Just a note to say that my son was totally inspired by last night’s concert! He came back saying he wants to practice his guitar more and for longer plus would like to take up singing lessons, as a direct result of the whole music festival experience.
The majority of pupils have individual music lessons ranging from piano, violin and flute to trumpet, guitar and singing. Our choir sings regularly, as well as giving public performances in Winchester Cathedral and beyond.
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. Also, 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 S Williams BA Hons, Head of Music