How does a diverse and varied curriculum instil a sense of identity and belonging?

Everyone at Chetham’s is bonded by a passion for music but not all students decide to pursue a career as a musician or composer. The alumni community includes teachers, journalists, politicians and more. We recently expanded our offering to students with the Arts Award. Read on to hear how a diverse and varied curriculum helps to instil a sense of identity and belonging…

Creative Engagement at Chetham’s School of Music and The Stoller Hall (a world-class music venue on our grounds) delivers family and community projects and events, adding to the booming arts and culture offer in Manchester city centre right now. The responsibility we feel to share the power of music with the city and its young people is also at the heart of what we teach our students at Chetham’s.

Known as the arts equivalent to the Duke of Edinburgh Award, Arts Award offers a practical and individual course option to students who are passionate, driven and independent, to develop and demonstrate their strengths in leadership, communication and project management. Its ‘hands on’ and student-led approach has offered our students the opportunity to design and deliver their own community arts projects, giving them the chance to promote their ideas on why the arts is valuable, and learn key skills that will set them in great stead for careers in the future.

From negotiating resources and communicating with stakeholders, to creating schedules and arranging transport, student projects have been as varied and individual as the students themselves. Projects have included visiting local primary schools to teach pupils about classical music and instruments, organising creative socials for younger students in school, and supporting other students to learn new skills.

Diversifying the way students can achieve key skills and UCAS points is vital to how we nurture young people. We want to ensure that the music industry of the future benefits from a workforce with a range of experiences and skills, and empowering students to be confident and decisive through qualifications like Arts Award is creating strong, thoughtful leaders.

As well as the courses on offer, we’re also committed to broadening and diversifying the repertoire we teach. Our students come from diverse backgrounds, making the campus a melting pot of different perspectives and ideas, and it’s important that our music choices represent them. Classical music has been almost exclusively white (and male) for such a long time, so we’re commissioning new works including string quartets and piano trios from composers from backgrounds that have historically been underrepresented. The works will enter our curriculum as soon as possible.

It’s an exciting time at Chetham’s School of Music as we find ways to be more inclusive and creative in our teaching to inspire the next generation of musicians and thinkers. More than ever before, our school is a place where everyone can truly be themselves and thrive.



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