Welcome to the Music Department

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“Music is a moral law. It gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, and life to everything… Without music, life would be an error.”


“Some people think music education is a privilege, but I think it’s essential to being human.”

Jewel – singer, songwriter, and instrumentalist

Welcome to the Toot Hill Music Department. We place huge value on the importance of music to the all-round development of our students. And we take great pride in nurturing their talents and abilities to the full. We also believe that access to learning should not be a privilege, but an opportunity available to everyone. That is why we offer free instrument tuition on saxophone, trumpet or guitar to every Year 7 student. With this culture of participation, and the calibre of our amazing teaching team, it’s no surprise that our GCSE results are way above the national average.

But great academic results are only a part of what our students and staff achieve together. We can also celebrate the revival and success of the Toot Hill Big Band, which is now much in demand at public events such as the Bingham Bonfire Night, Summer Fairs and other festivities, often with thousands in attendance. We also have a growing Folk Band which performs both in-house and public gigs such as the Barnstone Ceilidh, raising money for Nottingham Children’s Hospital and winning many admirers along the way. Take a look at our Extra Curricular Calendar and you’ll see a fantastic range of weekly activities – from Rock and Jazz to Flute, Brass and Strings – all provided free of charge to students and offering great scope for ensemble music making. The rock bands can go on to perform at our annual T Fest – Toot Hill’s very own Glastonbury, staged at the end of every school year. In recent years the school has also staged numerous successful Musicals at Newark Palace Theatre, including West Side Story. And twice a year well over 100 students combine to perform at our biannual concerts – events that play a big part in building confidence and nurturing talent.

Why does music matter?

Music is a universal language; a unique form of communication that can change the way students feel, think and act. Ofsted says that children’s involvement in music is a powerful vehicle for self-expression, increasing their self esteem and maximizing their progress in education – and not just in music. Research has shown evidence of a link between music and improved reading and increased IQ scores. A number of studies have demonstrated the positive impact music can have on personal and social development, including increased self reliance, confidence, self esteem, a sense of achievement and ability to relate to others. Playing in music groups can help to develop discipline, teamwork, cooperation, self confidence and social skills. So even for a student who has no intention of pursuing a music-related career, a music education can provide tools that will be useful in all walks of life.

Free tuition for a year

We don’t want to put barriers in the way of students giving music a go to see if it’s something they’re good at or just enjoy. That’s why we give all Year 7’s the chance to learn either the saxophone, guitar or trumpet completely free of charge for the whole year. Weekly lessons are 20 minutes long and take place in groups of 2-4 (sax and trumpet) and 4-8 (guitar). At the end of the year all students have the opportunity to do an in-house Grade 1 examination where they play a Grade 1 piece for an examiner. The fact that every year we have about 300 out of 350 students doing an instrumental exam speaks volumes for the success of our free tuition policy.

After all, if you don’t give it a go, how will you know?

GCSEs: way above average

Our recent track record of consistent improvement in Music GCSE reached a new high in 2017. Our results were 100% in the A-B bracket, compared to the national A-B average of 55%.

Of these, 36.3% were Grade A* (National Average 8.8%); 36.3% were Grade A (National Average 23.2%); 27.4% were Grade B (National Average 23.3%).

Congratulations to all our students and staff.

October 2020


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