The study of Music at Downe House provides an exciting opportunity to develop an understanding and appreciation of the key elements of music.

Music in the curriculum

Explore, discover, be inspired!

Whether it is singing in choirs, composing film sound-tracks, listening to music from a range of cultures or recording songs in the studio, music is for everyone. Our approach is to encourage and support all pupils to explore and express themselves through music. Studying music enables pupils to become creative thinkers, analytical problem solvers, and effective communicators.

At Downe House, it is our belief that music transforms lives!

Lower School curriculum

In addition to the wealth of extra-curricular opportunities, all pupils in Remove (Year 7) and Lower Fourth (Year 9) have an academic music lesson each week. These lessons are designed to develop the interconnected skills of listening, performing, composing and appraising.

In both Remove and Lower Fourth, pupils take a written examination which assesses their understanding of topics and concepts covered. This also prepares them well for the style of listening examinations that are used at GCSE and A Level.


In the Remove, pupils cover a number of topics to develop their understanding of how music and its building blocks work. Pupils study the Elements of Music, the Development of the Orchestra and Music from Africa. During the year they will listen to great pieces as well as develop their performing and composing skills.

Lower Fourth

In Lower Fourth, pupils build on their skills and understanding through the study of Minimalism and Film Music. Pupils compose their own pieces using Sibelius software.

Upper Fourth

Music can be taken as an option subject in Upper Fourth and lesson time increases to a double each week. We select topics specifically to prepare pupils who are experienced musicians wishing to continue studying Music at GCSE and even A Level, but which also remain relevant and useful to pupils who are not progressing to these courses.

Building on the curriculum covered in the Remove and Lower Fourth, those who choose Music in Upper Fourth will embark on a journey which will introduce them to a wealth of music; some familiar and some new and unexpected. Pupils will study pieces in detail, learning to analyse features for themselves. They develop their composition and performance skills and learn to evaluate, refine and develop their work.

Upper School curriculum

Girls from a range of musical backgrounds enjoy GCSE Music. Its is a fantastic opportunity to develop listening, performing and composing skills at a higher level. The Edexcel course gives students an exciting breadth of musical awareness and understanding. There are four areas of study that provide the framework for the course: Instrumental Music 1700-1820, Vocal Music, Music for Stage & Screen and Fusions.

Sixth Form curriculum

The AQA A Level course includes modules in performance, composing, listening, analysing and contextual understanding. The course challenges girls to acquire a deeper understanding of the Western classical tradition as well as the opportunity to explore two further areas of study. The diversity of key skills required means A Level musicians successfully go on to study not just music but a broad range of arts, science and social science subjects at top universities.

Music News

Tours & Open Mornings

The best way to find out more about Downe House is to experience it for yourself. Book a personal tour or join us at one of our Open Mornings, available throughout the year.

Book your tickets | Academic Conference – Maximising Pupils’ Potential | Thursday 13 June 2024
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