NEW! The Music Diploma Programme

The DP Music course at GWAS allows students to develop their musicianship at an advanced level through the three areas of performing, composing, and music appraisal. The combined intellectual rigour and practical discipline required to succeed in all three areas make this a highly challenging course which will develop transferable skills relevant to a wide range of possible academic pathways after completion of the Diploma Programme.

Students on the DP Music course will develop a critically-informed approach to the interpretation of music through focused, masterclass-style performance workshops, culminating in a professionally recorded portfolio of performances on the student’s principal instrument(s). Students will also refine their music composition skills through a range of composition projects in styles of their own choosing, coupled with a ‘techniques of composition’ programme tailored to the DP Music course requirements. Both composition and performance studies are enhanced and supported through the study of music analysis, music history, comparative music studies and the philosophy of music as part of the wider area of ‘musical perception’.

In order to succeed in the DP Music programme at GWAS, students are required to have significant performing experience on their principal instrument(s), as well as a solid grounding in music theory and experience in music composition.


“Music enables students to communicate in ways that go beyond their oral language abilities. Music delights and stimulates, soothes and comforts us; music allows students to communicate in a unique way. Musical learning and experiences begin with the voice. It is important that students are given opportunities to discover a broad range of music experiences including classifying and analysing sounds, composing, exploring body music, harmonizing, listening, playing instruments, singing, notation, reading music, songwriting and recording.”

PYP Arts Scope and Sequence Document - Guidance for Music (2009)

The GEMS PYP Music Programme of Inquiry allows for children to sample all of the above opportunities and experiences, whilst providing a framework for their learning and demonstrating progression of knowledge, skills and understanding.

The Programme of Inquiry is divided into three key musical concepts or areas; Elements of Music, Performing Together, and Composition and Playing Instruments. Each year group covers all three areas plus at least one additional unit integrated within the class Programme of Inquiry.




In music lessons at GWAS, students have the opportunity to explore music from a wide range of cultures and social contexts. Performance and composition on both live instruments and music software are integrated with an introduction to music theory and cultural studies. Topics explored in music units of inquiry include Film Music, Jazz and Improvisation, Music Around the World, Music and Technology, Minimalism, and the Music of Scotland.

In addition to building on their vocal and instrumental skills from the PYP Music programme, students learn to play the guitar, drums, bass guitar, djembe, and keyboard. The music department is also equipped with a full set of iMac computers with Sibelius and GarageBand software as well as a state-of-the-art professional recording studio. This technology is integrated throughout all units, ensuring that students are developing the skills of 21st-Century musicians.