Music transcends everything. All of us can experience and make it in some form. As well as the obvious joy that Music brings to both listeners and performers, it can be an outlet for emotion and creativity, allowing thoughts and feelings to be explored.
At Harrodian, we aim to bring the magic of Music to the widest possible audience through a range of media. The majority of our many extra-curricular groups and trips are selected according to ability rather than age. This allows pupils to interact with and get to know older and younger pupils who share the same interests and passions and contribute strongly to the School’s special sense of community.
Our Music staff comprises six very highly qualified teachers with a range of specialisms including composition, performance, musicology and musical theatre. We work hard to ensure a high level of success at GCSE and A Level examinations and many Harrodians go on to study Music at university or conservatoire level. One of last year's Upper Sixth leavers secured a place reading Music at St John's College, Cambridge and a number of Harrodians have achieved successful careers in the music industry.
We also believe strongly that the learning of music instills many transferrable skills applicable to all areas of life, including teamwork, listening skills, communication and the ability to create, to think outside the box and to plan ahead.
We currently follow the EDUQAS specifications for GCSE. Please visit the EDUQAS website for details or see the Harrodian GCSE Prospectus.
Course introduction and requirements
The course at GCSE Level is divided into three parts: Performing, Composing and Appraising. Those who wish to take the examination need to be interested in a wide range of musical styles and to be reasonably proficient on an instrument or as a singer (around Grade 4 standard). Often at GCSE and A Level, Music is team taught in order to give pupils the widest range of expertise in their lessons.
We follow the EDUQAS specification for A Level Music and the Edexcel specification for A Level Music Technology. For full details see the EDUQAS and Edexcel websites and/or the Harrodian Sixth Form Prospectus.
A Level Music Course Introduction
Studying Music at A Level will introduce you to a wealth of new approaches to music, whilst challenging you to deepen your current interests and skills. The most important thing at this stage is to begin thinking about music in a creative and disciplined way, exploring different repertoires and traditions for yourself, but keeping in mind the ways in which music is presented to you as an object of knowledge.
A Level Music Course Requirements
Grade A/A* in GCSE Music, good keyboard or guitar skills and Grade 5 standard (or equivalent) on another instrument/voice. We recommend that Grade 5 theory is achieved before embarking upon the A Level course. You will also be required to join, as a minimum, the Senior Choir and commit to regular rehearsals and concerts.
A Level Music Technology Course Introduction
Studying Music Technology at A Level will provide students with a range of skills suitable for the commercial music world. Students will develop their ability to use up to date music technology software, gaining experience recording a variety of live instruments and subsequently mixing and producing their work to produce near professional level recordings. They will also have the opportunity to compose music in whatever style they choose, allowing them to showcase their skills and technological understanding. They will learn about a wide range of popular music styles and genres, and explore the ways in which music technology has fundamentally changed the way in which we experience music.
A Level Music Technology Course Requirements
Grade B or higher in GCSE Music, some instrumental/vocal performance skills and a keen interest in music production.
Jazz Band – (Upper Prep and Senior)
The Harrodian School Jazz Band is our flagship music ensemble featuring some of our finest musical talent. The band is open to pupils from the 11s upwards who are at Grade 4 standard or above on their instrument. The band rehearses for an hour per week and performs regularly at school and external events.
Orchestra – (Prep and Senior)
The Harrodian School Orchestra welcomes instrumental players of all abilities and prides itself on the cross section of ages inspiring each other. This group is conducted by Ms McTighe who is herself a trumpet player. She encourages members to develop a passion for orchestral music in a wide range of styles: from John Williams’ film scores to Grieg and Bizet!
Senior String Ensemble – (Senior and Sixth Form)
Led by Alison Holford (visiting cello teacher), the ensemble is open to string players of grade 3 standard and above. Repertoire ranges from baroque and classical to arrangements of popular songs. Regular performances take place throughout the year in assemblies, recitals and larger concerts.
Saxophone Ensemble – (11s to Sixth Form)
The Saxophone Ensemble is open to saxophonists in the 11s to Sixth Form who are at Grade 3 standard or above. The group rehearses weekly after school and performs regularly. Repertoire is a mix of jazz and classical and Mrs Ashe is keen to encourage pupils to make use of the school’s own saxophone collection which includes altos, tenors and even a baritone!
Sixth Form Chamber Choir – (Sixth Form)
The Chamber Choir is an auditioned mixed group of approximately 15 singers (SATB) from both the Upper and Lower Sixth keen to tackle more challenging choral repertoire. Auditions take place in September of each year and full commitment is expected of members of this prestigious group. The choir performs regularly at concerts and events throughout the year.
Senior Choir – (Senior and Sixth Form)
Senior Choir is a non-auditioned, mixed ensemble open to all pupils in the 13s through to Sixth Form. The repertoire tends to be focused more towards popular music but we aim to develop skills in three and four part harmony through fun arrangements of well-known music. The choir rehearses during one lunch time each week and performs at termly concerts.
Tours: each year, the Music department takes a group of senior musicians on an international tour. Recent destinations have included Vienna (2016), Athens (2015), Barcelona (2013) and New York (2012).
Trips: there are trips throughout the year to see relevant concerts and musicals - Royal Festival Hall, Cadogan Hall, the Barbican.
Battle of the Bands Competition: a popular event in the School calendar, to see more photos and video footage from this year's event please click here.
One-to-one instrumental or singing lessons are also available. Please download our Music Class Application Form for further information.