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Music Department

Learning Resources - Courses in S1, S2 and S3 - Qualifications in S4, S5 and S6 - Extra-Curricular Groups - Meet the Staff - Examples of Pupils' Work - Links - Photo Galleries

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The school orchestra perform at the 1000x1000 exhibition in June 2009

The Newbattle High School music department is a very active department with a rich and diverse curriculum as well as numerous extra-curricular activities. The department is well equipped, with four large classrooms and a number of practice rooms as well as a recording studio for Music Technology courses.

Keyboards in S3 musicThe Music Course in S1, S2 and S3

From S1 until the end of S3, all pupils will experience a broad general education where they will work across the experiences and outcomes of Curriculum for Excellence.

In S1 and S2, all pupils will attend Music for one period a week and will also have a second rota period which alternates between Music and Drama. Our first year pupils will play a range of instruments including keyboard, acoustic guitar, electric guitar, bass guitar, voice, drum kit and tuned percussion. Throughout S1, pupils will choose at least two of these instruments on which they will develop their performing skills.

There is also the opportunity to learn brass, woodwind, voice, piano, drum kit and guitar with a specialist teacher. Instrumental Lessons are free of charge for pupils. Those who receive Instrumental Lessons, and pupils who learn instruments outside of school, have opportunities to work with department ensembles such as Rhythm and Blues Orchestra, Choir; Percussion Ensemble, Jazz Band and Guitar Ensemble.

Singing in S3 musicIn S3, pupils are given the opportunity to choose which two of the Expressive Arts they wish to specialise in. For full details of the choices available, see the S3 Coursing Handbook.  Courses in S3 will deliver experiences and outcomes, which will prepare pupils for appropriate National Qualifications in S4. 

The S3 music course is a fantastic way to develop all aspects of learning. Pupils will be working both independently and in groups and will have the opportunity to perform in school concerts if they wish to do so. They can also create bands within the class, either covering other peoples’ songs or writing their own. This will help to build confidence in all areas of the subject. They will develop the skills gained in S1 and S2 in both of their instruments as well as working on arranging and mixing skills and writing their own songs. They will learn to analyse music, breaking it down and using these skills to create their own music.

In most cases pupils will be working on Experiences and Outcomes at Fourth Level. The course prepares pupils for qualifications in Music or Music Technology at National 4 or National 5 in S4.

Performing in concertMusic courses in S4, S5 and S6

In the Senior phase, pupils work on courses that lead towards National Qualifications at the end of S4, S5 and S6.

In S4, S5 and S6, pupils can choose to take courses in the Music department. Each course takes five periods per week. For full details of the courses available, see the S4/5/6 Coursing Handbook. Courses currently offered in the Music department in S4, S5 and S6 lead to awards in:

  • Music Performing at National 3, National 4, National 5, Higher and Advanced Higher level.
  • Music Technology at National 3, National 4, National 5, Higher and Advanced Higher level. This course offers pupils the opportunity to experience the skills of Sound Engineering in the Recording Studio and Midi Sequencing (a great opportunity to arrange music digitally through computer software).
    • All pupils on either course will study three mandatory units in listening, composing and performing (solo instrument or voice). The fourth unit will be either an extra performance unit, or a technology element.

Piano tuition with Mrs Dougan, our specialist piano instructorInstrumental Instruction

We have a highly trained team of specialist instructors who offer instruction in the following instruments:

  • Brass (cornet, trumpet, French horn, tenor horn, euphonium, trombone and tuba)
  • Woodwind (flute, clarinet and saxophone).

We have a limited selection of the above instruments which can be loaned to pupils, especially in the early stages of instruction.

  • Guitar (Acoustic, Electric and Bass) - Pupils must provide their own instruments
  • Piano
  • Voice
  • Percussion (Drumkit, Xylophone and all other Percussion).
  • Strings

All pupils wishing to take advantage of specialist instruction will be expected, under their parents/carers' guidance, to practice a minimum of ten minutes daily (at the early stage and progressively more as they improve), without exception.

The guitar ensemble at the Christmas concert 2011

Instrument lessons will run on a rota basis so that pupils will normally not be extracted from the same lesson more than once per month. At the instrumental instructor’s discretion, pupils will be expected to take part in an extra-curricular group.

Performance Opportunities for Pupils

  • School Concerts: every Christmas and Summer. These often have a theme with costumes and have included A Night at the West End, Summer Beach Party, James Bond, Latino Night, Summer Hoe-down & Swing Night.
  • School Shows – open to all pupils.
  • Dalkeith Rotary Young Musician Competition - open to all pupils and held every year.
  • Musical Performances – including Grease in June 2018, Hairspray: The Musical in November 2016, Trapped! (written by pupils) in March 2010, Back to the 80s in March 2007 and Shaked and Stirred (James Bond theme) in 2005.
  • Community Events - Gala Days, Community Fayres and visits to residential care homes.
  • Performing in the Wider Community - Fund raising performances in shops and supermarkets both local and further afield.
  • Midlothian Festival of Music - many pupils perform in many different groups at this annual festival of Midlothian’s best musicians. This is held in the Usher Hall every year.

Weekly Music Clubs and Rehearsals



After School


Senior Choir

Percussion Ensemble

Supported Study

Rhythm and Blues Orchestra

Rock Band

Supported Study

Pop Choir (S1 and S2)

Rock Band



Jazz Band

Guitar Group

Supported Study
Supported Study

Meet the Staff

Mrs K McLeod
Mrs K McLeod,
Principal Teacher (Curriculum)
(Music and Drama)
Mrs L Porteous
Mrs L Porteous,
Teacher of Music
Mr J Davis
Mr J Davis,
Teacher of Music
Teacher of Music
Mrs A Blackwood
Mrs A Blackwood,
Teacher of Music (maternity leave)
Mr A Knox
Mr A Knox,
Brass Instructor
Mr A Pilcher
Mr A Pilcher,
Guitar Instructor
Mr D Knox
Mr D Knox,
Woodwind Instructor
Mrs F Mitchell
Mrs F Mitchell,
Voice Instructor
Miss B Waddell
Miss B Waddell,
Percussion Instructor
Mrs A Dougan
Mrs A Dougan,
Piano/keyboard instructor
Ms T Dance
Ms T Dance,
Strings Instructor
Mr S Whitefiueld
Mr S Whitefield,
Strings Instructor

Music Performances

The Junior Choir perform at the Grand Celebration concert in June 2009

The Junior Choir perform at the summer concert in June 2011

The entire cast performing a song from My Fair Lady in
Night at the West End in March 2008

S6 singers in the summer concert in June 2011

The entire cast performing Abba in Night at the West End in March 2008

The entire cast performing Abba in Night at the West End in March 2008

Melissa Davidson as Maria, with the rest of the cast, in the Sound of Music performance in Night at the West End in March 2008

Melissa Davidson as Maria, with the Von Trapp children, in the Sound of Music performance in Night at the West End in March 2008

Also on this website...

Photo Galleries of Department Events:

Videos of music concerts from 1990 to 2008 are on our Youtube page here

Photographs: all newbattlehigh's public flickr photographs tagged with Music

External Links