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, as a soloist or a member of a larger musical group. 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 pupils grow to appreciate this philosophy and thereby become part of a creative force that has always been at the centre of civilisation.
- Learning journey
Each year group has two music lessons a week with a balance between performing, composing, appraising and listening.
We begin by introducing pupils to musical concepts and the elements of pitch, rhythm, dynamics, tempo and duration. Over time, pupils explore the instruments of the orchestra and perform together as a class using the instruments they are learning. Their learning in music reflects other aspects of the curriculum – for example composition exploring rhythmic patterns is linked to a history project on the Tudor period. Pupils progress to studying the history of music and begin composing using a variety of styles, appraising their own work and others’. We explore pentatonic scales through world music and jazz and pupils learn principles of melody writing. We have a dedicated music technology facility which we use as an integral part of learning.
Each summer, the musical year culminates in an orchestral and ensemble performance at the University of Cambridge Concert Hall for all year groups.
In pupils’ final year, we dedicate a portion of the curriculum in two terms to all the aspects of a musical production which is performed by all Year 6 pupils.
- Beyond the classroom
We encourage pupils to learn an instrument. More than 200 – two in three – pupils take advantage of tuition at school, delivered by a team of well-qualified and enthusiastic musicians, 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. In total there are more than 30 musical groups in operation.
At The Perse we share our music to bring pleasure to and inspire others. Upper soloists and ensembles visit the Prep and Prep groups perform at the Pelican. Regular informal concerts, Form Concerts, end of term events and the annual concert held in the University of Cambridge Concert Hall provide numerous opportunities for pupils to perform in public.
Even at breaktimes, pupils can often be found in the music technology room, using the facilities to create powerpoints on musical topics.