“Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, a charm to sadness, gaiety and life to everything. It is the essence of order and lends to all that is good and just and beautiful” Plato

The Department

The Music Department at HBS is a busy and thriving department offering the girls a huge variety of musical experiences both in and outside the classroom. Our philosophy and approach is based on the view that it is only by making music in all its forms, by performing, composing, arranging and listening creatively, that real musical learning happens. We believe singing and aural skills to be at the heart of this process and this informs everything that we do. We also believe that this approach leads to a genuine love of music making that, we hope, will last our girls their whole lives.


Key Stage 3

From years 7 to 9 Music is taught for one lesson per week in form or point groups. The aim of the Keystage 3 course is to give students a wide range of practical musical experiences, including developing some theoretical understanding of musical processes, through the integrated activities of performing (instrumental and vocal), composing and listening. The range of music covered is fluid and varied, from Folk traditions to Classical, from commercial music to film music, Baroque to Blues.

Key Stage 4

GCSE Music allows students the opportunity to develop and extend their skills and understanding. As performers they play as soloists and in ensembles covering a range of repertoire in any style and genre. As creative musicians, they work at developing musical ideas and will produce two compositions and/or arrangements by the end of the course. They will also develop their formal analytical skills through the study of a wide range of set works.

Key Stage 5

A level Music deepens the students’ understanding of music through a closer study of harmony, composition and analysis, and they continue to develop their performing to a higher level leading to a recital at the end of the course. Through the study of a range of compositions students develop an understanding of composers’ techniques and styles that informs their creative work. This culminates in their own composition in response to a specific brief. Students also develop further their aural, stylistic and analytical understanding of music through the close study of a selection of set works and extracts.

Music Curriculum Breakdown for each Key Stage

The Bernard Hooton Tutor Group Festival

In the Summer Term, all girls in Years 7-10 take part in this festival as performers, arrangers or composers, conductors or choreographers. Each class creates a 20-30 minute programme of music, some based on work done in Music lessons, following a syllabus to include a mixture of instrumental and vocal music, classical, pop and world music.


From Key Stage 3 onwards our curriculum is enhanced by a range of trips to live music performances: concerts, musicals and opera. Please see our Extra-Curricular page for details of our extensive range of peripatetic lessons and ensemble performance opportunities on offer at HBS.

The school provides an excellent education for its girls.
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Academic Programme
We are committed to providing a broad education that is ambitious, varied and stimulating.
Years 7 - 9
At Key Stage 3, we want to enable girls to pursue a wide variety of academic and extra-curricular interests to the full.
Years 10 - 11
Progress into Key Stage 4 is both a psychological one, entering the ‘GCSE years’, as well as a literal one.
Sixth Form
Sixth Form is a vibrant, friendly and happy community, where every student is valued and given individual attention.