Musical life at King's is great fun. It is an important part of every day for many pupils. There are opportunities for everyone to get involved in the many varied musical activities, to whatever level they want, but importantly, King's musicians love performing and have a broad experience of every musical style; they may not like it all, but they appreciate how it's put together and what impact music can have on us all.
Some past pupils have really hit the big time; Leo Crabtree is now the drummer with 'The Prodigy', and Matt Prime is a very successful songwriter and producer, writing for major recording artists such as Will Young, Natalie Imbruglia, Simon Webbe, The Saturdays, Jamelia and Kelly Clarkson. Richard Vincent has appeared in the touring production of Wicked to great acclaim and Alexandra Gabriel is busy writing, performing and recording her own blend of New Age sounds.
Performing, composing and listening are the fundamental principles that underpin all music-making, and throughout a pupil's time at King's the music department strives to bring out the best of all these elements. All Third Form pupils study music and they develop these skills through working in a variety of styles, from classical symphonies to African drumming to the latest chart sounds. Pupils can use musical software in the new iMAC suite to enhance their understanding, and there are regular opportunities to perform, from the informal setting of the classroom to larger school concerts.
It is very pleasing to see the increasing numbers of pupils who take music at GCSE level. The exciting musical opportunities revealed in the Third Form are realised with even more use of computers to enable pupils to experiment with composition in any style they choose with a limitless palette of sounds. They can use the recording studio to realise their work by playing live with friends and perform to each other to discover the fun and thrill of live performance.
Music at A Level continues to develop the key skills, with more focus on analysis of great works, but coupled with a higher level of performing skills and an increased knowledge of compositional techniques. The breadth of styles chosen for all these elements continues to widen and recently submitted work has included film music composition as well as a suite for heavy rock band.
Developments in technology over the last few years have opened up huge possibilities for a broader range of musician to follow an advanced level course. The music technology A Level course is very much suited to the modern musician who enjoys working in a studio environment where technology, including use of microphones, mixers and computers, is used to push the boundaries of what is sonically possible.
Whichever route our musical pupils follow, they will have experienced a vast range of different styles of music, and may even have developed a particular love of some sort of it. They will know something about all sorts of music and have performed in those styles as well, but most importantly they will go on to value their music in later life.
There really is something musical for everyone and many try everything!