Music Department aims
Music is enjoyed and celebrated at Tower House School and all of our children are taught Music as part of their curriculum. We strive to create the very best atmosphere that will give every boy the opportunity to develop their musical skills by providing many diverse and stimulating experiences practically, creatively and academically. At Tower House school we aim to:
- To develop skills as a performer whatever the level
- To discover the joy of being an active listener
- To develop creative potential through composing
- To give every boy a musical background and experience that will stay with him for life
We offer a wide range of musical activities both within and out of the classroom. There is something for everyone regardless of their talent and we encourage everybody to take part in some music activity. In the classroom much of the work is practical, whether singing or learning how to play instruments, formal work or creating experimental compositions. We use IT to enhance creative work, Dalcroze eurhythmics to support general musicianship and Kodaly to improve boys singing. Nearly every type of musical ensemble is catered for whether traditional or popular. Discussions, visits to the theatre, concerts in and out of school, workshops, competitions and visiting musicians all support the work of the department.
At Tower House School we identify those who may be gifted and talented and encourage them to take up a new instrument, join extra-curricular music activities such as the National Children’s choir of Great Britain and apply for music scholarships.
Music is taught in a spiral curriculum in which concepts such as rhythm and pulse are revisited as children progress through the school. In Reception boys develop their awareness of pitch through solfa songs. Rhythmic fluency and a sense of pulse are viewed as important musical skills and are constantly reinforced through Dalcroze eurhythmics movement games.
In the Junior School boys develop their rhythmic, composition and listening skills though whole class holistic activities. In Year 1 children learn to play the recorder and in doing so learn to read treble clef notation. In Year 2 boys learn to read traditional notation and play the ocarina. In Year 3 boys take part in a wider opportunities string scheme and learn to play either the violin or cello. Children compose and improvise regularly using rhythms and their voices. Creativity is actively encouraged. Each class in the Junior School has a weekly singing lesson which at any one time may encourage good intonation, breath control, dynamic contrast and articulation. The Junior School also performs two productions a year in front of large audiences.
In the Senior School boys in Years 4 to 8 study a wide and diverse range of schemes of worlds covering such topics as World music, Blues and Jazz, the works of Classical Composers, instruments of the Orchestra, theme and variation, music video composition and production and song writing.
In Year 4 boys study 10 classical pieces and learn to play and perform a range of pieces on the Boom-whackers. In Year 5 boys study the ukulele. In Year 6 boys study music from around the world including samba, Aboriginal music and African singing and drumming. In Year 7 there is an emphasis on studying the key elements of music in greater detail such as rhythm, pitch, texture and structure. In Year 8 boys work towards completing the Bronze Arts Award, which is a cross curricula project involving Music, English and Art, which aims to develop their independent and creative thinking.
The Music Department runs a number of concerts, recitals and other performance opportunities each year. All ensembles take part in the Christmas bonanza, Carol Service, Creative Arts Spring Showcase and Summer Speech day concert. Individuals and small groups may play at one of a number of instrumental-group-based recitals and assemblies, or at Music and Tea morning, which takes place once every half term. As well as in-school concerts, singers and instrumentalists take part in annual musical days at schools such as Epsom College. Master classes with visiting professionals also take place, for ensembles and individuals. The Senior Choir carolers sing at the annual Bank of England Christmas fair, taking some festive spirit and fun out into the community. The Year 1, 2 and 3 recorder players visit local retirement homes and sing for appreciative audiences.
At Tower House school we offer a diverse range of extra-curricular ensembles:
- Junior Choir
- Senior Choir
- Woodwind ensemble
- Jazz band
- String ensemble
- Two Theory Clubs
- Two Rock bands
- Guitar Ensemble
- Recorder Club
Peripatetic Music Lessons
The Music Department offers extra-curricular music lessons for most orchestral instruments as well as drum-kit, singing and piano. Instrumental staff are well-qualified and experienced, many being professional performers as well as teachers. Children take a 30-minute lesson once per week. Lessons rotate through the teacher's timetable each week, so that students do not miss the same lesson continually. Teachers and parents keep in contact via music homework diaries provided at the commencement of lessons, though parents are welcome to make more regular and immediate contact by phone or email with their child's tutor. Instrumental teachers also welcome parents to observe lessons, especially those of younger learners, so that a more thorough understanding of the work underway, and techniques to be practiced, can be gained.
Trips and Visits
The Music Department provides an interesting and varied program of trips and visits which correlates to and enhances the experiences of class music. Currently Tower House school offers:
- Years 4, 5 and 6 attend the annual preparatory school singing workshop.
- Years 4, 5 and 6 attend the annual preparatory string day
- Year 6, 7 and 8 take part in a Drumming workshop at school
- Year 8 attend an orchestral concert or theatre production every year as part of their Bronze Arts Award certificate
"In the classroom much of the work is practical, whether singing or learning how to play instruments, formal work or creating experimental compositions"