Cambridge Lower School offers a comprehensive music online secondary school curriculum, thoughtfully crafted to cultivate your abilities in listening, composing, and performing. As part of our online music lessons for secondary school students, you’ll explore a wide array of musical genres and styles. Whether your goal is to proceed to OCR GCSE Music or to simply enrich your life with the joys of music, our online music classes for secondary school students will make you a more competent and informed musician. Designed to meet Key Stage 3 objectives, our music school online ensures that students become well-rounded musicians equipped for both academic and personal pursuits.
Before we continue, please note the following requirement:
All students must have access to an instrument which they can play during the lessons
Any instrument is fine for the performing element (including drums and voice). However, all students will need access to a (piano) keyboard and/ or guitar for other aspects of the course.
How do I submit my assignments?
Via Microsoft Teams.
Will I be expected to study GCSE Music afterwards?
No, but hopefully you will want to as you should be nicely set up to do so. The key element is your performing skills: to achieve a high grade at GCSE you will need to be around Grade 4/5 standard by the start of your final GCSE year (although you will not need to have passed the exam itself). Everything else can be taught via the live lessons (2 hours a week).
In our secondary school music online programme, teacher assessments are an ongoing process. They occur during LIVE TAUGHT lessons and include the marking of coursework, assignments, and summative tests. This continuous evaluation ensures a holistic learning experience, tailored to help you excel in your Key Stage 3 music school online curriculum.
To fortify your learning experience, homework is assigned at the end of each week. Typically, this will involve researching key musical concepts, taking quizzes for recapitulation, engaging in subject-related fun activities, and completing coursework. This ensures that our online music lessons for Key Stage 3 students are both educational and engaging.
Parents have 24/7 access to an online portal that provides comprehensive insights into their children’s academic performance, including coursework, grades, and teacher feedback. This facilitates open and transparent communication between the school and parents. Consultations with teachers can be arranged at mutually convenient times for detailed discussions on academic progress or concerns.
Join us at Cambridge Lower School and experience an educational journey that will enhance your musical skills and broaden your cultural horizons.
Listening: all performance and composing (making up your own music) starts with listening: you can’t do it unless you have heard examples of what you are trying to do, and have started to learn how it is done. We will listen to an enormous variety of musical styles; classical, jazz, pop, film and video games, musical theatre, folk and music from across the world. We will also start to train our ears to focus on certain aspects of the music, developing instrument recognition and improved general aural skills as well.
Performing: this is a vital part of any music course, and just because it is tricky to do online does not mean we won’t do it! Sadly we will not be able to perform together (differing internet speeds make this impossible) but there will still be plenty of chances for you to play your instrument and record yourselves (see below) so I can hear what you have done and how you are progressing.
Singing: we will do plenty of vocal work, and I will expect everyone to sing in a variety of styles. Don’t worry – I won’t be able to hear you and nor will anyone else – but you will still need to do it.
Composing: as well as playing music written by other people, we will also be learning how to create our own music, again in a variety of styles. This will include music inspired by a poem, image or story, and also film music. We will explore structure, the importance and power of harmony (chords) and orchestration (what instruments to use and why), and we will also discover how to write a good tune.
Notation: we will learn the basics of reading and writing music, and also the effectiveness of graphic notation (symbols instead of notes).
Music software: we will explore and get used to writing music using computer software, and will also learn how to record ourselves. In order to deliver your assignments it is essential that you learn to record yourselves and/ or your computer sounds as soon as possible (see below).
Homework and assignments
Homework will be set on a regular basis, and will usually involve ongoing composition and/ or performance. These will be short projects – usually no more than 90 seconds – and will serve to check that what I have been teaching has been understood. All assignments will be set and submitted via Microsoft Teams, and they will have clear deadlines: all students will be expected to deliver their work on time. This is how online music teaching works: there is only one way I can hear what you have produced, and that is by you sending me a recording so I can mark it.
Those students who watch the lessons on catch-up will still be expected to hit the same deadlines as the rest, unless there is a specific reason not to.
Level 1: Wednesday *
Level 2: Tuesday*
Days may change – consult timetable
Just log into your Microsoft Teams account and I will be there.
What if I am not confident about recording myself performing?
Nobody is when they start – not even the best! Don’t worry – you will soon get used to it, and it will only be the teacher who hears it anyway so there is no cause for alarm. Performance is a compulsory part of the course – it has to be done – but it will quickly become a habit.
Do I need to have passed any music grades to do this course?
No, but it is fair to say you won’t get a great deal out of this course unless you can play an instrument at least: this can be with the help of a private teacher or self-taught.
Do I need to able to read music?
An ability to read music at a basic level will be a bonus, but it is not necessary and not a course requirement.
Will I need to have expensive computer software?
Students will be expected to have their own composing and recording software at home, but please do not purchase anything before the course starts, as advice will be given. There is a wide variety of software available, much of which is free, and the recording quality from a standard smart phone will be more than sufficient so there is no need for expensive microphones.
Even if you want to buy software, most companies will offer a 28 day trial or similar.
Do I need to be having private music lessons?
Absolutely not: lessons with a teacher will certainly help you improve your playing or singing faster, but they are not essential for this course.
Do I need to buy any text books?
No. At this stage the plan is that all resources will be provided.
What is the main aim of the Online Secondary School Music course?
The Online Secondary School Music course is crafted to develop your all-round abilities in music, encompassing listening, composing, and performing. The programme prepares students for the OCR GCSE Music course, although you may choose to continue music as a hobby. By the end, you’ll be a more accomplished and informed musician.
What are the instrument requirements for the Online Secondary School Music class?
For the Online Secondary School Music class, students need to have access to an instrument that they can play during the lessons. While any instrument is acceptable for the performing segment, all students must have access to either a (piano) keyboard or guitar for other facets of the course.
How are assignments submitted in the Online Secondary School Music course?
Assignments in the Online Secondary School Music course are submitted through Microsoft Teams. You will be given specific deadlines for each assignment, and timely submissions are expected.
What assessment methods are followed in the Online Secondary School Music class?
In the Online Secondary School Music class, teacher assessments are continuous and occur during live-taught lessons. These include marking of coursework, assignments, and conducting summative tests.
Will taking the Online Secondary School Music course obligate me to pursue GCSE Music?
No, you are not obligated to pursue GCSE Music after completing this course. However, the course is designed to set you up well for GCSE Music should you decide to proceed with it.
BA Hons, PGCE, LLCM, DipABRSM
Mr. Gazard is a musician and teacher who has been closely involved with music education for over 25 years. He is a former secondary school music teacher, including 12 years as Head of Music in a Performing Arts Specialist school, and has also been the Secondary Curriculum Excellence Advisor for Buckinghamshire.
Mr. Gazard is a pianist, singer and percussionist, and is currently the Curriculum Lead for Buckinghamshire Music Trust, responsible for developing A Level Music Teaching online to schools in the county and beyond and writing the course for the ABRSM Certificate of Music Education.
He has taught GCSE and A level music for many years and across a number of different boards both in schools and as a private tutor. He prides himself on his eclectic approach to music, being equally happy in Bach or Bacharach: his specialisms are jazz and musical theatre.
Mr. Gazard is an award-winning music education author having written three books, the most recent of which, ’Being a Head of Music: a Survival Guide’, won ‘Best Music Education Product’ at the Music Teacher Magazine Awards for Excellence in 2018.
He is also a professional composer and arranger, currently working for Glee Club UK as a vocal and track arranger, and has recently started a new role as presenter of The Jazz Hour on his local community radio station Wycombe Sound.
Mr. Gazard is based in High Wycombe in Buckinghamshire and is married with two children.
How to apply
Our school is nearly always full, with very few school places!