Music at Abbotsholme

Summer Gathering

Music is part of our way of life at Abbotsholme. All pupils are encouraged to appreciate music and all regularly take part in music-making, above and beyond the experiences they have in timetabled music lessons.We are fortunate in having a separate purpose-built building in which to work, away from other classrooms. 

Pupils are encouraged to see music as an essential and integral part of their education. They are encouraged to use and celebrate the talent they have, and to respect and appreciate the talents of others.

Many pupils learn to play an instrument or take singing lessons. A number of pupils form their own groups and bands. The fact that these are drawn from across different years and from both sexes helps to enhance our family atmosphere. Music of every style, type and genre is encouraged and a rich diversity is positively welcomed. Some pupils thrive on taking music exams and others prefer to set their own targets. Either pathway is encouraged and supported.

We place great emphasis on developing  musical appreciation and involvement and each year an Inter-House Music Competition is held. This is one of the highlights of the musical year and brings out a wonderful spirit of shared endeavour in making music and celebrating musical talent.

Key Stage Three (Years 7, 8 and 9)

Each Half Term a project is studied based on the twin concepts of listening and performing.

Year 7 On the way and The music of Java and Bali, Major and minor and Working with chords, Voices in layers and Ragtime music

Year 8 Rock’n’roll and Sounding together, Rondos and recurring structures and 6/8 and compound time, The music of Japan and Studying a Baroque concerto

Year 9 Ground bass and Variations, Vocal chants and Modes, Feelin’ the blues and Gospel music

Key Stage Four (Year 10 and 11: GCSE)

The course focuses on the skills of performing, composing, listening and appraising organised into four Areas of Study:

Area of Study 1 My music – studying your own instrument

Area of Study 2 Shared music- how musicians relate to each when performing

Area of Study 3 Dance music

Area of Study 4 Descriptive music

Sixth Form

The Music Department follows the Edexcel specification.

AS:Pupils will learn and use a variety of music and music technology skills including MIDI sequencing and multi-track recording as well as arranging skills. Pupils must complete three tasks which together make the Music Technology Portfolio. In addition, pupils will sit a1 hour 45 minute listening examination which will test their knowledge of popular music styles as well as key elements of music technology.

A2: Builds on skills acquired at AS, and extends these to include a composition task. Pupils must complete three tasks which together make up Music Technology Portfolio 2. In addition, pupils will sit a 2-hour examination which will test their ability to edit and mix given audio tracks as well as their general technical and musical knowledge.

Abbotsholme Arts Society

Abbotsholme Arts Society is one of the country's most respected concert presenters in the country.

Although embracing jazz, poetry and drama performances, its core programme of chamber music has brought a Who's Who of big-name musicians to the school over the years - Ashkenazy, Brendel, Galway, Hough and the Amadeus Quartet to name just a few.

For details of the society's current season go to


Round Square Exchange ~ Dan Harrison, Westminster School, Adelaide, Australia

Although apprehensive at my 26 hour journey ahead, I was excited to board the flight on 18 July from Manchester airport to Dubai for my journey to Adelaide, South Australia for my six week stay at Westminster School. I had already emailed Mr St...


Ferocious Diva Discovers the Power of Questions.

“What are the chords for that?” an Abbotsholme pupil innocently asked on the afternoon of 1 December 2015. Enya had just heard Ken Bonsall and Dan Booth of the band Ferocious Dog play their haunting acoustic version of Slow Motion...


Lunchtime Concert ~ 26 January 2016

We had the first Lunch Time concert of the term on Tuesday in Chapel. There was a good audience, and in particular, it was nice to see the Prep School there to support their own class mates who were performing, but also to listen to some of the Se...


The end of term and Christmas Carols

Abbotsholme's Autumn term came to a close today with Christmas Jumper Day for Prep School and the Carol Services for Senior School pupils.  Click here to see a video of a song from the Senior School Carol Service.


Percussion Workshop ~ 23 November 2015

A group of around 20 pupils had an excellent opportunity to listen to Classic Rhythm performing for them in Chapel last Monday. The group specialises in re-arranging classics for the unusual combination of flute, piano and percussion. Our pupils w...

Open Day Our Video