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Music expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent (Victor Hugo)
AIMS AND OBJECTIVES
We aim to awaken an interest in and inspire a love of music by enabling every child to enjoy performing, listening and composing through musical activities.
We are committed to helping pupils fulfill their musical potential by creating individual programmes of music study for every child.
Our mission is to ensure that every child leaves St Hugh’s having had a positive experience of music, having developed an open mind about all styles of music and found an enthusiasm for exploring and making music.
The aims of music teaching are to enable children to:
- know and understand how sounds are made and then organized into musical structures
- know how music is composed and written down
- know how music is influenced by the purpose, time and place for which it was written
- develop the interrelated skills of performing, composing and listening
Singing lies at the heart of good music teaching. Our teaching focuses on developing the children’s ability to sing in tune and with other people. Through singing songs, children learn about the structure and organization of music. In Pre-prep. the pupils have weekly lessons in which they explore sound and practical music-making. They are given opportunities to listen to many different types of music and singing is very much part of the school day. Assemblies and plays have a strong musical component and the children frequently perform songs with percussion accompaniment.
As they get older, we expect pupils to maintain their concentration for a longer period of time, listening to more extended pieces. We teach them to appreciate different musical styles and the works of famous composers. We teach them disciplined skills of recognizing pulse, pitch and rhythm. ICT aids the teaching of musical notation and composition. Children improve the presentation of their work through ICT and are given opportunities for recording their work electronically.
We recognize that there are children of widely different musical abilities in all classes. We provide suitable learning opportunities for all by matching the challenge of the task to the ability of the child.
St Hugh’s offers every child the opportunity to explore, enjoy and fulfill their musical potential.
Each week, about 220 lessons are taught by a team of 14 visiting specialist musicians and with over 80% of the school taking individual music lessons, the ability to play an instrument is seen as the norm rather than the exception.
Individual lessons are available for:
Violin, viola, cello, double bass, flute, recorder, clarinet, saxophone, trumpet, cornet, trombone, horn, drums, percussion, guitar, harp, singing and piano.
(We are happy to provide teachers for instruments not included in the above list when possible)
Lessons are given weekly on a rotation basis throughout the school day and in activity times.
Many children choose to learn more than one instrument and in these cases we recommend that only one instrument is timetabled within the standard rotation system and that subsequent instruments are studied outside the academic timetable, fixed in activity times and after or before school wherever possible.
Through consultation with parents and staff we develop an individual programme of music study for each child in order to ensure that classroom studies and the enviably high academic standards attained at St Hugh’s are not disrupted.
We are fortunate in teaching exceptionally able children. A significant number of pupils gain awards to the public school of their choice. In the past five years we have gained 8 scholarships and 2 exhibitions.
THE MUSICAL LIFE OF THE SCHOOL
We believe that music enriches peoples’ lives and so we wish to involve as many pupils as possible in musical activities. The Pre-Prep. has a policy to include all children in a number of events and religious festivals such as the Nativity Play.
In Middle and Upper School, once instrumental studies are well established, with a teacher’s recommendation and for when a pupil feels ready, we are delighted to provide over a dozen groups ranging from a brass ensemble to the four choirs and from rock groups to the school orchestra. Group music making develops social skills and an understanding of the need to co-operate with others. The repertoire is often challenging and our regular rehearsals and concerts provide opportunities to enjoy a tremendous sense of shared achievement and gain self esteem.
School Choir - We have a large school choir which we encourage all Upper School (Years 5-8) children to join. The choir meets on a weekly basis and although its primary aim is to enable pupils to sing together, it also performs in public on a number of occasions, for example at the Christmas Carol Service, choral concerts, Open Day and the Bi-annual Picnic and Rock Concerts.
Middle School Choir - Children in Years 3 & 4 sing a variety of songs to develop confidence. They perform each year in the Middle School Concert and also join the School Choir at the Carol Service and in the Picnic Concert.
Chamber Choir - Is for our advanced singers and children are invited to audition if they wish to join. The repertoire is more challenging and as well as a strong voice, music reading is also required. Chamber Choir performs at all the services throughout the year and at many of the concerts.
The school orchestra - gives children a valuable opportunity to play together in a large ensemble. All children Grade 1 and above are welcome to join.
In addition to these large groups there are weekly rehearsals for smaller ensembles:
String Quartet, Brass Group, Guitar Ensemble, Flute Ensemble, Harp Ensemble, Rock Bands 1,2, & 3. All enrich the musical development of our pupils.
Pupils who are sufficiently advanced attend music days organised by local public schools.
HOUSE SINGING COMPETITION
Every other year we hold a house competition in which all children in Years 3-8 take part. A Director of Music from a Senior School is invited to judge and their job is never an easy one. Each House prepares a set song and an own choice song on which they can stamp their own unique style. Last year Malvern wowed and entertained the audience with their hugely entertaining rendition of 'I’ve Got A Combine Harvester!' With comic acting and joyful singing they were the worthy recipients of the Cup. Carswell were commended for their accurate and committed performance of the two part French set song.
Concerts feature strongly in the life of the school. It is our belief that children derive enormous benefit from performing in public and there are numerous opportunities given to them to do so throughout their time at St Hugh’s. Music making develops creativity and imagination and through the many ensembles and performances available to the children, regardless of their level of attainment, we hope they will gain confidence and be encouraged to enjoy the gift of music throughout their lives.
"My son said he felt two feet taller after he had played his solo in the concert”
Year 8 Parent
Tea Time Concerts
These concerts provide valuable performance opportunities, particularly for our less experienced musicians.They are given in Instrument groups and offer an opportunity for parents to meet with their child’s instrumental teacher.
The Middle School Concerts
All pupils in the Middle School participate in these concerts. The Instrumental Concert takes place in the Spring and a choral workshop in the Summer Term.
The Upper School Concert
This instrumental concert is directed towards musicians from Year 5 upwards.
Drama and Music Performance
Is an evening concert giving year 7 a platform for their work.
Words and Music
Is an evening concert for pupils from Years 5&6 to perform solo/ensemble music and drama work.
Music & Drama Scholars Concert
At the start of the Spring term this concert provides an opportunity for the potential music and drama scholars to perform their pieces to an audience, in preparation for their auditions.
We bid farewell to our musical leavers in what has come to be a relaxed yet stimulating evening.
Every two years we have a spectacular outside concert where families can enjoy the wonderful music making of the children in the beautiful surroundings of the Rose Garden. With a longer picnic interval, this event it a highlight of the year.
In the alternate year we put on a large scale musical production in conjunction with the drama department. We have produced 'Oliver' and 'The Wizard of Oz' in recent years, both to great acclaim, and much loved by the children taking part.
Director of Music - Sally Ann Ewins DipRCMperf, ARCM, PGCE
Assistant Head of Music - Joanna Havelock LTCL, QTS
Music in Pre-Prep - Sue Lonsdale
Brass John King MA(Oxon)
Cello & Bass Elizabeth Parkin
Clarinet & Sax Debra Warner
Flute & Recorder Emmeline Baines BMus(Hons), LRSM, DipABRSM
Classical Guitar Gordon Dunn BA(Hons), MMus; Manus Noble
Harp Karina Bell BA(Hons), PGCE, DipABRSM and ATCL
Percussion Merle Joyce
Piano Linden Eley
Joanna Havelock LTCL, QTS
Lynette Stulting BMus, BMusHon, MMus, LTCL
Singing Sheenagh Dernie BA(Hons), ARCM, DipMus
Anne Hart ARCM
Theory Joanna Havelock LTCL, QTS
Violin & Viola Joanna Havelock LTCL, QTS
Music produces a kind of pleasure which human nature cannot do without ~ Confucius