spotlight on… Music performance

Here, we take a closer look at our highly popular Music Performance course which is available for you to study here at Cowley Sixth Form.

We have fantastic music facilities here at Cowley Sixth Form, as a member Music Mark school, and this course is incredibly popular with a 100% pass rate.

We asked one of our current students, Mia, to give us a bit of insight into the course, what’s involved and what it’s like studying here at Cowley Sixth Form College.


When did you first consider studying music at sixth form?

I don’t think it was ever an option to me not to pick Music at sixth form. Ever since taking Music at GCSE level at Cowley, it has always been my favourite subject and something I knew I wanted to pursue in the future. In Year 10, my band was given an opportunity to take part in a ‘Battle of the Bands’ competition at the Tunza Centre in which we performed against the sixth form bands at the time, and won. Since this, I knew I wanted to continue studying Music at sixth form.

What was it that captured your interest in the subject?

Ever since I was young, I’ve been passionate about Music. I thought it was amazing that I could pick something that I was so passionate about and loved doing as a subject. When I first saw the older students in sixth form performing frequently, I was hooked and knew that I wanted to do the same.

What has surprised you most about the subject?

I have been most surprised at the life skills it has given me. My confidence has gone from non-existent at the start of Year 9 for it now to be at an all-time high. I no longer get nervous when performing in front of people, whether it be at big gigs or small gatherings. It has helped me a lot socially and I now push myself to do much more things than I did before as I have the confidence to do so.

There are no external examinations, it is 100% coursework, how did this benefit you as training musician?

It takes a lot of pressure off your shoulders as you aren’t just graded on two exams at the end of Year 13, like many other subjects. Being graded throughout Years 12 and 13 for numerous performances and coursework is fantastic and allows for improvement too. Even if you get a merit in one unit, you can learn how to improve from that and still get a distinction overall. The teachers are great at pointing out where you can improve, and offer help along the way.

If you are struggling with a question/topic what support is available?

Whenever I am struggling with anything, I can always email my teachers and they always get back to me. You can usually find Mr Watkins easily if you want to ask something face-to-face too. I know that vocal, guitar and drum lessons are also available if you need extra help with your practical abilities. Mr Watkins and Mr Houghton always make time to help you, no matter what.

What do you enjoy most about the lessons?

I love how much you can get involved with each lesson and that each lesson is never the same as the last. Mr Watkins and Mr Houghton always make the lessons entertaining and fun no matter if you’re doing written work or practical work, they’re great and really enthusiastic about their job which makes it a great working environment.

What have you found the most challenging? 

The most challenging aspect of Music is time management. You could have four weeks to learn six songs and if you’re working with other people, you have to find time in everyone’s busy schedules for rehearsal, which can be very tricky. However, everything is always manageable. You can always use the practice rooms at break and lunch, or in your frees, which really helped me and my ensembles progress.

What advice would you give someone thinking of taking the subject at Cowley Sixth Form College?

I would say to definitely take this subject, however, to be prepared to be challenged as it is a big step up from GCSE level. Music is so expressive and enjoyable and I always know it’s going to be a fun lesson.

If you had to pick your subjects again, would you still pick music If yes, why? If no, why not? 

I would 100% pick Music again. When I look at my timetable, I always know it’s going to be a good day if I have Music. It’s such an enjoyable lesson in which you will never fail to have a laugh with your peers and teachers while also completing a lot of work. I don’t even see the tasks I need to complete for Music as work because it is so fun. I have enjoyed every bit of studying it so far.


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