Music Subject Staff

Mr Ellwood Head of Performing Arts - Music
Mr Pearson Teacher of Music HPL Turing House


Subject Overview

Music at Ormskirk School provides students with fun, active and engaging learning experiences. Our aim is to provide a high-quality music education for all that instils a love of music in our students. We want our students to be creative within their composition tasks, perform musically and do so with confidence. We encourage our students to listen critically to a range of music which includes the music of today, music from different times and music from different cultures. Students will receive directed high quality feedback on how to improve throughout the course of their learning. Students will encounter opportunities to develop their ability to play an instrument; they will be encouraged to talk freely and confidently about different styles and genres of music. Music is first introduced to Year 7s through singing and developing confidence around using our own voice as an instrument, later students will encounter a range of different instruments, in addition to, music technology; and will learn to play them. Our lessons begin and end with music and students leave our classroom excited about what they will learn the next time we meet.  

Key Stage 3

Across Y7, 8 & 9 students receive a broad and balanced curriculum which focus upon 3 key strands: Performance, Composition & Appraisal (Listening). Students will develop confidence in using their voices to sing and will learn to play instruments independently and as part of a group. Students will be introduced to a range of musical styles and genres which will include today’s popular music, the blues, reggae, rock n roll, dance music, film music and aspects of world music.  

Year 7 is based around learning the foundational skills required to access the curriculum throughout their time at Ormskirk School. It will build upon prior knowledge explored during the primary phase and further develop their confidence in their own abilities. Students will first be taught how to use their voice in a variety of ways and will learn to become a more confident singer/performer. Students will be introduced to the concept of working together as part of a musical ensemble and how to work effectively in this format. Students will develop an understanding of key musical elements and will learn how to play basic riffs, melodies and to accompany these with chords and harmony. Students will understand basic forms of notation and will develop their aural skills to enable them to identify key musical elements. 

Year 8 will build upon the key learning which students will have encountered throughout Year 7. Students will be introduced to a range of different styles of music such as the blues, reggae, rock n roll, dance music, film music and aspects of world music. Students will be taught to play with increasing accuracy and will understand how to incorporate a range of advanced musical features within their playing. In addition to this; students will be taught how to create their own music from improvising to sequencing their own piece of film music for a film sequence.  

During Year 9 students will enhance their understanding of what they have learned throughout Year 7 and 8. This enrichment will enable them to develop further musicianship skills and will deepen their understanding and passion for music.  

Key Stage 4

60% Coursework 

  • 30% Composition 

  • 30% Performance 

40% Exam (Music Appraisal) 


Students will continue to study a range of musical styles and genres, historical periods and will learn about musical conventions and significant composers. Their understanding music will be explored utilising an interdisciplinary approach. For example students will learn about Toto’s 80s hit “Africa” and will learn how to actually play this as a means to learning about the song in preparation for their final exams at the end of year 11.  


Students will be expected to create two compositions totalling a minimum of 3 minutes. One being a free choice composition and the other being an answer to a brief that is set each year by EDUQAS.  


Students will also produce performances as both a soloist and as part of an ensemble. Each performance must be to a standard of at least Grade 3 and should total at least 4 minutes in duration. Students are assessed on their accuracy, technical control, expression and interpretation. 

Key Stage 5 

L3 BTEC National – Extended Certificate in Music Performance 

Music Performance is an excellent course choice for musicians wishing to further develop their practice and understanding of music performance. Students will learn about how the music industry operates, develop understanding of music theory, develop performance skills as a soloist and as part of an ensemble. Students will be expected to perform in a live environment in front of an audience and will be expected to plan and deliver their own performance based on a set list of songs released to them by Pearson during their second year. 

Assessment for this course is both internal and external and is ongoing throughout the course. Students will be expected to respond to a brief released to them and meet deadlines for submission.  

The Unit Overview is as follows: 

Unit 1 – Practical Music Theory & Harmony 

Unit 2 – Professional Practice in the Music Industry 

Unit 3 – Ensemble Music Performance 

Unit 6 – Solo Performance 


At Ormskirk School, we are extremely lucky to have a brilliant team of highly accomplished musicians who deliver individual music tuition.

If you would like to learn flute/keyboard/piano/violin/drums/guitar/bass/singing/brass then we have a teacher for you! We also have a number of instruments which we can lend to you for FREE. Lessons take place during the school day and lesson times are rotated to avoid you missing the same academic lesson every week. We also offer a number of ensemble opportunities.

Students in receipt of free school meals receive a 50% discount on the cost of their lessons.

So, why not take up a new instrument? You could be playing as part of one of our fantastic concerts, before you know it!

If you are interested in having lessons with one of our teachers, please read them information about them, below. Ask your parent/carer to read the information about prices. If they agree to the lessons then they will need to fill in the application form and we will get you started right away!

clefTaran Harris

'Rock' Instruments

Taran Harris is a singer, guitarist, bassist, drummer and trumpet player based in Liverpool and teaches ‘rock’ instruments in Ormskirk School. He graduated from the University of Liverpool in 2013, having achieved both a Bachelor’s Degree in Music and a Master’s Degree in Applied Music Technology and Musicology. He is a prolific performer, having performed in several prestigious concert venues around the country including London’s Festival Hall, The Wales Millennium Centre and Birmingham Symphony Hall to name but a few. Taran is a tenor in the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Choir, and the Liverpool Chamber Choir and was a member of the male voice choir ‘John’s Boys’ who made it to the grand final of BBC’s choir of the year 2016. Along with his wife Aimee, Taran has been the composer and musical director for MATE productions, in association with Shakespeare North, for the last three years, performing his own compositions across the north west and in Stratford Upon Avon. Taran has performed at the opening and closing concerts of the National Eistedfodd in Llangollen, including the world premiere of Karl Jenkins’ ‘Adiemus Colores’, conducted by the composer.

Helen Goldsmith


Helen GoldsmithHelen Goldsmith graduated from the prestigious Leeds Conservatoire with a performance degree in 2016 and is an active performer and educator across Liverpool, Lancashire and Leeds in multi reeds encompassing clarinet, flute and saxophone.

During her time in Leeds, Helen was awarded 2nd prize for “track of the year award” alongside her duo partner Ben Cockburn for their rendition of Bozza’s Aria for clarinet and piano. The duo, Reed & Ivory also performed their own contemporary music tour across the UK in 2017 visiting Newcastle, Manchester, York, Liverpool and Sheffield and gave 3 world premieres. As a recent graduate, Helen also performed extensively with Leeds Youth Opera as a theatre pit musician as well as playing 2nd clarinet in St Matthews Orchestra. Helen also toured with 80’s synth pop star Marc Almond and performed in venues such as the prestigious Royal Festival Hall in London and Leeds Town Hall during her 5 year stay in Leeds.

As a performer, Helen has toured Europe extensively performing across Spain, Italy, France, Belgium and Holland and as an educator, has been privileged enough to attend wind band conferences led by wind band extraordinaire Tim Reynish’s in Northampton, The Midwest Band Clinic in Chicago and the IFOB conference clinic in Pamplona, Spain. This was fantastic professional development and a great opportunity to learn new skills to bring into group music in schools.

As a freelance musician, now based in Liverpool, Helen splits her time evenly between performing and teaching. As a recitalist, she performers regularly in venues across Liverpool, Manchester and Yorkshire and is an active community musician. Helen’s most recent notable credits include a solo recital at The Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Hall, performing reeds for professional show ‘Liverbird Song’ in Liverpool’s Epstein Theatre and being invited to perform at Manchester Cathedral’s lunchtime concert series.

Helen is currently the managing director of her own music school ‘Gold Music’ whose services run throughout Merseyside, West Lancashire and Yorkshire on a 1-1 and group basis. In addition to Ormskirk School, Helen also teaches at Archbishop Beck Catholic High School and Prelude School of Music in Liverpool. She is also a visiting tutor at Musician’s Centre, Bradford and Leeds College of Music and Drama. In addition, Helen provides masterclasses and workshops locally and further afield in performance anxiety, performance craft and ensemble performance.

Ben Knowles

Brass / Drums / Bass Guitar

Ben Knowles

Ben Knowles is fast becoming one of the most sought after brass musicians of his generation. His expanding career as a freelance multi-instrumentalist has lead him to work extensively throughout the United Kingdom and further afield with some of the finest ensembles in the world. He has been privileged to have toured to many destinations including Norway, Italy, Spain and the United States of America with various ensembles as well as having performed at many of the countries top venues including The Bridgewater Hall, Symphony Hall Birmingham and the Royal Albert Hall in London. He has won multiple prestigious awards ranging from individual accolades such as the Mortimer Award through to ensemble awards such as the British Open Championships and the National Brass Band Finals with the Foden’s Band based in Sandbach.

He currently can be found performing as a session musician with many big-bands, function bands, brass bands and national orchestras as well as having worked commercially, appearing at multiple festivals and on national tv and radio with The Unthanks, British Sea Power and numerous Musical Theatre Productions such as Boogie Nights, Legally Blonde, White Christmas and Les Miserables."

Aimee Harris

Piano / Singing / Keyboard / Clarinet

Aimee Harris

Aimee Harris is a singer, violinist, clarinetist and pianist and has been teaching music for 8 years. Aimee studied music from a young age and reached grade 8 ABRSM singing before heading to university and gaining undergraduate and master’s degrees in performance and musicology from the University of Liverpool. Through the years she has performed in many notable concert venues around the UK and abroad. Aimee has performed in a number of exciting concerts such as the concert premier of Adieums Colores by Karl Jenkins, in Llangollen international Eisteddfodd, and a number of Operas including this year’s concert performance of Carmen in Llangollen with the Welsh National Opera Orchestra and Llangollen singers. She is a soprano in the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Choir, a member of Liverpool Chamber Choir, and a regular performer called upon to sing in Cathedrals around the UK and in Llangollen International Eistedfodd concerts. As well as performing as a soloist and chorus member Aimee has been co-musical director, composer, and performer for MATE productions for three years. The two most recent shows are Shakespeare's productions of Midsummer Night’s Dream and As You Like It, both of which contained original music written by Aimee and were produced in conjunction with Shakespeare North and the Royal Shakespeare Company.

As a teacher, Aimee leads choirs and has had many students taking exams across a variety of exam boards from initial/prep test up to diploma level as well as helping students to prepare for GCSE, B-Tech and A-level performances.

Cathryn Lane

Piano / Keyboard / Saxophone

Cathryn LaneCathryn studied music from an early age starting both the piano and clarinet at the age of 8, achieving Grade 8 ABRSM in piano, clarinet and saxophone by the age of 15. She performed with the LSCB for many years, ultimately as ‘principal clarinet’ and toured each summer including trips to Denmark, Austria and the US.

Cathryn went on to study Music and Italian at Reading University, performing with the University Orchestra, Choral Society and local orchestras as well as teaching during her spare time. She then spent one year continuing her studies at the University of Siena in Italy. On her return, Cathryn taught privately before setting up and opening her own music business in Crosby in 2001.

Cathryn also now teaches piano and keyboard at Ormskirk School. She helps her students achieve superb results through her enthusiastic approach to learning and tailoring lessons to individual needs, thereby bringing out the very best in her pupils.


Gill Harris

Singing / Piano / Keyboard

Gill Harris

Gill has studied music from an early age, learning piano, singing, violin and viola from the age of 8. She gained a BA (Hons) in Music from the University of Liverpool and later earned the Associate of Trinity College London (Piano). Gill was a member of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Choir for many years and with them was lucky enough to perform in various venues throughout England, including the Royal Albert Hall, as well as performing abroad. As a soprano with the RLPC Gill performed with many artists including Leslie Garrett, Russell Watson and Tony Hadley. Gill has also performed around the northwest as part of a jazz duo and in numerous musicals with societies such as Southport Spotlights. As musical director Gill has worked with both children and adults on shows such as Godspell, Return to the Forbidden Planet and The World Goes Round. Gill is both a vocalist and musical director for U Turn Productions, a semi professional vocal group producing concerts around the north west.

Gill has been teaching piano and singing for over 15 years privately and with several primary and secondary schools in the local area. She also has many years experience both teaching and as principal of Stagecoach Theatre Arts and as singing teacher at WSDA in Merseyside.



Type of teaching

(per lesson)

Autumn Term cost
(11 lessons)

Spring Term cost
(10 lessons)

Summer Term cost
(10 lessons)

Ensemble training





20 minute individual tuition





30 minute individual tuition





20 minute joint lesson





30 minute joint lesson





You can now apply online for music tuition.

Simply fill in a few details below so we can get back to you with more information.