Music at the Senior School
Music Scholars form the backbone of the Music Department, and are expected to display high levels of commitment, enthusiasm and skill throughout their time at the College. They should: strive for excellence in their own performance and demonstrate a disciplined approach to practice; participate in a variety of ensembles and play a lead role in Co-curricular Music; approach Academic Music with interest and curiosity, and demonstrate a determination to expand their theoretical knowledge; be a positive role model for other musicians, inspiring and enthusing others.
Music Scholars’ Programme
We run a vibrant and personalised scholars’ programme, the aim of which is to stretch, challenge and inspire our finest musicians, while helping them to reach their goals, through short and medium-term planning and support.
We do this by providing:
- Individual Music Plans – Each scholar is assigned a musical mentor within the department, with whom they meet at the beginning of each term to discuss aspirations, plan for development and exchange musical ideas. This personalised support plan enables every music scholar to set their own targets and to achieve the standards of musicianship they aspire to reach.
- Music Scholars’ Workshops – They range from being improvisation based, to being focused on performance practice or masterclass style sessions and take place at least once a term. Pupils are encouraged to share musical opinions, and to develop their ability to create detailed and colourful performances. These workshops are run by music department staff or visiting specialists.
- Scholars’ Concert Trips – Funded by the music department, these trips expose our Music Scholars to a wide variety of artists, styles and genres, to broaden their appreciation of music in performance and widen their knowledge of repertoire. These informal trips are a wonderful opportunity for staff and pupils to share some very special musical experiences together and are a real highlight of each term.
- Scholars’ Concert – This is a showcase for the very best musicians in the College to perform as soloists (and sometimes in small ensembles). In terms of location, this concert alternates between our own College Chapel and a variety of beautiful local performance venues. Our last Scholars’ Concert was held in Dedham Parish Church.
Music Facilities and Equipment
The purpose-built Music School backs on to the Headmaster Porter Theatre, which provides a large, professional performance venue. There is also a large Recital Hall which is equipped with Apple Macs, a Sixth Form Music Technology Suite also equipped with Macs, a state-of-the-art Recording Studio with live room, and five practice rooms. Our fleet of pianos includes a Steinway Model B, two Bechstein grand pianos and four Hoffman uprights.
We have a dedicated Band Room and the College Chapel, which has a 3 manual Allen Organ, is also used regularly for services and performances. Through our partnership with Duet, we have acquired outstanding orchestral and percussion instruments, both tuned and untuned, including a full-size marimba and pedal Timpani, along with Samba set, Drum kits and a wide variety of other smaller percussion instruments. We are able to add to our stock in response to the needs of individual pupils in order to provide high quality instruments for every discipline.
Playing in new and exciting venues is important in developing our musicians’ performance skills. Our biennial Carol Service in St Edmundsbury Cathedral is a highlight of the performance calendar, along with pupils regularly having the opportunity to perform in inspirational settings such as Ypres Cathedral, The Royal Festival Hall and Snape Maltings. We also enjoy taking ensembles and soloists to perform in churches and concert halls in the local and regional area.
College choirs regularly compete and perform both locally and nationally. Our most recent successes include winning the Under 20s Choral Championship Cup at the Suffolk Festival in 2018, as well as the Age 13 and Under Choir Award. A number of pupils are also members of Aldeburgh Young Musicians, the National Youth Choir, National Youth Jazz Collective and the Duet Philharmonic Choir. We actively seek opportunities to stretch and challenge our most able musicians and are keen for them to excel in a variety of musical settings.
Music at the Prep School
We nurture musical skills from an early age, starting with singing and accompanied rhymes at Nursery. In Reception, the children sing, dance, clap and play percussion instruments and, as they get older, we encourage them to try recorders, ukuleles, violins, cellos and brass.
To inspire a life-long love of music, and help us teach a wide variety of instruments, the Prep School has visiting specialist tutors who offer lessons in piano (both traditional and jazz), singing, recorder, woodwind, brass, strings, drums, and guitar.
From Years 1 to 8, the children have plenty of opportunities to shine – a typical academic year includes 13 evening recitals and about 300 solos or small group performances. There are also numerous ensembles including vocal groups for the Juniors and Seniors, the orchestra, a string ensemble, the “Funky Monkeys” jazz band, and the “Wild Bunch” rock band.
We use the examination boards of the Royal School of Music (ABRSM), Trinity/Guildhall, as well as Rock School, for instrumental exams that typically rise to Grades 5 or 6 – and sometimes 7.
Framlingham College alumni who have evolved into professional musicians include:
- Lisa Cooper (Principal Horn of the Danish Aarhus Symphony Orchestra)
- Henry Jackman (pianist, conductor, songwriter and composer of major hit films)
- Christina Johnston-Myachin (coloratura soprano with the Prague State Opera)
- Ed Sheeran (award winning singer/songwriter, whose hits include Framlingham ‘Castle on the Hill’)
- Charlie Simpson (Busted and solo singer/songwriter)
- Laura Wright (BBC Radio 2 Young Chorister of the Year and award winning soprano singer of classical-popular crossover)