but are also encouraged to use their own learned instruments and at times technology, to facilitate meaningful contributions to progressively complex solo and ensemble performance and composition tasks. The styles and genres selected as the vehicles through which this musical understanding is developed are musically and culturally diverse, aiming to leave pupils with a lasting knowledge and appreciation of both music from their own cultures and from around the world.

At KS4, we offer pupils a pathway to a GCSE in Music. The Edexcel GCSE in Music is designed to provide a broad, rigorous, and engaging grounding in the musical disciplines of performance, composition, and analysis. Through investigation and analysis of eight set works from a variety of Western and non-Western, and modern and older backgrounds; pupils build on musical understanding gained at KS3 to develop knowledge of the interrelated musical elements and the musical vocabulary required to describe these and similar works with accuracy and clarity. Pupils will be taught to recognise and evaluate typical musical devices and gestures; and will use these techniques to create two imaginative and coherent original compositions – one with complete creative freedom and one in response to a set brief, evaluating the effectiveness of their creative choices against the stated intentions for each work. Finally, through our peripatetic teaching programme, the coaching of their class teacher, and personal practice, pupils will develop a high level of disciplinary skill on their specialist instrument (or their voice) and demonstrate this through performance as a solo and ensemble musician.

KS5 Music is where pupils begin to move from generalist musicians to specialists and are encouraged to develop their creative identity as well as explore their emotional, mental, and contextual relationship with Music. We are able to offer pupils an A-Level in Music and a BTEC Level 3 Extended Certificate in Sound Engineering.

The Edexcel A-Level in Music is designed for the thorough development of an artist, allowing them the widest possible range of musical options for post-18 study and career. Through the rigorous study of a diverse portfolio of set works, pupils cultivate a deep understanding of musical contexts and conventions and their development through time, as well as score reading at an advanced level. They will compose extended pieces of original music; confidently and creatively following and breaking musical conventions and critically evaluating the impact of their musical choices against the intentions of the composition. Finally, in consultation with a range of expert tutors they will develop sufficient technical and expressive control on an instrument, understanding of the canon, and performance craft to present an extended programme of music to a live audience.

The BTEC Level 3 Extended Certificate in Sound Engineering is a thorough induction into the process of recording, editing, and professionally presenting sound in studio, live, and MIDI contexts. Building on musical understanding gleaned at KS4, pupils will deepen their understanding of the creation of recorded music, focussing on Digital Audio Workstations, live sound, and studio recording and production. Through a range of scenarios and tasks based on common industry practices, pupils will assemble a portfolio of work demonstrating their mastery of these skills and, through reflection and evaluation, will develop independence and resilience – working with the mindset of a professional freelance producer. This qualification excellently prepares students for future study, apprenticeships and vocational work, and launching into the industry.