At Kirkham Grammar School we aim to provide the opportunity for each pupil to develop their own musicianship, providing a range of opportunities for both performance and composition. We aim to enable pupils to listen to a wide range of musical styles and to develop an understanding of world music.  

We believe that music plays a central part in life and that a deeper understanding of music can help deepen the love of music for the individual. ICT plays a central part in our work, with electronic keyboards being used throughout the school and PCs and Macs running Sibelius 8 software being used extensively. 

Lower School

At Kirkham Grammar School our work is centred on musical contexts and courses that bring together the three elements of listening, composing and performing.

Middle School

Board: AQA

The three elements covered in the Lower School (listening, composing, performing) are built upon in GCSE, with pupils undertaking listening work based upon four diverse genres of music.  A selection of compositional tasks is coupled with performing as a soloist and as an ensemble for final assessment.

Senior School

Board: AQA 

A Level Music continues to build upon the three elements covered throughout GCSE (listening, composing and performing) with pupils undertaking listening work based upon the study of the Western Classical Tradition 1650 - 1910 and a choice of two areas of study.  A selection of compositional and theoretical options is then coupled with a range of performing opportunities.


Musical activities include the Concert Band, Orchestra, Swing Band, String Group and Flute Group.  Pupils from the First Year upwards may join the School Choir.  

There are numerous informal music ensembles in school including the Soprano Group.  

The school has an annual series of formal concerts, which are held in Summerlee Hall, as well as Year Concerts and a series of monthly lunchtime Coffee Concerts that are held in the Recital Hall.  

Visits to concerts are organised and members of the Fourth and Fifth Year and Sixth Form groups regularly visit the BBC in Manchester for Meet the Phil sessions.  

Opportunities exist for pupils to perform as part of ensembles outside of school, which includes local choral societies, Band of the King's Division, local brass bands, as well as county youth ensembles and those of the RLPO and Hallé orchestras.

Sixth Form

Music at Kirkham Grammar School is taught in small groups with a strong emphasis being placed on practical work.

Pupils are encouraged to develop their own particular interests and skills not only in timetabled periods but also by participating in concerts and musical activities in and out of school.

The Course

The AQA course consists of three components:    

  • Appraising Music
  • Performance
  • Composition

Component 1:  Appraising Music
Pupils must listen, analyse and contextualise using excerpts of music from classical, contemporary, jazz, pop and theatre, leading to an examination paper with listening and written questions.  40% of A Level mark.

Component 2:  Performance
A performance, solo and/or ensemble lasting 10-12 minutes.  A wide choice is given plus the option of a technology-based ensemble.  35% of A Level mark.

Component 3:  Composition
This is a coursework unit, and is a response to a brief and a free composition.  Each should last 4½-6 minutes.  25% of A Level mark.

Pupils who decide to study Music at A Level should have a good grade in GCSE Music or have passed Associated Board Grade VI Practical examination.


A Level Music is a requirement for all music courses at university or music conservatoires and is a well-respected qualification in itself.  It can also be combined effectively with both science and arts subjects and is also accepted by universities as an academic qualification to read other subjects. Pathways into the main industry are many and varied.  You could train as a professional musician, compose, sing at the Royal Opera House, become a singer songwriter for movie soundtracks, a music therapist, a session musician, go into music production or music technology and much more.

Music Practices




Flute Group Monday 12:45 pm Recital Hall
Concert Band Wednesday 12:45 pm Recital Hall
Orchestra Thursday 12:45 pm Recital Hall
String Group Friday 12:45 pm Recital Hall
Swing Band Friday 1.15 pm Recital Hall
Soprano Group Friday 10:20 am Recital Hall

Choir Practices



Choir Tuesday 12:45 pm Recital Hall
Choir Wednesday 8:45 am Recital Hall
Music Theory Monday 1:15 pm E9

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