Music at Prince’s Mead is a thriving department with an outstanding reputation. It is presented in the school community through class teaching, individual tuition and instrumental ensembles and choirs.
In class lessons our focus has a practical bias, encouraging inclusive whole class projects designed to allow every child a chance to shine, regardless of expertise or experience, from the youngest to the oldest.
In addition to class projects, every child has the opportunity to learn an instrument and to belong to an instrumental ensemble or choir. In all areas, we offer a strong focus on performance.
We have a thriving Orchestra, Wind Band, String group, Advanced String group, Advanced Brass Group and various Ukulele, Recorder and Guitar Groups allowing for individual differentiation where appropriate.
Singing is for everyone and each child will sing in a choir as designated by their Year group. In addition, the older children can participate in either Young Voices or Chamber Choir.
Ensemble and singing performances include regular class assemblies, singing weekly in Friday Prayers with the Orchestra accompanying, a Nativity play performed by Year 1 and Reception, a Christmas Concert, a Summer Ensemble Concert and a glorious Carol Service performed in Winchester Cathedral.
Individuals are encouraged to learn an instrument with one of our visiting peripatetic instrumental specialist teachers who play a highly integral and supportive role within the department. Our peripatetic team are professional musicians within their respective specialisms who bring a thorough accuracy, enthusiasm and passion to their teaching which that background entails.
Individual ability is showcased in a variety of ways. We have a 100% pass rate with graded ABRSM, Trinity and RockSchool exams, with Merit and Distinction achievement being the norm. In addition, we hold bi-termly informal Tea-Time Concerts, and an internal School Music Festival culminating in a Festival Concert, given in the elegant surroundings of our Mirror Room.
Musically gifted children are recognised early. We are very proud of our frequent success in gaining numerous Music Scholarships in senior school placements, and former pupils have gone on to achieve inclusion in National Ensembles, or have chosen to read Music as a subject in University, including Oxbridge in two cases.
Bespoke smaller ensembles have performed in the community including singing for residents in Abbots Barton and The Dower House Nursing Homes; performing at Tea-Parties hosted by the Bishop of Winchester and other one-off events in the Cathedral, and singing at the Funeral Service of a former Headmistress, to name but a few.
Just as importantly, inclusivity is prioritised on equal standing to individual success, with every child being encouraged to use their musical initiative to work creatively and independently. Many ensembles are inclusive. Under the supervision and guidance of our percussion teacher, we have produced child-led Girl and Boy bands which traditionally perform in the Summer Ensemble Concert.
Furthermore, to mark the culmination of the academic year in the summer term, we produce a major School Production in our transformed Sports Hall; last year’s being Beauty and the Beast, which is inclusively performed by Years 5 and 6.
Overall, Music at Prince’s Mead infiltrates our entire community, offering our pupils the chance to showcase their talents. They learn from each other in a busy and inclusive department, and gain confidence in their abilities within a caring and supportive environment led by specialists.
Miss Sue Williams BA Hons – Head of Music
Drama continues to be one of the most popular curriculum lessons at Prince’s Mead. Children love performing and from an early age they are given all the stagecraft tools necessary for putting on a variety of productions during their time at the school including Nativity Plays, class assemblies and musical theatre presentations, all culminating in the Year 6 production at the end of the school journey.
Pupils begin to develop drama skills at a very early age. In EYFS and Year 1 classroom role-play areas are set up, in which children can dress up and act out different situations in a creative environment. As they get older, children are encouraged to speak and listen to one another in different scenarios and for different purposes in a range of subjects across the curriculum. This also helps to increase their confidence and improve their communication skills.
In Years 4, 5 and 6, drama is taught as a separate lesson where a wide variety of games and activities are used including role-play, mime, hot-seating and improvisation to teach the dynamics of drama in a challenging yet enjoyable way.
At the end of the Summer Term, the Year 6 children have the opportunity to display the skills they have learned and talents they have honed, in the much anticipated and highly entertaining end of year production! The shows always include a high level of acting performance, with the school sports hall transformed into a spectacular theatre space, creating the perfect venue for each amazing event. Past productions have included Annie, Oklahoma!, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Disney’s Aladdin and Disney’s Beauty and the Beast.
In addition to curriculum drama, private lessons are available as additional peripatetic provision. Pupils are entered for LAMDA Examinations and Drama Festivals and the ultimate aim is to give children the opportunity to develop the communication skills they need to be a success.
All aspects of performance are covered and the children are encouraged to recognise when it is appropriate to perform dramatically and when to be natural.
Exploring characters from poems, books and plays gives the children an opportunity to develop an understanding of different situations and how these different situations will make people feel and react. This is valuable in encouraging empathy.
Mrs Jan Lyon, Speech and Drama Teacher