Senior School | Departments


The Music Department in housed in a purpose built area comprising practise rooms, a project recording studio, a medium sized performance area and a large performance area.

The department has three grand pianos; a Steinway, Bechstein and Broadwood, as well as a variety of upright pianos including Yamahas. The recording studio runs Logic on an Apple with KRK Monitors, and a Roland Keyboard. We have a Samba Kit, a set of African Drums, a large selection of tuned and untuned percussion, a suite of keyboards, a full set of 20 guitars for classroom tuition and a class set of Ukeleles. We have 4 drum kits, including an electronic set, and guitars, synthesisers and amplifiers to equip any budding rock bands. We also have a wide selection of orchestral instruments for hire.

There are 7 choirs at Stover, from the award winning Cantabile in the Senior School to specialist choirs at Key Stage 1. The boys’ Man Choir is a popular choir in the Senior School with over 30 members. The Senior Girls and Man Choir combine for all concerts and school numbering over 100 pupils. There is also a smaller SATB group called Camerata that perform more challenging pieces. There are two Orchestras who perform regularly at main school events. Recent pieces performed by the Senior Orchestra include Offenbach’s Can Can, John Williams’ Jurassic Park, Debussy’s En Bateau and a Clarinet Concerto by Baldassare Galuppi . There is the award winning Stover Soul that performs a range of popular music, from songs of the 1930’s up to the present day. There is the smaller Fillet of Stover Soul who regularly perform at local events. We are able to create ensembles to suit our students, whether it is based on ability or matching the instruments to create a unique ensemble. Currently there is a Brass Group, ‘Cello Quartet and Chamber Orchestra specialising in late Baroque and early Classical Era music.

There are many opportunities to perform throughout the school year at a variety of events. Performance opportunities range from our showcase events such as the Carol Service in Exeter Cathedral in front of an audience of 800, the Cancer Research UK Christmas Concert, the School’s Summer and Winter Concerts, The Phyllis Dence Memorial Concert in March and our own Departmental End of Year concert in the beautiful Teigngrace Church. There are regular Lunchtime Concerts, where both new and more experienced musicians can perform in front of a friendly and supportive audience. We also provide music for large school events including the Remembrance Service and Prize Giving.

Music Scholars are given a high priority in the music department, not only as soloists, but also as role models and leaders for the other musicians. Our music scholars have the ability to put together a 2 hour concert by themselves featuring ensemble, solo and their own compositions. Every musician is valued in the music department, from the beginner saxophonist to the grade 8 pianist. Our size means that we are big enough to tackle large orchestral pieces and choral works, whilst also being able to tailor our orchestral arrangements to suit all abilities. There is no hierarchy of music in the department; Beethoven’s music sits happily with The Beatles’ music, as both required creative thought to exist.

We have eleven experienced and qualified visiting music teachers. We offer lessons on all orchestral instruments, rock instruments, and voice. We can source a teacher for any instrument that we don’t currently provide. We enter pupils for ABRSM and Trinity Examinations with a very high pass rate. You can find out more information on our ‘peri’s’ by clicking here. (link out to peri biogs)

The Key Stage 3 Curriculum is designed to give pupils abroad and relevant musical experience. All pupils learn to play the keyboard and guitar as part of their class sessions. The Year 7 Curriculum includes the treble clef notation, music of the world, including Samba, Africa, Gamelan and British Folk Music. The Year 8 curriculum introduces guitar ‘tab’ notation, music of India and The Beatles. Music in Year 9 includes the bass and alto clefs, score reading, orchestral playing, composition using Sibelius and instruments of Popular Music.


The Music option at GSCE is a development of the work studied at Key Stage 3 and a stepping stone for further study at AS and A Level. The course aims to develop students’ understanding of a wide range of musical genres and styles and encourages critical and creative thinking.

Examination Board: edexcel
Specification code: 1MU0

Unit 1 – Performance (30%)
This paper consists of two performances which are completed during the final year of the course. One performance should be a solo piece (with or without piano accompaniment) and one an ensemble performance. If candidates chose to perform using technology then the solo will be a sequenced performance on computer, and the ensemble performance will be a multi-track recording. The voice counts as an instrument. Performances are teacher-assessed, recorded and sent to the exam board for moderation.

Unit 2 – Composing Music (30%)
Candidates submit two compositions, written over the course, for assessment and moderation. One of the compositions is a commission set by the examination board. These may be original compositions or arrangements of other music. Composition is computer based using Sibelius or Cubase software.

Unit 3 – Listening and Appraising (40%)
This is assessed via a 1¾ hour Listening Paper at the end of the two year course. Section A relates to the Set Works recordings on a CD, with an additional dictation exercise and one question on an unfamiliar piece. Section B is a comparison between a Set Work and an unfamiliar piece.

The Four Areas of Study from which the Set Works are taken:
Instrumental Music 1700-1820 (Including Bach Brandenburg No.3 3rd Mvt)
Vocal Music (Including Queen: Killer Queen)
Music for Stage and Screen (Inc Star Wars Main Title Theme)
Fusions (World Music including Afro Celt Sound System)
Entry Requirements

There are no fixed entry requirements and a number of the topics have already been introduced in Year 8 and 9 class music lessons. If you choose to perform on an instrument or to sing, you should aim for a Grade 4-5 standard by the end of the course to do well. You may choose the technology option, which does not require you to play or sing for the final exam; for this you should have a reasonable amount of computer literacy, and music theory. Although the theory required is covered during the course, if you have worked towards an Associated Board theory exam, you will be in a stronger position. It is expected that GCSE Music pupils take part in one or more of the choirs / ensembles at school. This helps to boost GCSE grades through wider experience and understanding of music.



The format is similar to GCSE, with study in composition, set works and performance. An AS examination is also available, with reduced requirements in performance, composition and fewer Set Works.

Performance – at the end of the two years pupils will perform a recital on their chosen instrument / voice lasting around 10-12 minutes. They will be expected to perform regularly throughout the course.

Composition – at the end of the two year pupils will submit two compositions – one a free choice or commission from the exam board, and the other a Bach Chorale Harmonisation. The Bach chorale work teaches harmony, cadences and chord use / names.

Set works – There are 6 areas of study, covering a wide range of music from Mozart to Kate Bush. The set works have been carefully chosen to give pupils a wider and deeper understanding of the development of music over the past 500 years. This is examined with a Listening Paper, including essays in the final term of the course.
Specification units
The course is divided into six units, 3 at AS and 3 at A2 level.

Year 12 : AS
Unit 1 – Appraising Music (Listening) Examination-40% Unit 2 – Composing: Creating Musical Ideas
Externally assessed coursework – 30%
Unit 3 – Performing: Interpreting Musical Ideas – 30%
Year 13 : A2
Unit 4 – Appraising Music – Externally assessed – 40%
Unit 5 – Composing: Developing Musical Ideas, assessment by commissioned exercise – 30%
Unit 6 – Performing: Externally assessed examination – 30%

Entry Requirements

We recommend candidates should have secured a good pass at Music GCSE with a minimum of Grade 6 standard on their first-study instrument or voice. They will also need to have passed, or be at Grade 5 Theory standard. It is expected that A Level Music students will take part fully in the life of the Music department and involve themselves in choirs, orchestra, chamber ensembles and stage productions as appropriate.



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