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Callington Community College

Callington Community College

Callington Community College


Head of Department: Mr A Lane

The Music Department offers a wide variety of musical opportunities for students at the College.

As well as weekly classroom Music lessons at Key Stage 3, students have the opportunity to study GCSE Music and BTEC Level 2 Music at Key Stage 4 and RSL Level 3 Music in the Sixth Form.  A large proportion of students choose to study Music as an option and we are very proud that a number of these pupils have gone on to study Music at some of the leading higher education establishments over the years.

Beyond the core curriculum, the Music Department offers the following activities:


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  • Junior Singers
  • Choir
  • Orchestra
  • Junior Strings
  • Friday Band (Concert Wind Band)
  • Soul Band
  • Brass Ensemble
  • Annual production in collaboration with Drama and Dance departments
  • Music Club
  • Japanese Taiko Drumming
  • Flute Ensemble
  • Music Ambassadors

The department has two full-time teaching staff and nine visiting peripatetic music staff, enabling us to offer instrumental music tuition to a large number of students on a wide variety of instruments.

The Music Department is well equipped with a wide variety of electronic and acoustic musical instruments and digital sound recording facilities. The 2 recording studios house impressive 48 track mixing desks which record to Logic Pro running on Mac Pro computers. There are also 26 iMac computers in the department which are used both for research purposes and for sequencing / sampling / mixing on Logic, and scoring using Sibelius software.

We have 4 teaching classrooms, complete with stages, PA systems and musical instruments, along with many smaller practice rooms for small group and individual rehearsal.

Key Stage  3

Music in Years 7, 8 and 9 at Callington Community College is both engaging and practical.

Music Mark LogoWe teach an understanding of the key musical elements through developing singing, playing and listening skills.

Music lessons aim to be fun and innovative.  Our philosophy is built on an understanding that young people learn best when they are challenged by the curriculum, are being creative, and are safe and happy.

The Music Department at Callington teaches musical development by focusing on musical such concepts as ‘Melody’, ‘Harmony’ and ‘Rhythm’, with most music projects lasting half a term. The breadth of each topic allows each teacher to interpret the curriculum in a variety of ways to tailor-make each project to fit the strengths and interests of each teaching group, and to maximise the teaching strengths of each teacher in the department.

The Music Department has an impressive array of instruments to engage students and to foster learning, ranging from tuned and un-tuned percussion from across the world, to electronic keyboards and electric guitars and drum kits. Students are also encouraged to bring their own instruments to use in classroom music projects.

Students will sometimes find themselves working as part of a Class Band, while at other times small group work is used for creative tasks as well as occasional solo performances. Students are encouraged to perform both in class and in public and there is regular assessment which focuses on the power of AfL (Assessment for Learning). For formative assessment, all aspects of a youngster’s musical lifestyle are taken into consideration.

Key Stage 3 Music in years 7, 8 and 9 is central to developing the Music philosophy at Callington which encourages students to explore their musical interests at any level and to see music education as part of an on-going lifelong interest in music and the arts.

Key Stage 4

Music Pathways in Years 10 & 11

Music at Key Stage 4 at Callington Community College offers students two different pathways of study. Students can either study GCSE Music, or follow the BTEC Level 1 / Level 2 First Award in Music.  Both pathways are rigorous, combining creativity, academia and practical activity to create a stimulating and rewarding learning experience. 

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Key Stage 4 Music is extremely practical.

Our courses are designed for those who enjoy composing, playing, and finding out about all types of music.

As well as providing for those who are interested in voice and orchestral instruments, our courses at KS4 cater well for rock, pop and jazz musicians, encouraging a broad range of students to take music to at this level and beyond.

The Music Department is well equipped with a wide variety of electronic and acoustic musical instruments and digital sound recording facilities. The 2 recording studios house impressive 48 track mixing desks which record to Logic Pro running on Mac Pro computers. There are also 26 iMac computers in the department which are used both for research purposes and for sequencing / sampling / mixing on Logic, and scoring using Sibelius software.

We have 4 teaching classrooms, complete with stages, PA systems and musical instruments, along with many smaller practice rooms for small group and individual rehearsal.

All of these facilities are widely used by all students in years 10 and 11.


GCSE Music (OCR)

Integrated Portfolio 30%, Practical Portfolio 30%, Listening Exam 40%

Studying GCSE music is your chance to develop your own musical interests as well as learning about a wide range of musical styles.  The course is very practical, with students developing their ability to play an instrument or sing and also writing their own music!  Whether you can read music or learn ‘by ear’ the GCSE music course is designed to bring out the best in you as a music maker.

Breakdown of the GCSE Music course

Two performances

Solo and group performance

Two compositions

One is set to a brief by the awarding body and the other is the student’s choice

Listening Exam
1hr 30min paper covering all styles studied through the course including notation skills.


BTEC Level 1 / Level 2 First Award in Music

The BTEC Level 1 / Level 2 First Award in Music is a broad course, covering solo and group performance, live sound, studio recording, computer music sequencing, creating & managing music products & the music industry.

It is a nationally recognised Level 2 qualification with Pass, Merit, Distinction and Distinction* grades equivalent to A* – C at GCSE.  However, some learners may fail to achieve a Pass at level 2, so the BTEC course includes the opportunity for learners to gain a level 1 qualification.

This course is for all musicians, whether you consider yourself an instrumentalist, a vocalist, a music technician, studio engineer or a DJ, or aspire to be any of these!

All students will study towards the two core units, and choose two from the selection of optional units.

Assessment for this course is through regular internal monitoring of student performances, practical work and written submissions, backed up by audio and video evidence. There is one written exam, externally assessed, which forms part of one of the core units.

Although this course is taught by curriculum music staff, students are advised that they need to maintain regular instrumental lessons for the duration of this course.

This course links directly into all Level 3 courses in Music, including A-Level, BTEC Level 3 and RSL  Level 3.


Core Units

The Music Industry

How many organisations are involved in getting the music from the musician to the audience?  The music industry unit allows the student to gain a good understanding of the scope of the music industry with a view to getting work in and using the organisations that exist. Students investigate music organisations to find out about the work they do and how they relate to and rely on one another. They are also given the opportunity to find out about the people who work in these organisations, from performers to people who work in technical, production and administrative roles.

This unit is assessed externally using a 60-minute paper-based exam marked by Edexcel. The examination is worth 50 marks, and consists of a variety of question types, including objective questions, short-answer questions and one extended writing opportunity at the end of the examination paper.

Managing a Music Product

The survival of the music industry depends on its ability to evolve and be innovative with the products created. Live performance has always been a key part of the music industry, while online delivery of recorded music is now taking over from CD sales.

The managing a music product unit enables students to manage the planning, delivery and promotion of a live concert, CD, or other music product. The success of the music product relies heavily on the planning and development process. It is important that different types of audience are understood and successful promotion is able to effectively engage these audiences.

Students work in defined roles to apply the specialist skills, knowledge and understanding required for the aspect of the work for which they are responsible. For example, students could be performers in a live concert or on a recording (either traditionally or performing with technology such as DJing), or they could be taking on the technical role of producing recordings for a CD or online product. Whichever role students take, they must demonstrate appropriate planning skills for the creation of the product.


‘Option’ Units – Students choose 2 of the following 4


Having a career as a performer requires high levels of technical ability on an instrument or voice. In order to achieve high levels of technical proficiency, musicians need to be able to develop an appropriate discipline and perseverance.

The performance unit focuses both on the development of the student as a soloist and includes many opportunities for group performance.

The student learns how to rehearse effectively, how to perform increasingly demanding pieces, and how to evaluate and critique their own solo and group performances.

Live Sound

Live sound is the heart of the music industry. The sound engineer’s role is key to its success and is a rewarding and challenging career path.

The live sound unit offers the student the opportunity to learn about live sound and carry out the role of a live sound engineer.


The ability to create audio recordings is essential for anyone with a desire to work in the music industry in a technical role.

In the music recording unit, the student uses music technology to create multi-track recordings, recording from audio sources such as acoustic instruments, amplified instruments, electronic instruments and vocals. The student learns how to control the input signals from real sound sources using gain and microphone placement. Once the tracks have been recorded successfully, the student mixes these sounds together into a finished recording using some basic processing such as reverb, chorus and EQ.

Computer Music (Sequencing)

Digital technology is a huge part of the music that surrounds us in the 21st century.

In the music sequencing unit, the student uses sequencing software packages to create music in response to a realistic, music-industry-led brief.  The student learns how software is capable of producing high-quality music using a variety of sources, including loops and software instruments, then editing their music by the application of different processes such as quantisation, looping and note editing, and enhancing the sound by the addition of appropriate plug-in effects such as reverb, delay and distortion, then creating a final, completed mix.


Key Stage 5 / Sixth Form

The Music Department at Callington is an exciting place for Sixth Form students with an interest in Music.

A large proportion of students choose to study Music as an option and we are very proud that a number of these students have gone on to study Music at some of the leading higher education establishments over the years.

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RSL Level 3 Subsidiary Diploma for Music Practitioners

The Music sector is a dynamic area of the performing arts and many of its skills are transferable between the different areas of the larger genre.

Career opportunities for people working, or wishing to work, in the music industry are wide and varied. Careers in the sector range from singing with a pop band to music publishing with many different options in between.

With the emphasis on practical music-making, this RSL Level 3 course will appeal to learners who wish to develop their playing and singing skills, their musical understanding, theoretical musical knowledge, composition and music technology skills and learn about how music fits into society and cultures around the world. Knowledge and understanding of how the music industry works will be an important feature of the course and it should appeal to learners with a wide range of musical interests.

The course delivery is largely practical in nature and makes full use of the Music department facilities. There are dedicated practice rooms, performance rooms with PA, two recording studios and teaching rooms with computer suites and relevant software.

This course will develop learners as well-rounded musicians capable of entering the music industry or higher education (university) well-prepared to be successful. It will provide an introduction to the study of the music sector, and give you the underpinning knowledge and skills needed to meet industry requirements. This course develops the transferable and higher-order skills so highly regarded by HE and employers.  For example, communication, performance and teamwork skills, as well as personal vocal/instrumental technique development are some of the skills learners need to progress to higher education, employment, self-employment or training.

Parts of the course are externally assessed. The remainder of the course is assessed by the teacher(s) and then verified by the awarding body. The results of assessment for all of the units are aggregated and learners are awarded a Pass, Merit, Distinction or Distinction*.

This RSL Level 3 Subsidiary Diploma for Music Practitioners course fits into '1 block of time' at Callington Sixth Form, but carries the equivalent number of UCAS points as 1.5 A-Levels.  We study units such as Lead Performer, Music Sequencing & Production, Understanding Musical Styles, Composing for Adverts & TV, Leading A Music-Making Activity, Planning For a Career in Music, Rehearsal Skills and Live Music Performance.  We are very flexible at Callington, so the units covered may vary with the demands of each cohort.

For those learners who really want to specialise in the music sector, there is the option to 'double up' and get a larger music qualification; the RSL Level 3 Extended Diploma for Music Practitioners, carrying the equivalent number of UCAS points as 3 A-Levels.  This course takes up '2 blocks of time' at Callington Sixth Form.  Units offered on this pathway include all those already mentioned, plus Arranging Music, Studio Recording, Studio Mixing, and Collaborative Composition, amongst others.

Entry requirements are Merit or above in BTEC Level 2 Music or RSL Level 2 Music, or Grade 4 or above in GCSE Music.  Other, standard, Sixth Form entry requirements apply.  Learners who have not studied Music at Key Stage 4 will still be considered for the course subject to a successful audition.

Activities, Clubs & Ensembles

The Music Department at Callington is particularly active in encouraging extra-curricular activities.

Music Mark LogoChoir 

Our award-winning choir sings a mixture of songs from pop, gospel and classical and is suitable for anyone who enjoys singing, wants to learn to control and develop their voice and wants to make some friends. We perform at least once a term and have opportunities for solo parts.

Junior Singers

This group is open to all students.  Younger students in Year 7 and 8 especially enjoy this activity as the club explores a wide variety of musical repertoire and warming-up techniques to enable students to develop their vocal skills.  Many students gain the confidence from this group to move on to Choir as they get older.

Friday Band

Young wind, brass and percussion players gather on Fridays in the Music Department to take part in the college Concert Wind Band.  As it rehearses on a Friday, it has over the years become affectionately known as the “Friday Band”.  This group shows that the future of wind band music in the College will be dynamic and secure in the years to come.


The college Orchestra has a good balance of wind, brass, string and percussion players, and is hugely popular at any College concert.  Many students, once joining the Orchestra, still enjoy attending Friday Band, where they may take on more of a leadership role.

Brass Ensemble

The Brass Ensemble is an ensemble run by our brass teacher, meeting once a week at lunchtime.  Popular music, film scores and traditional brass band repertoire feature in their playlist, making this group hugely entertaining at any of the college concerts.

Soul Band

Callington’s Soul Band are an enthusiastic collection of young musicians who love to play a selection of Soul & Motown classics as well as soul-arrangements of more modern pieces.

Production Orchestra

The Production Orchestra meets when required, in the build up to the college’s production.  Usually made up of senior instrumentalists, members of the Production Orchestra are playing at the highest level, reading complicated musical score, accompanying actors for the entire run (usually 4 nights plus dress rehearsals) of the production.  In recent years the college has staged “Return to the Forbidden Planet”, “Grease”, “Hairspray”, “Fame”, "School of Rock" and "Little Shop of Horrors" amongst others. 

Japanese Taiko Drumming

The Callington Taiko group has been up and running for several years now, inspired by workshops given by Kagamusha Taiko of Exeter.

Japanese Taiko Drumming is unlike any other school-based percussion ensemble … in a common Samba band it is unlikely that all of the instruments will have been made by the students themselves, yet this is exactly what the students in the Taiko group have done.

Taiko is an ancient Japanese form of percussion using large drums. The drums range in size from roughly a snare drum (“shime”), to drums as large as a car (the “o-daiko”). The most common drum size in Taiko is the “chu-daiko” which is the size of a wine barrel. Most of Callington’s drums are of the chu-daiko sort.

During the 1900’s, Taiko drumming became a musical art form that involved a music ensemble and tightly choreographed movements. This is Taiko as we know it today.

One of Taiko’s most defining aspects is its dynamic playing style. Taiko playing is loud, hard, and fast, and involves a lot of choreographed movement which many identify with Japanese martial arts.

There are more than 8,000 Taiko groups in Japan, but it is only over the last 30 years that Taiko drumming has taken root in the western world.

The Callington Taiko group are a large ensemble, mostly made up of Key Stage 3 students with older students assisting with the leadership of the group.  Heavily in demand, the group regularly perform both in-school and in the local community.

Music Club

This is for Key Stage 4 and Sixth Form students to continue any creative composition and performance work. Pupils can use the Apple Macs in the department to work on Logic Pro and Sibelius.  Teachers will be on hand to give extra support to pupils wishing to develop their coursework. Pupils can also work in the practice rooms (which can sometimes be busy during lesson time) and run rehearsals to prepare for forthcoming performances for coursework and concerts. Pupils can use this time to catch up on music homework or start vital revision before exams in the summer.

Music Ambassadors

If you have ever been to one of the College's music events, then you can be certain that it only happened with the help of our wonderful Music Ambassadors.  

Our Music Subject Ambassadors are a group of dynamic students that have a real passion for the subject.  Alongside their music lessons, they are involved with a wide variety of clubs and ensembles for the music department and are a source of phenomenal support for the Music Staff, and a wonderful example of student voice and leadership, with many older Ambassadors taking on a leading role in lessons, clubs and ensembles. 

They meet at least once per half term to plan concerts and fundraising events, among many other ways to help inspire other students to get involved in music and the music industry.

Flute Ensemble

One of the Music Department’s latest ensembles is the Flute Ensemble.  This ensemble meets once a week at lunchtime and is comprised solely of Flautists.  Lead by our older Music Ambassadors, this ensemble gives students the opportunity to develop their skills and techniques on their instrument as part of a fun and dynamic group.  

Flute Ensemble covers a wide range of genres, from Pop to Classical and Film Music, and can benefit Flautists of all abilities. 

Instrumental Tuition 

Learning an instrument or singing, at any level, is great fun and hugely rewarding.

At Callington there is an enormous variety of music going on, with plenty of opportunities for young singers and players to share their music-making with others.

At present we employ a team of excellent teachers who teach a wide variety of instruments and singing.  These instruments include:

  • Brass (Trumpet, Cornet, Trombone, French Horn, etc...)Music Mark Logo
  • Flute, Clarinet & Saxophone
  • Drum Kit
  • Guitar - Electric & Acoustic (Rock / Pop)
  • Electric Bass Guitar
  • Keyboard & Piano
  • Singing
  • Violin & Viola
  • Cello

Instrumental Lesson Timetables are displayed in the Music corridor and on the  Staff VLE (you may ask your tutor during morning registration to display your instrument's timetable).

If you would like to talk to us about instrumental lessons at Callington, please contact Mr Lane on 01579 383292 ext. 243 or email 

If you would like to request instrumental lessons for your child please first read these Terms & Conditions, then complete this form.


Music Mark 

In the Music Department at Callington you'll find that the staff are dedicated and supportive of your learning and progress.

Music Mark Certificate


In fact, we're very proud that we've been awarded the "Music Mark", which means that important people in organisations such as the UK Association for Music Education, ABRSM, & the Cornwall Education Hub have recognised the value that Callington Community College place on Music; they've applauded the hard work of staff to make sure you are able to access a high-quality music education and that you get a broad and balanced curriculum during your time here at Callington.

For more information on Music Mark, please click here.