This course caters to students from the age of 6 to 18 years old.

The Western Music Department’s Academic Music Programme nurtures serious-minded young musicians and takes their musical knowledge and playing to the next level. It is a wonderful opportunity for children with a passion for music to develop.

The programme comprises of one to-one instrumental tuition, group classes in music theory and history, and ensemble playing, all scheduled after school hours.

Students are carefully assessed by the QMA internal examinations and by the reputed Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music (ABRSM) examinations.

What are the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music ABRSM Examinations?

The ABRSMs are graded music exams that provide a structured framework for a steady progression from beginner to becoming an accomplished musician.

Instrumental exams are offered from Grades 1 and up to Diploma level. Students may enter any practical or Music Theory exam grade without having taken any other, however, there is a requirement to have passed Grade 5 Theory before Grade 6–8 Practical exams can be taken.

Passes in Grades 6–8 in either Music Theory or Practical exams may be used as part of the UCAS tariff in obtaining a university place in Britain.

The two types of Grade exams are as follows:

Practical exams:

These are by far the most commonly taken exams in the world. These exams incorporate four individual components; set pieces, sight reading, aural and scales.

The exams are marked out of 150, where 100 is a pass, 120 a pass with merit, and 130 a distinction. In the aural component, candidates demonstrate their understanding of melody, harmony, rhythm and form by responding to questions about music and by singing or playing an instrument of their choice.

Music theory exams:

Music Theory exam is a written exam. The exam paper lasts between one and a half to three hours depending on the grade.

The exams are marked out of 100, where 66 is a pass, 80 for merit, and 90 for distinction. Candidates are required to pass Grade 5 Theory and Grade 5 Practical Musicianship to progress to Practical exams at Grades 6, 7,8 and the Diploma.

Preparatory Levels

These levels are designed as an introduction to formal music studies and some prior exposure to music is preferred. It is an ideal opportunity for children who already love music and for those who have the desire to learn an instrument.


Students in Preparatory Level 1 learn to play these instruments over the course of the academic year:

Our instruments


At this level, studies will comprise of following each week: 

  • Two individual instrumental lessons for 30 minutes each per week.
  • One group musicianship and theory lesson for 60 minutes. 
  • One Junior Choir Ensemble lesson for 45 minutes per week.


These grades are designed as an intensive, academic programme for those who are serious about studying music or already play an instrument. 

At these Grades, studies will comprise the following each week: 

  • One 60 or two 30 minute instrumental lessons on your principal instrument.
  • One optional 30 minute (at Grade 1-3) or 60 minute (at Grade 4-5) instrumental lessons on an additional instrument, at an extra cost.
  • One 60 minute theory lesson covering music history, aural training, solfege, notation, music reading and analysis. 
  • One 60, 90 or 120 minutes of ‘Music in Practice’ ensemble session.

Students must nominate which ensemble(s) they would like to participate in. Entrance into each ensemble is mostly by audition only. 

Students are required take two practical internal exams (or one QMA internal and one ABRSM practical exam) at the end of each grade. 

Note: The fees for ABRSM theory and practical exams are not included in the course 


These grades are designed as an intensive, academic programme for children usually aged between 14 and 18 who are preparing to study music at university level. This course will help the students prepare for an audition to secure them a place at university to study music. 

Some courses are taken over a two year period depending on the background of the student.

  • One 60 minute instrumental lesson on your principal instrument. 

Advanced students at Grade 7 and above will be offered one 90 minute instrumental lesson or two 45 minute lessons on their principal instrument. **Specify at additional cost or not.**


Students must select at least one elective
  • One 60 minute theory and musicianship lesson covering: history; four part harmony, figured bass, composition, and analysis. 
  • One 60, 90 or 120 minute ‘Music in Practice’ ensemble session. Students must nominate which ensemble(s) they would like to participate in. Entrance into each ensemble is by audition. 
  • One 60 minute lesson on a second instrument.