a group of students sat in a circle playing their instruments

Our diverse range of musical and dramatic productions offer something for everyone, from novice thespians to international pianists. 

We aim to make music hands-on and fun, as we are firm believers that students learn best when they are motivated and enjoy the experiences they encounter. Most of our lessons are practical, with emphasis on learning through doing. In the Lower School, students work in a variety of groupings, but for most practical work, they are either in pairs or small groups. Through this interaction, students learn to experiment with others’ ideas, in addition to trying out their own. 

In Year 7, there is a wide range of ability, from those who have had little experience of music and have never played an instrument, to students who are Grade 8+. In order to address this, we ensure the tasks we set are open-ended so that students are able to work at their own level of ability. 

In Year 8, students focus on three main areas across the three terms: Music for Special Occasions (incorporating seasonal music related to Halloween and Christmas), Music for Dance (which includes a trip to see a ballet at the Birmingham Hippodrome) and The Blues

In Year 9, students study three main areas: Music and Art, From Stage and Screen and Composition

We expose our students to a wide variety of music throughout the Lower School to enable them to develop a love and understanding of music for different purposes, from different cultures and genres, and across different historical periods. Students can opt to take Music at GCSE and A Level.  

The GCSE Music course assesses students on their performance, composition, and appreciation of music. Students study a range of set works from different styles and periods, including Bach and Queen. They also prepare two performances, compose two pieces, and learn techniques such as extending melodies and structuring compositions. Prior knowledge of music theory is recommended. The GCSE Music is an ideal option for instrumentalists or vocalists who want to achieve a Grade 5 standard in music.

The A Level Music course offers a comprehensive approach to musical development. Students are assessed on their performance, composition, harmonisation skills, and knowledge of set works and unfamiliar music. The course consists of three components:

  • Performing: Students record a continuous performance of at least 8 minutes.
  • Composing: Students develop musical ideas and create compositions based on briefs or as free compositions, with a minimum duration of 4 minutes. They also learn to harmonise a chorale in the style of J.S. Bach.
  • Appraising: Students study set works from various areas and take a 2-hour listening examination. The examination includes questions related to set works, melodic/rhythmic dictation, and essay questions.

A Level Music is a rigorous and rewarding course that provides students with a deep understanding of music. It is an ideal option for students who are passionate about music and want to pursue a career in music or a related field.

Future Careers

Studying music at KEHS provides students with a strong foundation for further study and a variety of careers. Our students have been accepted to top music schools such as Oxford and Cambridge, and have received music scholarships and awards. We also have a strong track record of our students going on to become teachers, lecturers, and performers but there are also many other pathways that students would be equipped to pursue such as music production and management. 

Beyond the classroom

There is a vast array of orchestras, choirs and ensembles, with weekly rehearsals for regular concerts in the Ruddock Hall and Symphony Hall. Our three tiers of solo performance opportunities include Instrumental Evenings, Lunchtime Recitals and Performers’ Platforms, showcasing our talented musicians. These are staged throughout the year, usually with the boys of KES.

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