All pupils in the F Block who are learning an instrument through the School, and are of an appropriate standard, may opt to study class music.  

For those who wish to take their academic study of music further, we offer IGCSE music in the E block and D block and AQA A level music in the sixth form. We also offer AS Level Music Technology in the sixth form.

The F block music curriculum at Rugby School seeks to broaden pupils’ understanding of music theory and develop their interrelated skills of performing, composing and listening.

The course is taught linearly, with time equally divided amongst the following strands:

  • Music Theory

  • Listening and the Classical Canon

  • Music Technology

  • Performance

Pupils are taught theory in small groups to allow the development of the broader musical skills necessary for each individual.

Music scholars have the option to take music in two option blocks to allow extra individual practice and rehearsal time.

We offer the IGCSE music course. There are three components:


  • Aural awareness and perception in relation to Western music of the Baroque, Classical, Romantic and 20th Century eras

  • Identifying and commenting on a range of music from cultures in different countries

  • Knowledge and understanding of a set work and a world focus area

  • Knowledge and ability to use Western musical notation


  • Technical competence on one or more instruments, playing solo and in an ensemble


  • Ability to create good ideas and structure them well

  • Ability to notate ideas accurately and write well for the chosen instruments

Within the GCSE timetable, ABRSM grade V theory tuition is also offered, with the expectation that all pupils will have passed Grade V before the end of the IGCSE music course.

The AQA music course has three components:

  1. Listening - 40 per cent Exam

  2. Performing - 30 per cent Coursework

  3. Composing - 30 per cent Coursework

AS coursework is submitted at the end of the AS year, and currently, the set works and set areas are:  

  • AS – Britpop from 1960 to the present day  

  • AS – Beethoven Symphony No 1  

  • A2 – 20th Century Choral music  

  • A2 – Shostakovich Symphony No 5

Whilst studying the A level course, pupils also receive tuition in grade VI – VIII Associated Board Music Theory. All pupils are expected to pass grade VI music theory by the end of their LXX year, and either grade VII or VIII by the end of the XX. 

In the LXX and XX we offer Edexcel Music Technology AS level, taught over two years with half-timetabling (four periods per week). Pupils learn to become competent music producers using a range of audio equipment in our studio and technology classrooms. They are also encouraged to explore electronic composition in a variety of formats, with coursework submitted as multi-track recordings, sequenced recordings, and creative sequenced arrangements. Pupils are assessed on their ability to capture, process and mix live sound, as well as remix, arrange and sequence.

Alongside the practical aspects of the course, pupils learn about Popular Music from 1910 to the present day and the innovations in instrument and recording technology that have happened along the way. Music Technology pupils are often called on to record a number of school bands and ensembles, giving them a variety of recording opportunities and challenges to help develop their skills beyond the scope of the syllabus.

The course is mainly assessed through coursework (70 per cent), with a listening paper (30 per cent) which explores the recording and production techniques pupils have used throughout the course, in relation to pieces they may not have heard before. Each year two musical styles are used as a focus, this year being the year of ‘Rock n Roll’ and ‘Rap and Hip Hop’.

For those applying to Rugby there are music scholarships available. Scholarships are offered at the following stages with the minimum standard normally expected as:

  • 11+ entry - at least Grade IV standard in the main instrument

  • 13+ entry - at least Grade VI standard in the main instrument

  • 16 + entry - at least Grade VIII standard in the main instrument

Anyone interested in applying for a music award at Rugby is strongly recommended to arrange an informal pre-audition with Director of Music, Richard Tanner, up to two or three years before entry. Please click here to access the Music Scholarships page and download the brochures below for more information. Music is also featured under our Boarding School Life section here.

Useful Resources

Music Scholarship Leaflet



R.J. Tanner, M.A., F.R.C.O, A.R.A.M., HonF.G.C.M. (Director of Music)

J.T. Oxley, M.A., A.R.C.M. (Head of Singing)

D. Blackadder, Dip. R.C.M., A.R.C.M. (Head of Brass)

Miss A.H. Brogaard, Dip. R.D.A.M. (Head of Strings)

R.F. Colley, M.A., L.R.A.M., A.R.C.M., Dip. R.A.M., P.G.C.E. (Head of Piano)

A. R. Davey L.T.C.L. (Head of Woodwind)

Mrs. S. Sanders, B.Mus. (Head of Percussion, Rock & Pop)  

G. Roberts, M.Mus.,G.R.S.M., L.R.A.M., A.R.A.M. (Head of Guitar)

E. Ackers, A.G.S.M (Cello)


J.A. Williams, B.A., M.A., Dip. A.B.R.S.M., P.G.C.E. (Head of Academic Music)