Emanuel has a long tradition of music inside and outside the classroom.

We firmly believe that learning an instrument and taking part in ensembles and choirs are valuable in developing the whole individual, involving teamwork, self-expression and creativity.

Curricular Music Years 7-9

All pupils study Music as part of the curriculum. In Year 7, pupils are taught in whole class groups with one double lesson each week. In Years 8 and 9 pupils are taught in half-class groups of mixed ability with one double lesson each week.

Projects at Key Stage 3 are usually completed each half term. The emphasis is on practical music-making wherever possible – ‘learning by doing’ – with differentiation to cater for all levels of ability. Topics include classical, jazz and world music, with ongoing assessment of pupils’ progress through performing, composing and appraising.

GCSE Music

Edexcel GCSE Music is taught as a two-year course to one or two groups (typically 14–25 pupils per year) of equal ability, both groups working with their teacher on concurrent topics. Pupils are taught the three areas of performing, composing and listening across the various areas of study. Solo and ensemble performing takes place in lessons and chamber concerts; composition is taught in various styles; and set works (analysed through various activities) cover a broad spectrum, from pop and jazz, film music, classical, folk and various ‘world’ music styles.

The vast majority of GCSE Music grades are awarded at A*/B, with usually well over 70% getting A*/A grades.

A level Music

At A level, we follow a parallel tripartite path through academic studies in Western Classical music. Typically we have about 8–12 Music students in the Sixth Form. For Edexcel A level Music, students take units covering performance, composition (including harmony), aural and history/analysis. Lesson content reflects the diverse range of requirements, with set works spanning a wealth of musical styles and traditions. Most of our A level students will have gained A*-B in Music at GCSE.

All Sixth Form musicians are expected to involve themselves fully in the musical life of the school and there are various opportunities for them to perform in and direct their own instrumental and choral groups. Both composition and performance are examined as coursework submitted towards the end of the two-year course.

The curriculum is supported through various outings and visits including trips to ENO, The Royal Opera House, Gamelan Workshop at the Southbank, LSO and LPO A Level Seminars, as well as having close links with Voces8 who regularly hold vocal workshops in school.

Several of our students go on to study Music at higher education with recent successes including choral scholarships to Cambridge, scholarships to the Royal Academy of Music, places at the Royal Welsh Conservatoire of Music, Trinity College of Music and Durham to name a few.

Co-curricular music

Music is an important part of the school’s outreach and co-curricular life. The choir regularly sings Evensong at famous churches and cathedrals including St Paul’s Cathedral and Westminster Abbey. It also tours regularly, with past destinations including Lithuania, Malta, Prague and Krakow. ECHO, a small vocal ensemble, takes part in tours and concerts and has sung at St. Martin’s-in-the-Fields. They are regularly coached by and work with the international singing ensemble Voces8. Meanwhile, Roar!, the Lower School choir, is extremely popular; click here to see a remote rendition of Lorde’s ‘Royals’ during the 2020 Covid-19 crisis.

The annual house music competition gives musicians a chance to prove their worth in the keenly fought house competitions and this culminates in the house choir competition, where even the heads of houses have to sing.

Emanuel encourages pupils to enjoy music for life.

Career guidance for the music industry

Many students who study A level Music at Emanuel go on to pursue a career in the music industry. This includes reading academic music at universities such as Oxbridge, as well as applications for some of the UK’s leading classical and jazz conservatoires. Students are given regular interview and audition practice with staff in the Music department, while the extraordinary breadth of the music calendar affords students the opportunity to attend a range concerts, work alongside professional musicians and perform in some of the finest music venues in London. Each year, the Music department organises a careers’ evening hosted by a range of industry experts, giving our pupils the chance to discover how best to prepare themselves for a career in the music industry.

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