Music is a powerful means of communication. It brings people together and creates opportunities to work with one another using a language that transcends barriers. It is an art that can be practised, appreciated and enjoyed at many levels, offering the opportunity to perform informally and formally and as a soloist or a member of a larger musical machine. Above all, it allows those who participate to give of themselves, grow in confidence and communicate their enthusiasm with others. It is a subject which, more than most, allows children to develop and extend their curriculum work beyond the classroom.
It is our aim at The Prep that all our children will grow to appreciate this philosophy and thereby become part of a creative force that has always been at the centre of civilisation.
Each year group has two class Music lessons a week with a balance between performing, composing, appraising and listening. A proportion of the work is linked to other areas of the curriculum. Each year group studies an aspect of world music and compositional work is integrated into all aspects of the curriculum. There is a dedicated music technology facility which is used as an integral part of learning.
Pupils are also encouraged to learn an instrument and tuition, delivered by a team of well-qualified and enthusiastic musicians, is offered on strings, woodwind, brass, percussion, piano, recorder and singing. Pupils are entered for Associated Board and Guildhall examinations when appropriate.
A string orchestra, wind band, swing band, three choirs and a wide variety of chamber music groups provide opportunities for group music-making and regular informal concerts, Form Concerts, end of term events and an annual concert held in the West Road Concert Hall provide numerous opportunities for all our children to perform in public.
What will my child study?
All pupils are introduced to musical concepts using violins and the elements of pitch, rhythm, dynamics, tempo, duration are also developed through singing, playing musical games and performing with percussion instruments. Composition is based around a listening programme and pupils experiment with sound sources as a whole class and in small groups.
Listening work and composition exploring rhythmic patterns is linked to a history project on the Tudor period. Pupils are also introduced to the instruments of the orchestra and are given the opportunity to perform together as a class using the instruments they are learning, as well as tuned and untuned percussion. In addition, pupils explore songs and music from the British Isles, and also look at cyclic patterns and Gamelan music.
An overview of the history of music incorporates listening and compositional work using a variety of musical styles and children begin to appraise their own work and those of others in the class. Pentatonic scales are explored through world music and jazz and links with history department projects on the Victorian period extend their singing skills. The principles of melody writing, using rhythmic backing tracks, introduces pupils to music technology, which is also used to enable them to notate their compositions.
During the Michaelmas and Lent Terms a portion of the curriculum is dedicated to all the aspects of a musical production which is performed by all Year 6 pupils. In addition, children work on a variety of individual compositional projects, building on the work they have covered in earlier years, as well as producing a number of group compositions in various styles.