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Music is a lively, vibrant department here at Accrington Academy. Every lesson includes performance, composition and listening skills, through the medium of a variety of genres, styles and themes. Musicians at Accrington are open-minded to exploring music from a variety of diverse genres and cultures, including: orchestral/vocal classical music, modern popular music, rap, jazz, world music and so much more.
The music department endeavours to bring out the best in everyone by not only developing musicianship, but also key “life skills” that are beneficial outside of the music industry. This includes: listening to others, team work, working independently, problem solving, co-ordination, co-operation, resilience, determination and so much more.
Our current extra curricular opportunities (which are open to everyone) include:
  • Vocal Adrenaline
  • Orchestra
  • Glee Club
  • Steel Pan Group
  • Jazz Band
  • Piano Club
  • Music Technology Club
  • Chamber Choir.

journey-musicYour Child’s Journey in Music

You can download this document to view a term by term, year by year breakdown for the journey your child will have when they choose Music.  


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Year 7 and 8 students develop their understanding of a variety of genres of music through whole school themes. The themes give us an opportunity to work cross-curricular with other subjects and help students make links on how all of the subjects link together and ultimately, support them in the wider world. We take a very practical approach to teaching music; in every lesson students will develop listening skills, performance skills and compositional skills whilst becoming problem solvers, good team workers, creative thinkers, and respectful, confident people.

GCSE music is a popular subject option at Accrington Academy. This involves developing the skills that are learned at KS3 to become well rounded musicians. Students will be expected to understand important features of classical music, recognize the many different styles of music within popular culture and to appreciate and value music from other countries.

This is what the course looks like:

Component 1: Performance (30%) – for this, students will prepare an ensemble performance and a solo performance which lasts 4 minutes long. These will be recorded and examined in school then moderated by the exam board. 

Component 2: Composition (30%) – this unit involves creating two compositions, one which if free to students taste and the second is set by the exam board. We will get four briefs and the student will choose one. 

Component 3: Appraising (40%) – to be good musicians students need to listen to music and understand how it is made. This embeds everything we do in music including performing and composing. Students will study two set works and understand how musical features work in these specific pieces as well as many styles of unfamiliar pieces of music. Then they will sit one exam in Year 11.  

A level music is a perfect example of a course that is practical and academic. Students develop their understanding of music through exploring the history of music, learning about traditional theory rules and pulling apart modern music to gain a good understanding of how it has developed and is still developing. Alongside this, students are expected to prepare solo performances and compositions which demonstrate their deep understanding of music. Just like at GCSE, students studying A level music are expected to study an instrument (or voice) in detail, and so, we offer free instrumental/ vocal lessons to these students.

Enrichment in the music department is key to every musicians development. We offer a variety of enrichment groups during the day and after school that are open to everyone.

  • Monday – None 
  • Tuesday- Production Rehearsal & Jazz Band 
  • Wednesday- KS4/5 Study (Room 212) & Production Rehearsal (Room 211)
  • Thursday- Production Rehearsal 
  • Friday- Vocal Adrenaline (Room 212) & KS4/5 Study (Room 211)

Being involved in an extra curricular group at Accrington Academy can lead students to a variety of incredible opportunities – see performances

In the past year we have: 

  • Sang National Anthems at an international rugby league match between England & New Zealand. In preparation for this, students attended a number of rehearsals and also performed and interviewed for BBC radio Lancashire. The performance at DW Stadium was also aired on BBC1.
  • 12 dedicated students went to London to perform an African suite of music called Zimbe! on a West End stage with 1000 other United Learning students. This also involved a large number of rehearsals and an interview and performance for BBC Radio Lancashire. On the second day of this trip we made a visit to Warner Bros Studios to see the set and magic behind Harry Potter.
  • Our students joined over 1000 students and staff across United Learning at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester. The students performed “Wassail! Carols of Comfort and Joy” – a brand new musical score composed by renowned composer Alexander L’Estrange.
  • We are keen to get involved in local events. Recently we have performed for Accrington Mayor’s Charity Ball and jazz band are preparing for a performance at Hyndburn’s Jazz Festival at Clitheroe in May.
  • Performances in school happen regularly. We work alongside dance and drama to put on fabulous shows every term including: The Christmas Cabaret, Performing Arts Academy Awards and Shine. We also perform frequently in different events; for example, students are often keen to do lunch time performances and assemblies.

 If you have an interest in music, there are so many fantastic opportunities here at Accrington Academy!

Dance Studio

Music Staff

Click on Teacher name to read full bio

Mrs L. Clarke

Mrs L. Clarke

Subject Leader Music

BMus (Hons) & PGCE Secondary Music  When I was growing up, I always wanted to be a pilot in...

Mrs L. Clarke

Mrs L. Clarke

Subject Leader Music

BMus (Hons) & PGCE Secondary Music 

When I was growing up, I always wanted to be a pilot in the RAF. When I discovered that I was too small to do this (couldn’t see over all of the dials in the cockpit) I decided that I would become a music teacher. All the way through school music was a huge passion of mine. I was in every singing group, and as many instrumental groups as I could be, and I made sure that I was at every concert and performance. I am a keen composer and I love to write music for different events, ensembles and purposes. My love of being a musician really drives my love of teaching- I am so lucky that I get to make music and share how fantastic being a musician is with students, every day!  In my spare time, I enjoy singing with my dog (he’s very talented), going hiking or doing water sports.  I also enjoy reading and baking.

Mr N. Donnolley

Mr N. Donnolley

Teacher of Music

BA (Hons) Popular Music and Recording & PGCE Secondary Music I have always loved music, at a...

Mr N. Donnolley

Mr N. Donnolley

Teacher of Music

BA (Hons) Popular Music and Recording & PGCE Secondary Music

I have always loved music, at a very young age I would stay up late listening to my parents’ Led Zeppelin records when they thought I was in bed, and in primary school I realized that taking up the clarinet meant I could play in a band!
In high school a friend told me that if I learned the guitar I could play in his band – this decision led to me performing in every school performance and on through university and professional life.
My passion for teaching stems from all the positive experiences I have of secondary music and I count myself lucky that I get to teach such a fantastic subject every day.
In my spare time I enjoy hiking, swimming, reading and performing with the band.


Subject Statistic coming soon!

Music is a new subject at the academy and once results are in from 2016 examinations we will display a statistic here.

In year 7 I never really enjoyed music as much as I do now and over the years of being in school I’ve seen the music department grow and grow into a greatly talented music community. The music department has given me so many opportunities such as Zimbe and singing at Wigan rugby stadium and learning bass guitar, violin and singing. I love music so much that it even got me to pass a grade 3 singing exam!

Thank you!

Lois Johnson

Year 10 pupil

Options Booklet


GCSE Music
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  • Music Specification

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