Music is part of the core curriculum in Years 7-9. Our groups study a wide variety of musical styles and much of the work is based on composition in the keyboard room. Pupils in Years 7 and 8 are taught in groups of around 14 (half the tutor group) and in year 9 in groups of 21.
Composing: pupils develop their ability to notate their ideas. This involves rhythmic work in several parts and developing melodic structures for instruments and voices.
Listening: developing an appreciation of music from a variety of periods and cultures; simple dictation tests.
Performing: developing keyboard skills for composition; class orchestra; singing; involvement in groups outside the school.
Composing: pupils develop an awareness of chords and the ability to use them in compositions. Techniques from various periods and also introduced e.g. modes and drones and discords.
Listening: a selection of examples to support composing; introduction to score reading.
Performing: developing keyboard skills, in particular the ability to experiment and improvise using chords.
Composing: further work using chords in a variety of styles.
Listening: the development of Rock Music, Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet, Bernstein’s West Side Story and the music of Mozart.
Performing: developing keyboard skills through class and individual performances.
Year 10 and 11
Music is offered at GCSE and we follow the Edexcel syllabus. Our groups are a healthy size, with GCSE numbering between 12 and 20.
Pupils study the following topics:
- Ternary Form
- Ground Bass
- Experimental music
- Electronic music
- 12-bar blues
- Indian rag
- Gamelan music
- Club dance remix
- African drumming
- Songs from musicals
- Music drawing together two cultures
Composing: pupils are required to produce two compositions lasting at least three minutes in total.
Performing: pupils must produce one solo performance, one ensemble and perform one of their compositions.
At AS and A2 our number average around 7 and we follow the Edexcel syllabus:
Aural tests: melodic and rhythmic dictation, comparison of performances, keys, chords, cadences and modulations, historical context.
Harmony and Counterpoint: Bach chorale harmonization; 2 part work using a figured bass.
History and analysis: study of examples from the Edexcel Anthology.
Composition: one composition is required lasting not more than three minutes chosen from set topics.
Performing: all students receive individual lessons outside the class and are encouraged to join groups in and outside school.
For A2, students may choose to produce a portfolio of compositions or perform a recital.
Extra-Curricular Activities and Achievements
Lower School Choir. An unauditioned choir for everyone who enjoys singing in years 7-8. The repertoire includes classical pieces and 2 and 3-part arrangements of songs from musicals and the charts. We meet on Thursday during period 5. Lower School choir performs at all the Lower School concerts throughout the year and the Carol Service.
Chamber Choir. An auditioned choir for the strong singers in years 7-9. The repertoire ranges from Latin sacred music to pop songs in 2, 3 and 4 parts. We perform in the Lower School Concerts, the Carol Service and in the Town Hall concert. We also take part in concerts outside school. Auditions are held in the first three weeks of the Autumn term.
Senior Choir (years 9-13). An unauditioned choir for everyone who wishes to gain experience of singing the great choral works, with tenors and basses drawn from parents and friends. Recent concerts have included Carmina Burana, Mozart Requiem and Handel’s Messiah.
A Cappella (years 8-13). This choir includes the strongest singers in the school. The repertoire includes both sacred and secular music. Forthcoming performances include Holst’s Songs from the Rig Veda and Durufle’s Requiem.
The Barberinas Close-harmony group for girls in years 11-13. We specialize in pop and jazz arrangements in as many parts as we can manage!
Preliminary Orchestra A group designed to develop ensemble skills in pupils of grade 1-3 standard. Rehearsals are held on Friday mornings at 8.30.
Lower School Orchestra. Formed to give early orchestral experience to as many pupils as possible. Grade 4-6 standard. The orchestra rehearses on Wednesday mornings as a full orchestra and we often have sectional rehearsals. Lower School Orchestra play in the Lower School Concerts.
Senior Orchestra. A full symphony orchestra of some 60 players; performing works from the mainstream classical repertoire. Players are required to be minimum grade 5 standard. The orchestra rehearses on Thursday after school. Senior Orchestra perform in all senior school concerts
String Orchestra. For the more advanced players, minimum grade 6 standard. Sometimes wind players are added to form a chamber orchestra. String orchestra rehearses at 8.30 on Thursday mornings.
Concert Band. All woodwind and brass players are invited to join concert band which rehearses on Tuesday lunchtime. We play standard band repertoire; songs, swing, film and TV theme tunes.
African Drumming everyone welcome-no previous experience necessary! The group meets on Thursday and Friday lunchtimes.
Lower School Orchestra-8.30
Lower School Choir-12.55
Individual music lessons are taught by a team of 22 visiting tutors giving over 300 music lessons a week. Lessons are forty minutes long; in years 7-9 they rotate through the school day and in years 10-13 they are given in free periods.
Music lessons are arranged via the Director of Music.
Tuition is available in the following:
- Violin, viola, cello, double bass
- Music Technology
- Music Theory
- Clarinet, bassoon, flute, piccolo, oboe, saxophone.
- Percussion (timpani and kit)
- Classical Guitar
- Trumpet, Cornet, Trombone, Tuba, Euphonium, French Horn
These are offered at 11+ and 16+, and are awarded for present achievement, potential for future development and willingness to contribute to school music. Full details are available from the Admissions Secretary.