We cater for musicians of all abilities and aim to provide personalised opportunities for all children to achieve their full potential. Each year we also have talented children who prepare for 13+ scholarships at Senior Schools across the UK.
The Music Department is housed in a purpose-built building and is a busy place. Approximately 88% of children in the Upper School and 67% of those in P2/3 play at least one instrument. Over 290 lessons take place within school each week, given by our enthusiastic staff of 17 peripatetic specialist teachers. Individual music lessons are usually offered from P2 onwards, and consultation appointments with the Director of Music are available to help parents to choose an instrument to suit their child. We encourage the children, especially those in Forms 4-6, to come to ‘practice club’ sessions during the afternoon to ensure they find time to play their instrument each day.
Practical music exams (ABRSM and Trinity) take place on a termly basis within the school, for those children wishing to take these. Theory classes are popular; children have the opportunity to prepare for theory exams up to Grade 5, which also take place within school twice a year.
As soon as children are able to, we encourage them to join a music group, rehearsing during our morning break times. This term, weekly music groups within the school are as follows:
Our busy Chapel Choir comprises boys and girls in Forms 6,7 & 8 and rehearses 3 times a week to prepare for fortnightly services and end of term services. A highlight of the Summer Term was Choir Tour, which included performances at Lindisfarne Priory, Durham Cathedral and Rothbury Parish Church. Last term (Autumn 2019) the choir gave a lunchtime concert on the theme of ‘Freedom’ at St Cuthbert’s Church in Edinburgh and led the school in our Remembrance Day, Advent and Christmas Carol Services. This term we look forward to a return visit and joint concert with Durham Choristers’ School who are on their tour.
There are numerous performance opportunities within school and externally. Pre-Prep and Upper School Miniconcerts are held each term to provide the opportunity for children at all levels to play to a supportive audience. More experienced soloists play within Thursday Chapel services and at whole-school concerts. Our most able musicians are invited to take part in performance masterclasses with visiting musicians.
Performing together is a central part of our school culture. All of Forms 4 & 5 play the recorder in an ensemble and sing in a choir. We have whole-school concerts at the end of each term where our musical groups are featured. In addition, our Pipe Band makes an important contribution with performances at our Remembrance Day Service and Summer Fair, as well as an increasing number of external performances throughout the year. This term they are preparing to perform in the Scottish Schools Pipe Band Championships for the first time.
The whole of the Upper School is also involved every second year in a performance of a Mass setting (Mozart’s Coronation Mass in March 2016; Haydn’s St Nicholas Mass in March 2018), which also brings together a parents’ choir and an orchestra made up of teachers, parents and some of the older children.
As well as holding an annual Prep School’s Brass Day, we attend events at senior schools, including the annual Strings Day at Kilgraston, the Glenalmond Choral Day and the Fettes Orchestral Day.
We are fortunate to have a highly qualified and experienced team of peripatetic teachers: