The Music syllabus at Birkdale is a progressive course in which foundations laid on one level are built upon in the next and it is taught by specialists from PP1 (Year 1) to U6 (Year 13)

The course is designed to give pupils who enter the School at the age of four all the stimulation, knowledge, encouragement and resources eventually to handle A Level Music in the Sixth Form, should they wish to do so.

All pupils will have certain skills such as the ability to listen critically and attentively, the ability to appreciate structure in music, the recognition of different sound qualities and intensities, an appreciation of the different types, styles, cultural aspects and uses of music, a grasp of technological applications and an ability to enjoy music, whether as a listener or a performer.

Most pupils will drop their formal study of Music by the age of fourteen, but by then they should have the confidence and ability to develop whatever instrumental, choral, technical and compositional abilities they possess in their own way and all pupils are encouraged to take some part in the wide range of extra-curricular activities we offer as a department.

The Lower School course (S1/Year 7 and S2/Year 8) focuses primarily on creative practical keyboard skills and boys will also learn how to use a sophisticated computer programme, Cubase, to record their work. We aim to enable all pupils to play a keyboard competently and confidently within two years.

Keyboard playing and composition go hand in hand. Over the two years, boys will learn how chords and melody link together, and how to use them within a structure. In S2 (Year 8) a wide variety of different musical styles will be covered, with a focus on the compositional techniques that go with these styles. These include Blues Music, Indian Raga, Ragtime and Theme and Variations.

Boys are able to opt to continue with Music into S3 (Year 9) and, as in earlier years, there is an emphasis on practical and creative work while continuing to look at a broad range of musical styles. Topics covered in S3 (Year 9) include, Popular Music (ranging from early jazz to the present day), Music in the Media (looking at the types of music you see in everyday life) as well as Programme Music and the use of modes.

Practical work involves writing and recording a pop song, composing music for adverts and cartoons, descriptive music and experimental composing.

There are many extra-curricular activities aimed primarily at the Lower School, including the Lower School Choir and Ensemble 123. Pupils are encouraged to join our senior ensembles as soon as they reach the required standard. There is a musical drama every two years, and all pupils are encouraged to participate fully in these productions.




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