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This is a busy, vibrant, diverse and very happy department!

We are extremely proud of our musical tradition here at St James. Our mission is to get you involved in any aspect of music, and of course to have fun.

Music at St James is delivered through classroom lessons, extra-curricular activities, performances and visits. It is enhanced by instrumental lessons delivered by Dudley Performing Arts as well as visiting bands and professionals.

Accommodation and Resources

Music is housed in two very well resourced rooms with four practice rooms adjacent.

  • Music 1: PC suite running Cubase, Reason and Sibelius 7.5 with Oxygen 15 Midi keyboards.
  • Music 2:  15 Yamaha audio keyboards and arrange of percussion, guitars and recording capabilities.

Both rooms have interactive whiteboards with iPad capability.

  • Practice 1: Acoustic room with digital upright Yamaha Piano.
  • Practice 2: Acoustic room with guitar and bass racks, Upright Piano.
  • Practice 3: Ibanez Acoustic Guitar Rack, Yamaha Stage Custom Drumkit with American Audio DJ Decks.
  • Practice 4: Acoustic room with Brass Instrument storage.

There are three studio quality iPad docks used to record digital music.  We also use Macbooks to create music using Garageband.


Years 7 & 8

Students have one fifty minute music lesson per week, developing musicianship skills and understanding through a range of performing, composing and appraising activities.

Year 7: Rhythm and Metre, Song For Christmas, Pachelbel's Canon, The Blues, Medieval Music, Heroes and Villains.

Year 8: Genius, Film Music, Band Project, Samba, The Music of India, Writing a Pop Song.

Years 9 - 11 GCSE


  • Integrated Portfolio:   A performance on the learner’s chosen instrument and one composition to a brief set by the learner.  This is worth 30% of the total GCSE.
  • Practical component:  One ensemble performance and  one composition to an OCR set brief.  This is worth 30% of the total GCSE.
  • A historical listening paper which is a one and a half hour exam and is worth 40% of the total GCSE.


During the course, you will create the above pieces of coursework through the study of the three primary musical disciplines, performing, composing and listening.


Music Performance is one of the key disciplines for any musician. During your GCSE you will produce both a solo and ensemble performance on any instrument of your choice, including your voice. As a soloist you will work to a 10 hour time frame to ensure you have practiced, refined and polished your performance to the best standard it can be.  As an ensemble player you will rehearse, evaluate and create a group performance that will delight audiences. This GCSE course also allows you to be assessed in music technology, non-traditional instruments and DJ performances if you prefer not to traditionally perform. 

Composing Music:

There is nothing better than creating music of any style, form or genre. During your GCSE you will compose two pieces of music, one which is your own choice and the other chosen by the OCR examination board.  In other words, this is any form of music from 1600 onwards! You can present your composition any way you wish and will create a recording using a variety of different methods. In addition, you will learn how to use musical software such as Sibelius, Garageband and Cubase to aid you in your composition process. 

Listening and Appraising:

Finally, we develop the skill of appraising during the GCSE course. By appraising we mean listening to and understanding music through four new areas of study. These are The Concerto Through the Time, Rhythms of the World, Film Music and Conventions of Pop.  This covers many aspects of historical Western Music, World Music and modern aspects of Music such as film and video game music.  


Throughout the course we are constantly developing the three disciplines of music, composing, performing and appraising. As a starting point you need to have a love of music, already play an instrument and be confident enough to perform with the entire class. These skills aside, you will also develop teamwork, instrumental, creativity, working to deadlines and technology skills. You must also be prepared to perform, compose and listen to types and styles of music you normally would not. Through completing the course your knowledge of music through history and around the world will be vastly improved and you will perform and compose with greater confidence.

OCR link: 

Extra Curricular

We strive to give our pupils as many opportunities as possible through regular performance and extra-curricular activity. These include:

  • Termly music concerts
  • Visiting primary schools and other places in the community
  • Various school trips
  • Visits to Base Studios to record coursework and experience being a musical ensemble
  • Visiting DPA staff for one to one lessons and small ensembles
  • Extra curricular activities such as guitar club, samba band and glee club.