Music at the Girls' Prep is taught throughout the School, from Reception to Year 6, by specialist Music Teachers. The curriculum is modelled on the Kodály Method, being a sequential, aural programme of study focusing on the development of essential musical skills and literacy. There is a dedicated music studio which houses all our classroom musical resources and provides a generous space in which the girls can spread out while working on their compositions or rehearsing for performance. An Interactive Whiteboard in the music studio brings technological musical learning into the classroom via specialist music software (e.g. Sibelius) as well as via the internet. The skills developed in lessons through the music curriculum incorporate Listening and Appraising, Performance and Composition, added to which singing, ensemble playing and performing on stage play a big part in the general musical life at School.
Girls in Key Stage 1 have the opportunity to join the Infant Choir and Hand Chime Ensemble, while all girls in Key Stage 2 are part of a school choir according to their year group. Those girls who really enjoy singing are encouraged to audition for the Preliminary or Junior Chamber Choirs, which provide the opportunity to sing more challenging music and to receive more specific training in choral singing. In addition to the choirs, pupils who play an instrument at Grade 1 level or above are invited to join an ensemble according to their instrument type. Termly concerts are held for the ensembles and choirs to showcase their work, as well as at our Carol Service and other festivals, while individual instrumental players are given the opportunity to perform at Soloist Evenings and school assemblies.
Individual instrumental tuition is available on the following instruments: Violin, Recorder, Piano, Percussion (including Drum Kit) from Year 2; Viola, Cello, Guitar (Acoustic, Electric, Bass), Clarinet, Trumpet, Mini Bassoon, Double Bass from Year 3; Flute, Oboe, Saxophone (Soprano/Alto), French Horn, Trombone, Cornet from Year 4; Bassoon, Singing (Voice) from Year 5; and Tuba, Bass Clarinet, Saxophone (Tenor/Baritone) from Year 7.
This service is provided by peripatetic Music Teachers, who also teach in the Senior School, providing continuity for girls as they progress up the School. Those girls displaying advanced instrumental capabilities have the opportunity to be involved with Senior School ensembles. Girls in Year 6 are also able to apply for a Music Scholarship for the Senior School.
All girls throughout the School participate in school productions during the year. Girls in Reception and Key Stage 1 perform the Infant Nativity and an Infant Celebration each year. Recent shows have included ‘Eddie the Penguin Saves the World', ‘Christmas with the Aliens' and ‘The Landlord's Cats'. Key Stage 2 perform two productions each year, one for Year 4 and another for Year 6. Recent performances have included ‘The Snow Queen', ‘Pirates of the Curry Bean', ‘Rumble in the Suburbs' and ‘Scheherazade'.
List of ensembles:
KS1: Infant Choir (Years 1 and 2) and Hand Chimes (Year 2)
KS2: Junior Choir and Junior Chamber Choir (Years 5 and 6), Preliminary Choir and Preliminary Chamber Choir (Years 3 and 4), Preliminary Recorder Ensemble, Junior Recorder Ensemble, Junior Recorder Consort, Junior Woodwind Ensemble, Junior String Ensemble, Junior Brass Ensemble, Junior Guitar Ensemble, Junior Percussion Ensemble and Junior Chamber Ensemble.
Junior Instrumental Programme
As part of a ground-breaking programme, all pupils in Years 3 and 4 learn an orchestral instrument during the Autumn term. Year 3 can choose between violin and cello and Year 4 have a choice of trumpet, trombone or French horn. Specialist teachers deliver instruction in groups and the classes combine at the end of the Autumn term for an Instrumental Programme Showcase, an event which always surprises pleasantly for the incredible progress made in such a short time.
In the Spring term, girls may opt to continue learning their instrument in smaller groups with the same specialist staff. Many go on to take up individual tuition on their chosen instrument from the Summer term onwards and as a consequence are invited to join the Prep String and Brass Ensembles to help develop their skills even further.
The Instrumental Programme has been generously funded by the Surbiton High Parents' Association, whose donations have enabled the purchase of a large number of instruments and books.
- Mr Chris Wray, Head of Preparatory Schools' Music
- Mrs Priya Wilson, Teacher of Music
- Miss Wei Wei Tan (Violin)
- Miss Charlotte Eksteen (Cello)
- Mr Andre Canniere (Trumpet)
- Mr Nicholas Ireson (French Horn)