Subject Overview

Music at Waddesdon is a thriving, primarily practical subject that enables students to express themselves through a variety of performing, composing and appraising activities. We believe that music learning is at its best when young people are making music on instruments or using music technology, and when their existing passion for music is reflected and built upon in the classroom.


Performance plays a vital role in the school life through regular concerts, gigs and shows. The department provides music in assembly three times a week and pupils have the opportunity to audition for and perform in events such as the School Music, the Big Gig and our summer Performing Arts Festival, WaddFest. We have a very active YouTube channel where you’ll find performances and recordings of original music written by Waddesdon Music students, as well as cover versions within a range of musical styles.

Each year the Performing Arts team produce an annual musical, including live music, acting and dance. Previous shows have included Little Shop of Horrors, Mary Poppins Jr., High School Musical, Annie, We Will Rock You, Oliver, Cats and Guys & Dolls.

Each year, the Music and Drama departments produce an annual musical and previous shows have included Annie, Godspell, High School Musical, We Will Rock You, Oliver, Cats, Guys and Dolls. The 2018 show is Mary Poppins.

 Teaching Aims and Objectives

Programmes of study aim to encourage students to become rounded musicians by:
  • developing musical skills in order to connect with others and express themselves
  • developing an understanding of how sounds can be organised
  • developing aural awareness
  • developing motor skills through playing instruments
  • increasing awareness of other cultures through studying a wide range of musical styles
Course Information

Students follow a broad Music course across Key Stage 3 to develop a range of musical skills through performance, composition and appraising. Topics include: the Elements of Music (Samba), Band Skills (Musical Futures), The Story of Western Art Music, Musical Theatre, Reggae, Blues, Dance Music/Club Dance, Funk, Film Music & Leitmotifs, Songwriting, and Jazz.

Music is a popular subject at GCSE level and students follow the OCR syllabus. GCSE students are set homework to meet the demands of the course and are expected to practise their instrument daily in order to meet the requirements for the performance elements of the course . Usually, homework is set once a week; however, there may be occasions when further tasks are set.

In the sixth form, students are able to complete the BTEC Level 3 Extended Certificate in Music, which is the equivalent of one A-level. This academically challenging and vocational course has been selected to help our musicians develop the range of skills required to thrive as a working musician. Sixth form students are expected to support their study with extra practice, research and reading. This work is in addition to essays and coursework set.

Instrumental Lessons

Music tuition is available to students on a wide variety of instruments, including voice, drum kit, electric guitar, bass guitar, acoustic guitar, classical guitar, piano, keyboard, saxophone, clarinet, flute, trumpet, trombone, French horn, violin, viola, cello, and double bass.

We are fortunate to have a strong working relationship with XYZ Music Academy and Bucks Music Trust (BMT), as well as several independent peripatetic teachers. Lessons take place during the school day on a rotating timetable so that students do not miss the same curriculum subject each week. Considering the Covid-19 situation, some lessons may initially be delivered through video conference calling, in line with government guidelines.

If you want to sign your child up for instrumental/vocal lessons then please email Mr Ben Judson, our Subject Leader for Performing Arts, to express your interest before the end of August and he will guide you towards the most appropriate teacher. ( Places are awarded on a first come, first served basis.

Department Resources

The Music department is very well resourced with sufficient instruments for all Key Stage 3 students to develop keyboard, guitar and percussion skills in classroom lessons. Students can also work in practice rooms equipped with drum kits and pianos.

Following two years of fundraising we have recently converted some of our practice space into a new, purpose-built recording studio. The studio includes a large live room, drum/vocal booth and control room equipped with an A&H QU-24 mixing console, all connected via Cat 6 wall ports. GCSE Music Technology will be taught in the new studio, as well as in our iMac suite where all students have access to Logic Pro X, MuseScore and GarageBand.
  • Subject Leader:Ben Judson
  • Teachers: Melinda Carr-Ruby, Lauren Osborne