We have a thriving Music Department here at Highfields. Every child will have an excellent experience of music, the emphasis being firmly on practical activity. All pupils have the opportunity to play instruments and sing as part of normal school life.
If your child goes on to develop a specialist interest in music, we inspire the highest levels of achievement. School policy is to engage professional, performing musicians with excellent reputations as peripatetic teachers. This team enables our pupils to achieve their full potential.
We offer whole class lessons in recorder to Forms 2, 3 and 4 and ukulele to Forms 5 and 6. All Forms will experience percussion work also. These lessons take place on school instruments and are part of the curriculum, and are therefore included within fees. Singing is a very big part of music learning in Pre-Prep. We meet as a whole school to sing together regularly and the music covered is wide ranging in styles. Children in Forms 5 and 6 study ABRSM Theory, with many going on to take graded exams.
A range of ensemble opportunities are offered before and during the school day: string group, band, choir and chamber choir. The children perform regularly at services for Harvest, Christmas and Easter, school concerts and productions. This gives them self-esteem, confidence, a broad cultural awareness and a sense of belonging to the community here at Highfields.
Pupils also have the opportunity to study a musical instrument individually. Private instrumental lessons are provided by a team of professional musicians. The teachers are all active performers, as we believe this is the best way to inspire our youngsters to play with confidence and musicality.
Lessons on the following instruments are offered at Highfields from Form 1 onwards: violin, viola, cello, piano, drums, trumpet, cornet, trombone, horn, clarinet, flute and saxophone.
Pupils having instrumental lessons see their music teacher for 10 sessions a term. The timetable rotates weekly and teachers will be as flexible as they can be during the time they are in school. Some teachers are happy to start lessons early, before the school day or teach after school.
Lessons will be made up in the event of teacher absence for whatever reason, often performance. (As a matter of goodwill, in the event of pupil absence for sickness or other school activities, we do all we can to make up any missed lessons.) We offer 20 minute or 30 minute individual lessons, 10 per term. The cost of lessons is enclosed on the application form.
Please speak to our Head of Music, Mrs Sam Wright, or individual instrumental teachers if you would like advice about purchasing or renting instruments. We have good relations with many local suppliers who will offer the best prices they can.
A final word about practice. As with anything in life, we get back what we put in. It is our belief that if lessons are exciting, pupils will be motivated to play. Sometimes, children are very busy or have other interests and instrument practice has to be accommodated alongside other demands. Having realistic expectations about what can be achieved in this situation is important. In the early stages, children can be very sensitive to parental pressure about practice. Please feel free to come and talk to the music teachers if you would like help or guidelines for practice at home. We have many ideas and strategies that you might find helpful.
Instrumental lessons and school ensembles are also open to Highfields parents and family members. Do not be shy – you will be very welcome, if you have always wanted to learn an instrument or regret having stopped, now is your chance to make music!
We look forward to meeting you.
For information about our ABRSM examinations please see below.
Mrs Sam Wright
Head of Music, Highfields School