Music for all
At Stamford, we believe that “Music is for all” offering help and support all levels of music-making, as we believe that music is an essential part of everyone’s life. The Music Department works hard to give every child access to music through a varied curriculum, regular singing in assembly, chapel and house competitions and the huge co-curricular programme.
All students study music from Year 2 – Year 7 and there are healthy numbers through the school including Music tech A level. The co-curricular programme across SES sees around 700 attendances at music activities each week at the 40 plus clubs and groups that we run. On top of that, there are more informal groups and concerts such as the acoustic night, Charity Rock and the House Rock Competition. Tech clubs are also becoming increasingly popular.
The Music Department
The music department has five academic staff with a very broad range of expertise: choral and vocal music in the Renaissance, Baroque and modern art music, string music in the Baroque and Classical periods, chamber music, orchestral music of the Romantic era, piano music from Mozart to mid twentieth century, jazz and pop piano styles, pop and rock music from 1950 to the present day. All our academic musicians sing or play professionally outside school and bring that expertise into the department’s curriculum and co-curricular activity.
In addition, there are 25 part time instrumentalist and vocal specialist, many of whom are professional performers, bringing that wealth of experience and opportunity into the schools. We are able to provide lessons in all the major orchestral, jazz and popular instruments including tuned and untuned percussion, drum kit, all guitars, harp, and even ukulele.
Why is music so important?
As well as the value of music for its own sake we know that it has huge benefits socially, cognitively, and for wellbeing. Singing lowers blood pressure and increases endorphins; a study showed that those in later life singing in choirs extend their life expectancy. Some evidence has shown that those on a music programme for a least two years achieve half a grade higher across subjects by GCSE time. This is just the tip of the iceberg and more and more research is being completed.
The school has 7 choirs, 5 orchestras and 4 bands which run all year. In addition there are a myriad of chamber groups (currently 6 string quartets, 2 sax ensembles, Clarinet choir, 2 flute choirs), rock bands, house choirs and ensembles which change depending on which family of instruments needs further opportunities. This flexible approach enables all students to develop those ensemble skills essential to be a good performer. Including external events, there are on average around 80 performance opportunities a year. In addition, we tour regularly.
Music Scholars will contribute in a significant way to the musical life of the Schools, participating in appropriate ensembles when asked to do so. Music will be the priority of a Music Scholar in terms of the co-curricular programme but this will not exclude them from participating in other activities.
Music Scholars will specifically benefit from:
- Having many opportunities to perform, gaining experience of performing to small audiences or to those in excess of 300.
- Accessing a growing number of opportunities to perform in events outside of school.
- Being assigned to ensembles as best suits their abilities, interest and needs.
- Encouragement to broaden their musical experiences, which could include conducting classes or developing arranging skills.
- Access to masterclasses, trips and visits.
- Scholars from Year 10 will have a mentor, who will not be their instrumental teacher, who will help to facilitate the Scholar’s musical interests.
Trips and Visits
Each year there are targeted trips which support the learning in the classroom or the co-curricular programme. We enjoyed a trip to see Holsts The Planets before we tackled two of the movements with Symphony Orchestra, we saw Young person’s Guide to the Orchestra by Britten to help the younger students with identification of instruments. We have also been to the Opera to see one of the A level set works. We are always looking to expand these trips and next year already includes orchestral, choral, opera and Jazz trips.More on Scholarships
Life after Stamford
Over the last five years many have gone on to study Music. We currently have former students at Kings College Cambridge, Royal College of Music, Academy of Music, Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance, The Royal Northern College of Music, Durham University and Leeds College of Music. Our students also go on to study abroad; One OS is currently studying Jazz Guitar in Berlin and another on an MA in composition in San Francisco. Of course, many students who study music go on to read other subjects as well. In addition, we are very proud that many students who take part in the music programme at Stamford go on with their music making beyond school, through university and beyond. This is as important a test as the academic routes.