Music is very much a ‘doing’ subject – all the children sing and learn about rhythm and notation through practical games, listening to musical examples and using a wide range of percussion instruments. We have a ‘Composer of the Month’ where all the pupils from Nursery up, learn a little bit about specific composers and their music. Composers have included Holst, Beethoven, Chopin, Saint-Saens and Mozart. The curriculum includes aspects of Kodaly and Dalcroze techniques, and encourages students at every level to express themselves through music, which includes performing, and composing their own pieces in Key Stage 1.
All pupils have the equivalent of two 30-minute lessons of music each week which will always include an element of practical work as well as listening to and understanding a wide range of musical styles. Children also learn about music from other parts of the world, including Taiko Drumming from Japan. Everyone takes part in a whole-school music workshop each year where it is really hands-on, exciting and noisy! There are very many opportunities for boys to perform each term through assemblies, Performers Platforms and the Harvest Festival, Christmas and Spring concerts, as well as the annual Prize-Giving for Year 2. All boys in Year 2 form a Year 2 choir; as well as that there is a Music Assembly each week for everyone from Reception up, and various after school music clubs also provide additional stimulus and experience for everyone. Reception and Nursery each perform a Nativity play in December; Nursery put on a talent show in the summer term, with the older boys doing proper productions at Watermans Theatre.
Well over 50% of our pupils instruments both in school and privately, and are encouraged to use their expertise in lessons as well as playing in front of their peers. We currently provide lessons in piano, violin, cello, guitar, flute, clarinet and recorder for those who want to learn. If there is demand for another instrument we would do our best to provide tuition for that too. Boys may begin lessons from Reception although by their nature, some instruments are more suited to the older boys.