Music is more vital now than ever. In a world where citizens can communicate on a global scale so rapidly, access to music from diverse cultures is ubiquitous. We now have such a wealth of music to listen to, play and create that we find ourselves in the position of having to rise to the challenge of not devaluing the currency.
Neurologists such as Daniel Levitin and Anuh Patel have studied its beneficial effects within the brain, Susan Hallam relates its benefits in the development of literacy within children.
It is with this understanding and sensibility that music is taught at Rydal Penrhos.
All pupils have music lessons in Years 7, 8 and 9. Music is an option at GCSE and A-level.
All pupils at key stages 3 and beyond learn through the areas of performing, creating, listening and appraising. As well as discovering music through practical means, pupils work at developing musical literacy, enabling them to understand some of the theory underpinning their practical exploration.
This proves to be beneficial, particularly when studying GCSE and A-level music, where many skills converge, as pupils analyse set works, broaden their wider listening experiences, gain knowledge and understanding of a variety of compositional approaches and expand their performance palette.
Our curriculum also provides pupils with opportunities for performance in front of an audience. All pupils from years 7 to 9 perform in ‘pop gospels’ at various times of the year, as well as taking part in the key stage 3 concert in the summer term. Pupils at key stage 4 also expand their performance opportunities to include external events such as public concerts and competitions.
There are also a wealth of opportunities available for musicians and vocalists during enrichment sessions, which include joining the school band or choir, performing at community concerts and gaining external grading achievements from prestigious organisations including the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music.
Children are taught music from when they arrive at Early Years. Pre-Prep receive 40 minutes of music a week, and Prep receive two 40 minute lessons a week.
Performance is at the heart of what we do, reflecting the demands of the profession, and our specialist staff nurture skills and values that transfer into all aspects of life: confidence, team work, mutual respect, literacy and numeracy – the list goes on.
We treat every child like they have the potential to be a professional musician, and whether or not they choose to pursue music later on in school, they leave the Prep School with an appreciation and understanding of music and the skills to be able to sing, play and listen recreationally for the rest of their lives.
Our young musicians also aid their development at a number of concerts during the year, with individual lessons on their preferred instrument and at special community events such as Christmas singing throughout the region.