Music is very important to life at St Mary’s. Girls in Years 7 to 9 have specialist class lessons and Music is a popular choice for GCSE, with an excellent success rate (the vast majority of students achieve A* or A).

A third of senior pupils learn an instrument. Our established team of experienced instrumental teachers offer lessons on the flute, oboe clarinet, all saxophones and brass, violin, viola, cello, guitar (acoustic and electric) drums, piano and voice. Lessons on other instruments can be arranged if there is a demand. The teachers prepare and enter those pupils who wish to for Associated Board, Trinity/Guildhall and Rock School examinations. Girls have taken music exams from a variety of boards achieving passes across the entire range from Grade 1 to Grade 8 with Distinction. Music lessons are taught individually and are competitively priced at £150 per term.

Years 7, 8 and 9

All pupils at St Mary's study music until the end of Key Stage 3 and are taught in mixed ability groups. We aim to stimulate an appreciation and enjoyment of music through an active and practical involvement in the main musical activities of listening, performing, composing and appraising. We aim to encourage involvement in various forms of music making, both as an individual and as a member of a group helping to develop a sense of shared experience.

Topics are divided into half-termly units including:

Year 7: Major and Minor, Working with Chords, Voices in Layers

Year 8: Ragtime Music, Rondos and Recurring Structures, Studying with a Baroque Concerto

Year 9: Ground Bass Variations, Film Music, Music for Dance



Music is an option at GCSE, following the AQA syllabus.

For more information about the current GCSE syllabus, please download the latest St Mary's GCSE Options Guide:

Clubs & Activities

We have a choir, chamber choir and orchestra that perform at concerts every term. The Carol Service, Wassail Evening, Spring Concert and Prize Giving are whole school highlights. There are also events focusing on particular year groups such as music showcase for Year 7 and 8 and the Cabaret Evening for Year 9 and 10. We combine with the Drama department for productions such as the RSC version of The Wizard of Oz.

Many of our musicians have competed in the Colchester Music Festival and other local events such as those associated with the Colchester Roman River Festival. Some of our musicians perform in county music groups such as the Essex Youth Orchestra, Young Essex Jazz and Essex Young Singers and national groups such as the National Youth Wind Ensemble.

Girls are very enthusiastic about the many trips to see musical productions which have recently included Wicked, Les Miserables and Miss Saigon.


Head of Music Miss Fiona Cross BA (Hons)
Teacher Mrs Claire Bowell BA (Hons)
Choral Director Mrs Victoria Lascelles BMus (Hons)
Brass, Clarinet, Saxophone Mr Colin Matthews LLCM Cert Music Ed
Flute and Piano Mrs Mary Blanchard BMus (CNAA) LTCL
Oboe, Clarinet Mrs Gill Gerrard GTCL LTCL
Violin, Cello Mrs Chris Jessop BA Music UCE
Drums Mr Tim Clapp
Singing Mrs Velma Guyer
Singing Mrs Helen Wright
Guitar Mr G Clark BA

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