The John Henry Newman School Music department is a vibrant department where pupils and students learn how to play, listen to and read music.  We have state of the art equipment for students to be using and we promote the use of Garageband, Logic 10 and Sibelius software to support and further musical development.  We have strong links with the Hertfordshire County Music Service and we are able to offer specialist tuition on over 10 instruments.  In Year 8 we follow the Musical Futures model of encouraging independent peer learning as pupils thrive in a practical setting to learn their chosen pieces of music. 

In January 2016 we relocated into our purpose built performing arts building. The department is well equipped and resourced with four full time members of staff and one part-time music technology teacher. We have the luxury of three purpose-built classroom spaces which consist of a large recital room and two mac suites. In addition to these teaching spaces we have a recording studio, four musical futures rooms that are used as breakout spaces for all year groups and a further 4 practice rooms for individual and group tuition by a wide range of peripatetic teachers. We have an excellent team of peripatetic staff who offer private tuition on piano, flute, clarinet, saxophone, brass, violin, voice, guitar, bass and drums.


Music plays such a crucial role in the life of the school, supporting both public and liturgical events. We have a vast range of extra-curricular groups for example, Chamber Choir, Main Choir, Windband, String Group and Jazz Band. Student Leadership plays a very crucial role in events such as Jazz Nights and school productions. Students are encouraged to perform throughout the year at informal lunchtime events, at recital evenings and at the more formal school concerts. Every other year our music department go on tour to Europe. Over the years Austria, Switzerland, Spain, Italy, Holland, Czech Republich, Germany, Belgium and Hungary have hosted our ensembles for concert tours. 


Pupils are introduced and encouraged to develop their skills in relation to the curriculum requirements of Music. Through the exploration of music in the classical, popular and world music genres, skills such as listening, composing, analysing and performing are explored through collaborative situations. Pupils experience Music by working in pairs on keyboard and computer equipment, in groups using a variety of instruments and through whole class opportunities with singing and listening. Assessment is carried out at each module through a variety of methods including verbal feedback, peer and self-assessment and through the relevant steps of progress.

KS3 Steps of Progress


Throughout Key Stage 4, pupils are preparing for the OCR GCSE examination (J536). The main focus of study and assessment requires pupils to demonstrate their knowledge of music through performance, compositional and analytical skills. Assessment is through a variety of methods, with the performance and compositional elements accounting for 60% of the final GCSE grade. The remaining 40% is assessed via a timed listening examination in which pupils are tested aurally on their knowledge and understanding of a variety of different styles of music. The listening course is a varied course, comprising of pop conventions through time, world music, film music and the classical concerto.

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Students are offered two courses at Key Stage 5, namely the GCE course at AS (H143) and A Level (H543) with OCR and the very popular BTEC Vocational Music course at Level 3 Diploma.

view course link - a level
view course link - btec