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 At Swallow Hill we aim to provide all of our students with positive musical experiences. We encourage students to develop their practical music skills and study a wide range of instruments and styles of music to help stimulate the musical tastes of all of our students. 

We teach music so that students can make their own music.  We teach music because it acts in a unique way on the heart, mind, soul and spirit of the student, stimulating thought and imagination in very special ways.

Key Stage 3 (Year 7 and 8)

The skills that we focus on during phase one are the music skills identified in the national curriculum. These are performing, composing and appraising. We like to work in the most practical way possible and try to ensure that student listen to and play a wide variety of styles of music during their timetabled lessons. 

In year 7 we study:

  • Keyboards and notation
  • Singing
  • Gamelan
  • Samba
  • African drumming
  • Reggae

 In year 8 we study:

  • Garage Band loops and remixes
  • Blues
  • Guitar skills
  • Playing in bands
  • Film music 

Key Stage 3 (Year 9, 10 & 11)

We currently study the Edexcel Level 2 BTEC music course. 

This course gives students plenty of opportunity to develop their practical music skills while learning more about the music industry. 

The units we are currently studying during this course are:

  • Planning a musical product
  • Rehearsal skills for musicians
  • The development of music

From September 2014 we will study the new specification of the BTEC Level 2 course.

Extra curricular activities offered by the department currently include: 

  • Pop choir
  • Soul band
  • Fabulous Friday

Additional groups are always being developed and sometimes practice in the run up to concerts, e.g. African drumming, steel pan, ukulele band. 

The practice rooms in the main music room are also open twice a week after the academy day for individual or groups of students to practice. 

We pride ourselves on offering a wide variety of opportunities for students to perform to others. 

We have Fabulous Friday lunchtime concerts every week - these take place in the canteen or the academy piazza and are great opportunity for students to showcase their musical talent informally on a regular basis. 

We also have many concerts throughout the year where students are invited to perform to an audience: Examples of concerts we have held in the past include:

  • Halloween showcase
  • Christmas concert
  • Carol singing at local events
  • Singing evening
  • BTEC concert
  • Academy Idol
  • Party in the Piazza summer concert

Instrumental lessons: 

Additional instrumental lessons are available to students free of charge. These lessons take place during the normal academy day and are taught to small groups of students for 20 minutes at a time. 


We currently offer the following instrumental lessons:

  • Drums
  • Guitar
  • Bass guitar
  • Ukulele
  • Vocals
  • Cello
  • Violin
  • Steel pans
  • Keyboard and piano

These lessons are understandably very popular and we ask that in return for the lessons students who participate in them also join us wherever possible for extra -curricular groups and concerts. 

We ask Parents to:

  • Encourage their child to use and develop their musical skills regularly at home. For example by listening to a wide variety of musical genres.
  • Support their child with their musical homework;
  • Ensure their child has the relevant learning equipment and brings it to the academy each day.
  • If your child attends instrumental lessons within the academy then it is also expected that you encourage them to practice regularly and participate in musical performance opportunities within the academy.