From the complete beginner to the talented performer, our comprehensive programme of musical education offers something for every pupil and it plays an integral role throughout the school. Our aim is to encourage a life-long love of music and an enjoyment of the subject because we know that this subject is a highly potent means of communication and expression for all pupils.
Abberley offers an extremely active instrumental programme with over 200 instrumental lessons being taught a week, and a 100% ABRSM Instrumental & Theory Exam success rate. We provide terrific performance opportunities in front of large and enthusiastic audiences in our Lunchtime Concert Series as well as our Grand Summer Concert.
As well as in School concerts, members of the teaching staff and pupils sing in The Chapel Choir which sings at services during the 'All In' weekends, and perform outside the school in services and concerts. The Choir have sung in Tewkesbury Abbey, Brecon, Bristol, Gloucester, Hereford and Worcester Cathedrals. They are invited to take part in an annual Prep Schools' Choral Festival and always look forward to the candlelit Advent Carol Service in the School Chapel and their end of term Christmas Carols Services in the famous baroque church at Great Witley.
A wide variety of activities are pursued in class. These include singing, performing, composing and listening to many different types of music from all periods and cultures.
Interest in, and enthusiasm for the subject are of paramount importance, but above all music should be fun, exciting, challenging and full of opportunities that empower and develop pupils. The Director of Music, Toby Dunham, is always happy to answer any enquiries on 01299 896196.
Almost all pupils at Abberley have one hour of classroom music per week in this unexamined subject. Activities include singing, performing, composing and listening to many different types of music from all periods and cultures.
In the first year, class recorder lessons provide the very youngest children with their first practical experience of collective music-making. These classes perform in the annual Summer Concert to demonstrate the skills established at this early stage. The art of listening objectively is developed through exposure to small amounts of music, often linked with a story.
Formal composition is introduced at Year 5 level (Removes) through analysis of some of the most celebrated classics of the repertoire. Children are taught to produce original music based on simple rhythmic, melodic and harmonic ideas using the suite of computers in the music department which are installed with the latest music technology and which are available to every pupil throughout their time at Abberley.
To augment learning, we take every opportunity to transport pupils to concerts, opera, ballet and other musical entertainments.
All pupils at Abberley have the opportunity to learn a musical instrument, to take part in group work and to sing in choirs. We offer lessons in most of the standard orchestral instruments and lessons are taught by the Director of Music, the Assistant Director of Music and a team of eleven highly qualified, inspirational and dedicated visiting staff. Lessons occur throughout the working day and are on a weekly rotation to minimise disruption to academic progress. Once children are proficient, we encourage them to be entered for examinations of the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music or other recognised bodies and ‘Aural Clinics’ help candidates with this part of the examination.
Regular concerts and workshops provide numerous performance opportunities, which instil independence and confidence. Once pupils have reached a certain standard they are encouraged to join in the many musical groups that meet throughout the week. These include percussion ensemble, string ensemble, string quartet, pop group, wind band, flute ensemble, brass groups, Cellini (‘cello group) and ClariSax.
The Chapel Choir
The Chapel Choir sings at services in the School Chapel and also outside the school in services and concerts, performing a demanding repertoire and nurturing the well-known choral tradition at the school. Recently the Choir has sung in Tewkesbury Abbey and Brecon, Bristol, Gloucester, Hereford and Worcester Cathedrals. The ‘Junior Choir’ is the ‘fun’ choir which is coached by our singing specialist and is a feeder to the Chapel Choir.