‘After silence, that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music’ – Aldous Huxley
Music is central to the culture of the school with class music lessons led by our Director of Music in our dedicated Music Room, for all children from the Nursery to Year 6. Individual lessons in singing, piano and orchestral instruments take place in our four music ‘pods’ from Year 1 with one of our 13 visiting peripatetic teachers. Currently 90% of Year 3 – 6 pupils learn at least one instrument.
Singing is at the heart of music lessons in the school with musical notation and Solfa hand-signs being introduced through games and puppets from an early age. All the children participate in listening, composing and performing, with Prep children readily performing to the rest of the school and to parents in dedicated ‘Music Assemblies’.
For those learning instruments in school or out of school, there are free ensembles. Wind band, drumming club, clarinet choir, cello choir, flute choir, guitar ensemble and string orchestra take place at lunchtimes, while a training orchestra, (open to all grades and instruments) takes place before school. There are also early morning choirs for Year 3-6. The music and sports department work closely together to make sure that year-group clubs run on separate days, offering the children the opportunities to attend both subjects without having to choose between them.
Above all, the emphasis is on every child experiencing the joy of music, regardless of their ability.
For musically gifted children, considerable attention is given to gaining music scholarships and bursaries to senior independent and public schools. After school, during the Autumn Term, Year 6 are offered an unpaid Music Scholarship Club, designed to prepare the students for auditions and interviews for senior schools but also offering a chance to share a passion for music with like-minded youngsters who may or may not be applying for scholarships. An average of four music scholarships are applied for and accepted at various senior schools each year.
At the end of each academic year, St Margaret’s children perform at our annual Speech Day. This includes a unique musical composition composed by The Composition Club and performed by our school orchestra. All the children are then involved in a music/drama performance, supported by a live band of peripatetic teachers and former pupils.
Music holds no fear, only exciting challenges and ‘gives soul to the universe’ – Plato