Music in secondary schools

By the time students walk into a secondary school music classroom, they bring with them a variety of different abilities, experiences and musical preferences. Trinity’s range of performing arts qualifications – and knowing where they can be usefully incorporated into your lesson planning – offer frameworks and progression routes in ways that can be tailored to a student’s specific strengths and interests.

Our graded music exams provide a great basis for musical learning, covering a wide range of instruments, styles, techniques and musicianship skills. Available in both Classical & Jazz and Rock & Pop styles, candidates and teachers have an exhaustive amount of repertoire to choose from, in addition to options to perform an own composition or, in Rock & Pop exams, an own choice song.

The option to take exams digitally provides teachers and candidates with more flexibility than ever. It means that the recording of music exams can be scheduled around your students’ other commitments - during lesson time, after school, at the weekend or during the holidays – without the need to take time away from their other subjects.

To find out more about how graded music exams can be integrated into your music department, why not check out the following blogs:

In addition to the graded music exams outlined above, singers also have the option of working their way through the Musical Theatre grades. Our Musical Theatre exams sit within our Drama suite so singing only forms part of the exam; candidates are also being assessed on their dramatic skills and ability to reflect upon the pieces they perform – perfect for students who have a broader interest in the performing arts.

If graded exams aren’t the best fit for your students, then why not explore some of our other exams? For example, Music Certificates are recital-based qualifications available at three levels: Foundation (equivalent in technical difficulty to Grade 3), Intermediate (Grade 5) and Advanced (Grade 8). Candidates taking a Solo Certificate exam create a programme comprising of pieces from the repertoire lists provided, repertoire from the equivalent graded exam, and own choice repertoire. Furthermore, Group Certificates are also available, enabling you to incorporate certification into your school ensembles too. Whether it’s a piano duo, chamber ensemble or whole school choir, Group Certificates are a great way to recognise the progress musicians make in informal music settings!

Our Awards & Certificates in Musical Development are great for class-based learning. This suite of fully inclusive, regulated  qualifications is teacher assessed during the course of normal lessons or rehearsals, regardless of whether they are whole class, group, ensemble or one-to-one teaching contexts. Teachers gather evidence of a student’s ability and progression tagainst the corresponding level of qualification. You will find more information about this qualification in the Music for children with SEND in mainstream and special schools section below.

Arts Award takes a similar approach to awarding where work can be gathered in class but compiled into a portfolio of evidence which is then assessed internally and submitted to us for moderation. As highlighted previously, one of the key benefits of Arts Award is that it can be used to support progression in a wide range of musical styles and skills. For example, you might use the award within composition or music technology projects, or to explore a particular musical genre as a performer, composer and audience member.

Furthermore, Arts Award Silver and Gold provide young people with the opportunity to take ownership of their art form, develop their leadership skills and gain valuable project management experience. This additional vocational element to the award can be great in supporting job, college and university applications.

Of course, music education isn’t solely about being able to play or sing, as we have touched on above. Students with a keen interest in composing, or simply wishing to develop their l knowledge further, may be interested in our Theory of Music graded exams, available to schools as both a paper or digital exam formats. We have a wide range of materials to support music theory lessons including books, past papers and resources.



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