The Music Curriculum at Wilson's
Years 7 and 8
Each year just over half of the students who arrive in Year 7 at Wilson’s School are proficient in at least one instrument. Many have achieved success in classical music examinations; others are accomplished performers in other traditions from India and elsewhere. Still others arrive with next to no musical experience. Every one of these boys deserves music lessons that are challenging, creatively and intellectually stimulating and (not least) fun. Our curriculum is carefully designed to make that happen for every boy who enters a department classroom.
By the end of their first two years at Wilson’s, boys will have: performed blues music on keyboard, pop music on ukulele, Javanese Gamelan, African Drumming and Brazilian Samba; composed music of increasing sophistication using music technology, including a fanfare for the Royal Opera House and music for a BBC film; learnt to describe, analyse and evaluate music from all these styles and used this knowledge to inform their practical work.
Students in Years 9-11 study the Edexcel GCSE in Music as part of the school’s GCSEPlus programme. They analyse eight set works by leading composers in the Western Classical music tradition, popular styles and traditional music from numerous cultures. Students have regular opportunities to perform as soloists in a number of small ensembles, both in the classroom and in evening recitals in the Bowden Room or John Jenkins Hall. They produce at least one extended composition per term, submitting their best two as externally assessed coursework.
Students follow the A Level Edexcel course in the Sixth Form. Small classes receive support from an experienced team. Students study a wide range of music from some of the world’s leading composers from the last five centuries. Student compositions are workshopped by professional musicians, culminating in an annual Composers’ Evening. They record extended recitals of music at two Senior Musicians’ Evening—one each in the Autumn and Spring terms—which are highlights in the yearly musical calendar. There are regular trips to concerts, musicals, and opera in central London. Sixth formers play a leading role in the school’s co-curricular life, with many directing ensembles or teaching small groups of younger students.