GCSE and A level Music courses for young people (12+) and adults.

Understanding advanced and higher level Music performance, history, theory, and composition, suitable for aspiring GCSE and A Level Music students.

Our students consistently achieve the highest results (A* to B) and fulfil the requirements in advanced studies for entrance into further education.

We have access to a state of the art recording facility, in partnership with

This facility is particularly useful for supporting our students through the GCSE and A level Music Performance components of the examination process.

Our students enjoy the benefits of recording their songs, instrumentals, group creations, celebrating their talent with professional support from leading sound engineer Emmanuel Feramus.

Music at the Old School


This year we are running workshops for serious musicians to gain an insight into the requirements for advanced study in music composition and performance. The aim of the workshops is to enhance the practical and creative skills of GCSE and A Level music students. Our workshops help students to have confidence in their own musical abilities, build on existing aspirations and identify and solve problems and encourage their own personal creativity. Paola will suggest ways in which students might develop ideas and help them focus on the technical skills required to achieve them.

We encourage students to work in all styles: using varied composition software, Logic pro, Sibelius etc. The students will have access to a recording studio throughout the course. We welcome all levels of ability: professional musicians, experienced amateurs and complete beginners.

Our Aim:

… is to provide a monthly full day, where the students come to the school to complete their Music coursework and take guidance and teaching from Paola, in order for them to prepare to enter into the GCSE or A level Music examinations.

We are increasingly contacted by families whose children attend the French education system but who feel that their children would excel in the Arts if they could be taught the subject in addition to their regular school studies. Fitting this round the weekly schedule of any Collegien or Lyceen is difficult which is why we have come up with the monthly solution.

Paola Bottomley

Photograpgh of Paola Bottomley
Paola has a broad base of experience and works in a variety of situations as a performer and educator. Her initial training was at Trinity and Laban Conservatoire of Music & Dance in London, where she graduated with First Class Hons, specializing in Voice and Jazz Music.  In 2007 Paola was awarded a Yamaha Jazz Award for outstanding young Jazz musicians. She has since gone on to receive several awards including a prize for best improvisation and gained 2nd place in Lithuania at the International Jazz Vocalist Competition held in Klaipeda.  She has been described as a ‘truly gifted improviser’ (Pete Churchill). She then went on to complete her Masters Degree winning the Elton John Scholarship Award at The Royal Academy of Music in London, graduating with Distinction.

Paola is an experienced teacher and vocal coach, currently working with a number of institutions in France and the UK. Recently she recorded a set of educational videos for the Trinity Rock and Pop Grade syllabus.  She currently holds the position of Professor for Jazz and Pop voice at the Conservatoire of Bordeaux and is also Head of Music and Performing Arts at The Old School in Lauzun.  She is also the vocal coach for the Dordogne Jazz International Summer School where she teaches alongside many respected UK Jazz tutors.


For dates please get in touch with us


The fees for the 10 sessions will be 40 Euros per session
10am to 4pm.

Very small classes, no more than 5 students with the focus being on individual attention and quality teaching. There will be a fee of 150 Euros per GCSE unit entry to the exams, there are three units, therefore the exam fees are 450 Euros per student.

We make the entries in February, however the student is asked to start to think about their ideas and responses for the exam. The 60 taught hours, indicated above, are an estimation of the time needed for an external student to produce enough quality work, in preparation for the examination. We reserve the right to recommend additional workshops if we feel the student is not ready to be entered for this examination.

All students will have access to Paola for development and teaching by phone or Skype and will have the opportunity to attend the focussed GCSE workshops once a month.

Performance 30% - One solo
- One ensemble (we can provide the ensemble if you don’t have one already)

Composition 30% - One brief set by Edexcel
- One free choice

Listening and Appraising 60% - Exam

Areas of Study:
Instrumental music 1700-1820
Vocal Music
Music for stage and screen


47410 St Colomb de Lauzun
05 53 40 60 54

The Old School : College - Lycée
Etablissement d’enseignement secondaire privé hors contrat RNE 0471040A

website by: Abbey Hill Studios