Music is an integral part of school life at Hurst and it is viewed as a subject for all. Academic music is taught by a well-qualified team of academic and professional musicians.
We offer GCSE Music, A-level Music and A-level Music Technology. We also provide appropriate tuition by specialist teachers in the Music School.
The Music department has a long record of excellent results at GCSE and A-level. Some students continue to read music at university level, some pursue their education at conservatoire level whilst others have used their Music A level to pursue other degree subjects including medicine. Class sizes are healthy and, at the higher levels, are small enough to allow for some flexibility when selecting exam material.
Students continue with classroom music in Prep School before opting to continue with Music in Year 9 where important skills are developed which form part of the GCSE course. Throughout their musical development, there are equal opportunities for students to improve their performing, composing and listening skills. In addition to developing these skills further, students are also required to study 'set works' for a listening exam. The music studied for this part of the course helps them to compose two of their own contrasting pieces as well as performing as a soloist and as a member of an ensemble.
A-level Music is a natural extension to the GCSE course. This also requires students to compose, perform and study set works in preparation for a listening exam. As with GCSE, A-level Music includes a substantial coursework element (60%).
Music Technology at A-level caters for those students who have enjoyed studying music at GCSE level and are interested in furthering their knowledge of popular Music. There is a well-equipped recording studio with seven workstations which run the latest professional software. Here, students can learn to record their own performances as well as write their own dance tracks and film scores. There is also a listening exam at the end of this course which is based upon a wide range of music from different periods and styles.
Below is a video of one of our Sixth Form students playing the piano.
The College has impressive facilities for music, which include:
- Dedicated Music teaching rooms
- A Mac suite with composing software
- Practice rooms for individual lessons and individual practise
- Music hall for concerts with a concert grand Bechstein piano
- Recording studio with seven workstations running the latest professional software
- A soundproof drum room
Music beyond Hurst
The Music Department has a pedigree of preparing students for some of the best universities, colleges and conservatoires in the country.
In recent years, a number of students have also been successfully prepared for Choral Scholarships at both Oxford and Cambridge universities. This success has also been replicated in the Music Technology Department where students have progressed to study on the prestigious Tonmeister Course at the University of Surrey.
The choir made a great sound, and it was very exciting to hear my work being performed... being given the opportunity to direct the choir myself, in such an impressive chapel, was wonderful. It is the first time I’ve been inside Hurst’s Chapel and I was impressed with the acoustic – what a splendid setting for the premiere of a piece!
Malcolm Archer, former Director of Music St Paul's Cathedral, London
[Speaking in 2015 about music he composed for Hurst to celebrate 150 years of the Chapel's consecration]