In the Music Department we provide a wide range of musical opportunities, both curricular and extra-curricular, for every pupil in the school. The overriding ethos is to be inclusive and make music accessible to all, whilst offering challenges to our gifted musicians. Studying a wide range of musical styles offers plenty of opportunity for the three tenets of Music Education: composing, performing and listening to/appraising music. Focus on developing instrumental and vocal skills, music literacy and vocabulary, and confidence is essential. Trips, concerts and school performances are also an important part of the curriculum providing occasions for pupils to experience and appreciate live music.
Choirs and Ensembles
We offer a range of choral and instrumental ensembles for a range of abilities and musical experience. Most ensembles and choirs at school are non-selective, however, our Chamber Choir members are selected by audition -these pupils join our Choristers programme.
Sparrows Choir is a fun choir for Years 1, 2 and 3 which meets once a week. The group exists to provide children with the opportunity to learn to explore their voice in a fun and healthy way and was formed in response to the National Singing Campaign for Primary Schools, led by Britain’s singing ambassador, Howard Goodall. Under the direction of Ruth Henson, the Sparrows Choir perform at assemblies and concerts throughout the year.
The Hawk Choir is open to every pupil in Years 4-8 and it is run by the Director of Music. Tackling a variety of musical styles and vocal repertoire, it meets once a week and performs at school concerts, assemblies, events and services as well as participating in National Music festivals. With a focus on fun, ambitious and entertaining singing, it is a key choir in the school community, developing skills and musicality from earlier years
The Orchestra meets once a week and is conducted by the Director of Music. It is open to pupils playing instruments at Grade 1+ standard and above, although many students are of intermediate/advanced playing level. The repertoire is extremely varied and challenging and the students enjoy playing everything from iconic film music to great classics. The Orchestra performs at assemblies, concerts and school and community events throughout the year.
The Jazz Band
The Jazz Band is run by woodwind tutor and jazz specialist Tom Harrison. Open to pupils in Years 6-8, studies of basic jazz repertoire and traditional jazz techniques are undertaken. Every member of the Jazz Band develops their ensemble and improvisation skills and performances are given at assemblies, concerts, school and community events throughout the year.
Clarinettist and staff member, Emma Spurgeon, directs this ensemble who rehearse once per week. Focusing on the colours of woodwinds and appropriately arranged repertoire, members enjoy developing their ensemble and individual playing skills, sharing their performances regularly throughout the academic year.
Led by Alice Baxter, our Junior Music teacher, boys in this ensemble develop their aural abilities and skills in playing recorder, reading treble clef music notation, and performing with confidence. Designed for those who have never played the instrument before or who are new to it, the progress enjoyed is fantastic!
Music Theory (Junior and Senior)
Pre-Prep and Prep students enjoy developing their music literacy skills in Music Theory Clubs with peers of a similar age. Designed to ensure secure foundations in the understanding and practice of music notation and concepts, pupils are able to work at their own pace and support each other’s learning under the direction of the Junior Music Teacher and the Director of Music. Although not specifically designed to prepare pupils for formal theory examinations, the essential skills required to achieve success and progress in theoretical understanding are developed through a structured and practical programme.
Several students each year show initiative in developing their own instrumental ensembles and bands. Rehearsal space is provided at school with guidance from music staff when sought. These ensembles are given the opportunity to perform at Recitals and other school events when appropriate. Pupils organise their band members, instrument combinations, repertoire and rehearsals independently and continue to impress with their creativity and commitment to developing their own musical expression.
Instrumental and Vocal Tuition