Music can change the world because it can change people
Music is a universal language, and to create and perform music is to communicate in a very powerful and direct way that affects the way we think, feel and act – it makes us look differently at the world around us.
Here at Thirsk School and Sixth Form College we place our students firmly at the centre of their music experience. They become composers, performers and critics – and through this they explore a wide range of styles and genres and learn about their social and historical contexts.
Music education helps the mind and body work together – it helps develop fine motor skills while allowing children to practice self-expression. We believe that every young person should have the opportunity to develop their musical potential, and we aim to nurture and encourage musical development regardless of background or ability so that everyone can flourish and become the very best possible versions of themselves.
In year seven, each child has three hours of music lessons a fortnight, with students in years eight and nine having two lessons over the two-week timetable. Our young people work practically to explore different musical genres and gain knowledge in the different elements that make up music as well as notation, musical structures, and composition, performance and appraisal techniques.
Our classrooms house a wide variety of instruments including keyboards, guitars and ukuleles, samba sets, djembes, and much more – and of course, all students bring with them their own unique instrument – their voice! Lessons in a wide range of instruments are also offered in school by our visiting peripatetic teaching staff.
At Key Stage Four, we offer both GCSE (AQA) and the BTEC Level 2 First Award. This offers us the flexibility to accommodate the different interests and skills of our students. Both these courses offer the opportunity to further develop skills in composition and performance. The GCSE has a further emphasis on understanding music through aural perception and includes the study of set works, while the BTEC course includes a closer look at the music industry and the opportunity to create a music product (such as an album, a podcast or a concert). Both courses offer routes into the sixth form and further study, and the department has prepared many students who have gone on to study music at university or a conservatoire while others have gone on to study different courses such as medicine, teaching and many more.
We are very proud of our achievements in the Performing Arts at Thirsk School. Our music concerts throughout the year and our spectacular annual productions continue to be well supported by our wonderful community, and we also look for opportunities to perform outside school, such as when we entertain residents at local nursing homes for Christmas.
We also enjoy giving students in our many and varied ensembles the opportunity to perform as part of the Music for Youth festival, as well as foreign tours to European destinations such as Berlin, Budapest, Barcelona, Paris and many more!
In a paper released by the Department for Education, the study of music at school was linked with improvements in reading and maths. It also highlighted improvements in self-reliance, personal and social development, confidence, self-esteem, sense of achievement, discipline and teamwork, as well as an increased ability to relate to others. Because of this, and its value as an academic subject in its own right, we at Thirsk school continue to be proud to work with our fantastic young people and the community beyond our gates, to share our passion for music and the myriad benefits it bestows on all who engage with it.