Music

Music plays a major part in the life of the school. Our large department consists of three full-time staff, assisted by over twenty peripatetic staff teaching all orchestral instruments, piano, guitar, drums and singing. About three-quarters of the children learn at least one instrument, and our music exam results are consistently high.

Music in the Curriculum

All children learn the recorder in Year 2 and Year 3, and in the Prep School each child receives two class music lessons per week up to Year 6. In Years 7 and 8, this reduces to one lesson per week for half a term, rotating with ICT. The content of these classes focusses on practical music-making (class ensembles and regular singing), as well as music technology (using Garageband software), music theory, and music history. Extra music theory and aural coaching is given outside of class time to those children preparing for higher grade exams, and each term a handful of pupils are prepared for the Grade V theory exam.

Scholarships

The department prepares several students for music scholarships each year. In recent years, we have sent scholars to Brighton College, Portsmouth Grammar, Cranleigh, Lancing, Eton, Wycombe Abbey, Radley and Wellington among others.

Extra-Curricular Ensembles

We have a number of extra-curricular ensembles that rehearse every week and perform regularly, including:

  • First Orchestra
  • Second Orchestra
  • Big Band
  • Brass Groups
  • String Quartets and Trios
  • Drum Group
  • Wind Ensembles
  • Rock Bands
  • Chapel Choir
  • Year 7/8 Choir
  • Junior Choir

Our auditioned Chapel Choir, made up of pupils from Years 6-8, enjoys a biennial foreign tour, with previous destinations including Rome, Paris and Tuscany (singing at venues including St Peter’s Basilica in Rome and Pisa and Chartres Cathedrals).

The Year 7/8 Choir is non-auditioned and often performs semi-staged songs from famous musicals. Pupils in years 5 and 6 regularly form year-group choirs to perform in concerts and chapel services.

Enjoy some of our performances by clicking on the links below.

Chapel Choir singing "All things bright and beautiful"

Orchestra performing "Pirates of the Caribbean"

Rock Band performing "Sweet Child of Mine".

Musicals

The music and drama departments collaborate regularly for two large-scale annual musicals. Previous productions include Fiddler on the Roof, Annie, Beauty and the Beast, The Lion King, The Sound of Music, Guys and Dolls and Grease. The Junior Department also stage two productions per year with musical involvement.

Inter-patrol Music and Singing Competitions

Inter-patrol music and singing competitions are a highlight of the school calendar, with the vast majority of those learning an instrument taking part. External adjudicators have the unenviable task of choosing winners, and a palpable sense of camaraderie and anticipation pervades the school.

Individual Instrument Tuition

Individual instrumental tuition is given by a team of very experienced peripatetic teachers. Children receive 10 lessons per term, currently costing £205, and the school has a wide selection of instruments for hire. Children may start learning an instrument at any time, and the Director of Music is happy to advise parents on a suitable way forward for their child. For further details on instrumental lessons, please refer to the information sheet on the website. 

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