“Music for All” is a fundamental principle of the Department’s work.
All pupils at St Andrew’s receive weekly music lessons and for some, the musical highlight will be performing in the annual Section Music Competition. It brings together the whole community with singing, instrumental and solo performances and a healthy level of competitiveness.
Participation in instrumental and choral ensembles, large and small, is actively encouraged. Approximately two hundred individual lessons are timetabled each week; many pupils learn one instrument with a significant number studying two and a small number pursuing three. Sixteen VMT’s (visiting music teachers) form a well-qualified, experienced and dedicated team, teaching individually and coaching a large number of ensembles.
The School’s Orchestra, Big Band, Brass Groups, Concert Band, Clarinet Group, String Quartets, Cello Groups, Flute Group and Guitar Group offer opportunities for pupils to perform in a wide variety of styles. The Senior and Junior Chapel Choirs maintain the School’s strong choral tradition. There is also a Pre-Prep Choir, Year 3 Choir and the St Andrew’s Singers (which focuses on non-liturgical repertoire).
Performance opportunities abound with concerts each term and our Senior Choir sings Evensong at a cathedral each year. Pupils regularly compete in the Pangbourne Piano Festival; in recent years, some have successfully auditioned and participated in the National Children’s Orchestra.
The benefits of learning an orchestral instrument are enormous and well documented. Perseverance, dedication, co-ordination, teamwork, confidence in addition to the pleasure of discovering repertoire ranging from classical to contemporary ‘rock and pop’, film music and jazz.
A significant number of pupils regularly gain music awards to their chosen senior school; whilst we share in their success, we focus on making music fun and inclusive for everyone!