Music

"I would teach children music, physics and philosophy; but most importantly music, for the patterns in music and all the arts are the keys to learning."
- Plato

Our Music Department is founded on the belief that all students are musicians, they just need to find their musical voice, whether it is through singing or an instrument, composing their own music, exploring elements of music technology or sharing their own interpretations of the music they hear.Our curriculum covers a range of skills and styles, providing the opportunity for the less-experienced to discover what music really is, while still challenging those who have been studying an instrument for many years. All topics include some elements of listening, performing and composing, and all students are expected to be familiar with basic music notation by the end of Year 5. The majority of learning is done through practical tasks as the more explicit, intensive study of music history and theory can be found in the exam years. We encourage all students to remember that being ‘musical’ is not simply about learning an instrument. It involves a range of skills that can be developed through regular practice.

Early Years and Pre-Prep

Students engage in music learning from the very beginning of their Harrow journey. The first steps involve a variety of games to develop their co-ordination skills and engage their imaginations. As their journey progresses they are introduced to a variety of instruments and have the opportunity to explore different sounds. This continues as they progress through Pre-Prep, with increasing levels of musical vocabulary and the introduction of music notation.


Prep

Students develop greater independence through their time in Prep, with an increasing emphasis on group work and research-influenced performing and composing. Students also have the opportunity to work with instrumental teachers during this time, for example through group lessons of guitars and wind instruments in Year 8. Students in Prep use an increasing amount of technology, particularly Garageband, to widen their skill base.

Senior School

Students in Year 9 continue to develop their understanding through group work and class discussion, using more complex vocabulary and making more complex connections between pieces and styles. They also learn to use Sibelius software at this stage.In Years 10 and 11, the CIE GCSE course is equipped to develop the musical skills of each student, with the final result being derived from coursework (30% performing and 30% composing) and a general listening exam (40%).

Sixth Form

The CIE AS/A2 course combines musical analysis, harmony and counterpoint, composing, performing as well as looking at music and musicians from a wider context. Students study a selection of contrasting set works from the Classical Period as well as a topic of ‘Picturing Music’. They also have options regarding the amount of performing and composing they do, opening the A-level to a wider range of students. At A2, students do not take a final exam. They may choose either a performing or composing option, along with an investigative report.

Outside the Classroom

We offer a wide ranging extra-curricular music programme, both during Enrichment Activity slots and also lunchtimes. Students of all ages and abilities can find something to engage their musical skills. These feed into the whole school concerts, which take place at Christmas and in the late spring. Students are also encouraged and supported in setting up their own ensembles and have many opportunities to demonstrate their skills throughout the year.

As a member of FOBISIA, we have taken part in a number of their festivals, including the Primary Carnival, and acting as hosts for the older students’ Music Festival. Our older students also perform in the wider community, particularly at Christmas where they have become a fixture at the Ritz Carlton Hotel Christmas celebrations.

Ensembles

  • Pre-Prep Singers (Years 2-5)
  • Show Choir (Years 6-13)
  • Apri Canentes (Years 10-13 audition only)
  • Staff Choir
  • String Group
  • Chinese Drumming
  • Flute Choir (lunchtime activity)
  • Guitar Club (lunchtime activity)
  • Reed Club (lunchtime activity)
  • Ukulele Club (lunchtime activity)
  • Pre-Prep Pans (lunchtime activity)
  • Steelers (Year 6 – 9, beginner to intermediate steel pans)
  • Pantastic (Years 7 – 13 advanced steel pans)

Individual Instrumental and Singing Lessons

We also offer individual 30 minute lessons on a wide variety of instruments. Our team of instrumental teachers are very experienced. Lessons take place on a rotation basis so that students do not miss the same lesson each week. We currently offer specialist tuition in the following:

Violin, Viola, Cello, Flute, Recorder, Clarinet, Saxophone, Trumpet, Trombone, Horn, Drums, Guitar ,Piano and Singing.