Why Study Music?
Musical life at King's is great fun. It is an important part of every day life 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.
What's On Offer
There is as much music being taught, rehearsed and performed as could be imagined. In a normal week, if there is such a thing, the chapel choir could be in chapel rehearsing for the weekly service or Choral Evensong in a cathedral, the wind band, jazz bands, string orchestra and symphony orchestra all have rehearsals in preparation for the many concerts that are performed in various venues around the school, and various rock, pop, indie, metal and fusion bands are using the recording studio to lay down their latest tracks.
Concerts, Groups and Orchestras
There are concerts of all sorts of music taking place in school throughout the year, in the music school Octagon, the Woodard Room, the theatre or the chapel. Each acoustic complements the music performed, which ranges from full orchestral works with choir to intimate solos.
Regular Octagon concerts give performers of all standards the chance to gain confidence in performance in a really supportive atmosphere which everyone enjoys, including the performers. Orchestra, string orchestra and wind band all have their own programmes of material that are presented in larger concert venues, and rock and pop musicians also have several concerts to demonstrate their skills with full lighting and sound rigs.
String quartets, jazz combos, flute trios and saxophone groups all contribute to a thriving chamber music scene, and there are plenty of ad hoc groups that get together for various projects.
“Many pupils play or sing in the many music and choral ensembles, and reach very high standards in their performances.”
- ISI Inspection Report 2018
Sixth Form musician Jimmy Yeung explains what it's like to study and play music at King's.
Tours to other venues at home and abroad contribute to the varied musical life of King's; the choir has toured to Venice and Barcelona where they sang in cathedrals and various other magnificent churches; the jazz band have, for many years, visited prep schools throughout the region and toured further afield to places such as Jersey and Barbados.
The music department is open all day long and consists of practice and teaching rooms, a recording studio, a recital room equipped with a fine new Yamaha C3 grand piano, and several computer rooms that allow access to the departmental sound library and various musical software packages. The chapel has a fine two-manual tracker action organ, a Yamaha C7 grand piano and a marvellous acoustic. A superb Yamaha C5 grand piano has been installed in the Woodard Room. An iMac suite of computers enable pupils to produce top quality music using the very latest software and realise how exciting creating your own music can be.
Singing and Choirs
Singing is important throughout the King's community and there are many opportunities for pupils to get involved. Individual lessons are available from our range of singing teachers who have various areas of expertise. Singing is equally popular with girls and boys, and various ensembles exist to enable pupils of all standards to take part.
The chapel choir was the winner of the 'Songs of Praise Senior School Choir of the Year' competition in 2007, and the choir now numbers 60 pupils. The choir sings at all the major services in the school year, at the weekly Eucharist, and also in other concerts throughout the year. In previous years the choir has recorded for BBC television and radio, and has sung in many prestigious venues including the Albert Hall, Birmingham Symphony Hall and many West Country cathedrals.
In addition to the main chapel choir, there is a chamber choir for a smaller, more advanced group of singers to explore some different repertoire. A boys' a cappella vocal group has made many a dramatic appearance in recent concerts and is rehearsed by the members themselves, and a junior girls' choir has enjoyed some lighter vocal treats. School musicals, which are always very high quality productions, have opened up many opportunities for our singers, and recent productions such as Les Misérables, Guys and Dolls and The Wizard of Oz have given both soloists and chorus members a chance to contribute to some amazing nights.
CDs and Recordings
There have been several CD recordings made over the past few years; the chapel choir have produced CDs of carols and sacred works, the jazz band has produced albums of jazz and more contemporary music; there are recordings of two musicals written by members of the department, and most recently a recording of Verdi's Requiem, featuring members of the department as soloists, and the choir joining forces with a professional orchestra and a larger choir. A barbershop group the Quartones released their first CD which was arranged and produced entirely by themselves in aid of charity.
Recordings are made as part of the music technology A Level course as well as most concerts, and are a valuable tool in evaluating performance.
Sixth Form pupil Norton Ho is a talented musician, studying music technology at King's.
Earlier this year, Norton was offered a recording contract after creating this track.
Listen here. Norton's music is accompanied by talented Third Form dancer Yoyo Fang.
Colin read music at Exeter University. He teaches music technology and some GCSE and A Level, and also conducts various ensembles including the chapel choir, big band, and chamber choir.
Karen gained a BA and an MMus from The Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama and the ALCM and LTCL diplomas, all in piano performance. She joined King's in 2003, teaching music and music technology to all year groups.
Alison graduated from Homerton College, Cambridge, with a MA in music. She joined the department in 2014 and teaches Third Form music, GCSE and A Level courses, as well as aural and grade 5 theory.
Emma gained a BA from The Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama and more recently LRSM diploma in singing. Emma is the newest member of the department and previously taught music at Llandovery College.
John joins us as a visiting music teacher and school organist.