Music in Aquinas is flourishing.

We offer music for a double period to all key stage three pupils and have large numbers at both GCSE and A-level. Some of our students also continue with music to third level education and beyond.

There are currently two full-time classroom teachers, Ms. Gould [Head of Department] and Mrs. McWilliams, and eleven peripatetic tutors who offer private tuition arranged over a weekly rotating timetable.

Each lunchtime we organise extra-curricular activities which are very well attended. Each one, with the exception of our Chamber Choir, is open to any interested student and we simply ask for genuine enthusiasm and commitment.

Each December we hold a Carol Service in the Assembly Hall for our families and friends. The seasonal music is provided by some of our Aquinas ensembles with several soloists and is organised in conjunction with the RE department who narrate the Story of Christmas through readings, stories, and poems.

In April, every two years, we hold our extremely popular Spring Concert which again takes place in the School Assembly Hall. This is undoubtedly the highlight of our calendar as it gives us the opportunity to showcase all of the hard work that takes place in our music department and allows us to feature the incredible musical talent in Aquinas. The programme is vast and includes vocal and instrumental music from a very wide range of styles and genres. See the separate page for more details.

In October, also every two years, we perform our Musical Production in collaboration with The Drama Department. Past shows have included Calamity Jane, The Wizard of Oz, Hello Dolly and Fiddler on the Roof. The numbers of students involved are always vast, a testament to the enduring popularity of Musical Theatre in Aquinas and, as a result, some students have joined Musical Societies outside of school.

 

Music is offered to students in Aquinas during junior school, where they will learn about assorted styles of music, through listening and evaluating examples of this but also through composing in the style itself.

The students will also learn about a variety of instruments, ranging through the four sections of the orchestra. Recorder lessons are given to the younger students, where they will learn the basic skills of playing, and similarly the older juniors are taught basic piano skills, not only classically but in Blues and Jazz style as well.
At GCSE and A Level, students will be taught listening and appraising music in three different sections; secular, sacred and orchestral. As they progress through to A Level, they study more into the basis of the pieces and where these styles
of music came from. Composition takes up a large portion of students learning as well, using their own musical tuition and electronic notation software and MIDI file generators. Finally, students take part in Performance in their chosen instrument, at GCSE they must perform an ensemble and solo piece, and at A-Level they perform a solo piece.

In Aquinas, the Music department is run by very dedicated teachers, not only providing for classes but also running multiple extracurricular activities such as choirs and orchestras, during lunchtimes and after school. The excellent staff create a
very friendly environment for students at A-Level and are always welcome to students looking for help in their subject, and their knowledge and interest in the subject make for interesting and fun classes for students.

I enjoy Music as it gives an opportunity for expression and creativity, but also gives you knowledge on how to create this music. The history behind it is fascinating and gives a sense of understanding of how and why music is composed. The performance side also helps students gain confidence in their own ability and what they are capable of.

– Niamh MacDermott, Year 13