Music

Music

Departmental Aims

  • To inspire our young musicians of all abilities to enjoy all aspects of music making
  • To provide a wide ranging, contemporary and dynamic curriculum to challenge and motivate all students to develop a life-long love of music
  • To encourage students to venture into new styles of music from contemporary genres to the music of old through creative composition tasks, analysis of musical scores and by encouraging curiosity
  • To promote the importance of communicating to an audience through performance
  • To nurture the musical interests of all students.

Facilities

  • Three full time teaching staff
  • One full time music administrator
  • Twenty-seven peripatetic VMTs instrumental and vocal teaching staff
  • Well-equipped classrooms with piano, interactive whiteboard, and relevant audio facilities. Each class has access to a range of classroom percussion equipment, guitars and keyboards.
  • 13 practice rooms, one recording studio and a live room
  • A computer suite with 12 Apple Mac computers with Logic Pro and Sibelius software to aid composition.

A Level Curriculum

We deliver the AQA A Level Music course. Students develop and apply their musical knowledge, understanding and skills set out in this specification. Students form a personal and meaningful relationship with music through analysing a range of different pieces. The specification allows students to develop particular strengths and interests, encourage lifelong learning and provide access to higher education and university degree courses in music and music- related subjects.

The Subject content is divided into three components: Appraising music (40%), Performance (35%) and Composition (25%). Appraising music covers areas from Solo Baroque Concerto, Romantic Piano music and Music for Theatre.

In the last five years, students who took A Level music went on to study: Music, Composition, Sound Engineering and Music, Theology and Religion, Medicine, Veterinary Medicine, Archaeology, Dance, Sound Technology, German and Russian, Psychology, Acoustical Engineering, History and Russian, Audio Engineering.

Co-curricular, Enrichment, Extension and Support

Nothing quite beats a live performance. As often as possible we take students to concert performances of the repertoire relevant to their academic studies. Students are encouraged to embark on a range of reading around the subject of music. Those wishing to further their music studies beyond A Level undertake extended essays to stretch and challenge their understanding of the cultural aspects of music.

The Senior School Music Prizes offers a chance for students to compete with their peers to win prizes in performance specific to their instrument. The categories are decided based upon the ability of the individual, and currently includes Preliminary (grades 1 – 3), Intermediate (grades 4 – 6) and a range of Advanced categories (grade 7 – 8) which are named prizes and categorised by instrument.

As part of the music prizes, we offer a composition forum where students can enter their own compositions and receive feedback.

Music making is at the heart of what we do in our Faculty. Students are actively welcomed in to use the practice rooms in their own time to develop their skills in composition and performance. All ensembles include students from a range of year groups within the Senior School. This is a strength of the Faculty whereby younger students learn from the older students and vice versa. Students support each other in the shared aim of enjoying music making and performing pieces to a high standard.

We have twenty-nine VMT staff who teach a wide range of instruments and lead our chamber groups. With their help, as a Faculty, we are bursting with co-curricular ensembles covering a range of genres and activities from music theory and aural, to Big Band and our Senior Orchestra.

In all years in the Senior School, individual students may be invited to attend a chamber ensemble relevant to their instrument/voice. This unique opportunity encourages them to develop their instrumental technique and general musicianship. We have a beginner player scheme for students wishing to learn to play a brass, wind or stringed instrument. This includes learning to play the instrument from scratch over a series of eight sessions as a group with a specialist. Students are provided with the opportunity to compose music as underscoring for the play that is staged bi-annually.

We recognise the importance of providing a breadth of musical experience and where possible we immerse students in the musicians’ lifestyle by inviting them to take part in the band for the school musicals.