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 90% of children in the Upper School and 48% 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 14 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:
Chapel Choir, Senior Orchestra, Senior Pipes and Drums (‘A’ and ‘B’ bands), Junior String Orchestra, Junior Wind Band, Form 4/5 Choir, Form 4/5 Recorder Ensemble, Chanter Group,
Junior Drum Corp, Junior and Senior Flute Group, Junior and Senior Harp Group, Junior and Senior Guitar Group, Brass Group, Percussion Group, Saxophone Group, Wind Sextet, 3 String Trios.
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.
In addition, the choir performs externally, for example in March 2017 we gave an evening concert at Rosslyn Chapel, and in June 2017 we toured to Northumberland and Durham, singing at Lindisfarne Priory, Durham Cathedral and giving a lunchtime concert at Rothbury Parish Church.
There are numerous performance opportunities within school and externally. Pre-Prep and Upper School Miniconcerts are held in the music department 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. The highlight of the Spring Term is a concert celebrating traditional Scottish music. This summer our Junior and Senior end of term concerts will have an American theme.
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 in the Autumn term, we attend events at senior schools, including the annual Strings Day at Kilgraston, the Glenalmond Choral Day and the Fettes Orchestral Day.