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 extracurricular groups and trips are selected according to ability rather than age. This allows our Prep School pupils to interact with and get to know Senior and Sixth Form pupils who share the same interests and passions and contribute strongly to the School’s special sense of community.
It is our primary aim to ensure that Music in the Prep School is enjoyable yet structured and creative. In order to be a successful musician, one must foster a passion and we believe that this is best nurtured at a young age. All pupils are given the opportunity to try learning an instrument through class workshops in the Lower Prep. Many then go on to take regular lessons and join the Orchestra or Jazz Band. Singing is an important part of class music lessons throughout the Prep School and the majority of pupils are involved in one of the School’s choirs.
Our music staff comprises six very highly qualified teachers with a range of specialisms including composition, performance, musicology and musical theatre.
Each year the music department takes a group of musicians on an international tour. Recent destinations have included Vienna (2016), Athens (2015), Barcelona (2013) and New York (2012).
There are trips and workshops throughout the year including an African Drumming Workshop and a trip to the Colourscape festival.
For more specific year-by-year information, please refer to our Harrodian Curriculum Handbooks.
Jazz Band – (Upper Prep and Senior)
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 least Grade 4 standard on their instrument. The band rehearses for an hour per week and performs regularly at School and external events.
Orchestra – (Prep and Senior)
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!
Junior String Ensemble – (Pre-Prep and Prep)
Led by Lisa Hartley and Alison Holford (visiting violin and cello teachers), our junior ensemble is open to string players of all abilities and aims to develop basic ensemble playing skills through simple arrangements of fun pieces. Junior strings rehearse on Monday mornings before school and perform regularly in Prep and Pre-Prep assemblies and recitals.
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. The 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!
Percussion Club (Lower Prep)
Run by Lewis Webb (visiting percussion teacher), the group rehearses weekly and loves to make lots of noise! The department is equipped with a wide variety of percussion instruments and we have recently acquired a set of ‘boom whackers’ which are proving to be a lot of fun!
Band Club (11s and 12s)
Run by Paul James (visiting guitar teacher), Band Club is open to all pupils in the 11s and 12s who would like to be a part of a band. Paul helps to bring groups together and assists with songwriting. Many bands formed in this club go on to enter (and sometimes win) our prestigious annual Battle of the Bands competition.
Training Choir - (11s and 12s)
The Training Choir is a non-auditioned, mixed group open to all pupils in the 11s and 12s. The choir sing in a range of styles from Bach to Shakira (yes, really!) and the aim is to foster a love of group singing, developing skills in singing in parts. The Training Choir rehearses during one lunch time each week and performs in regular music assemblies and termly concerts.
10s Choir – (10s only)
The 10s only choir is a relatively new initiative which has gone from strength to strength, with nearly the whole year group now taking part in weekly morning rehearsals. This mixed group are introduced to two part singing through fun repertoire (recent songs have included music from ‘Matilda’ and ‘The Lion King’) led by Ms McTighe. Performances take place throughout the year but the group especially look forward to singing in their end of year Graduation Ceremony in July!
8s and 9s Choir – (8s and 9s)
This choir is open to all pupils in the 8s and 9s and we really do encourage everybody to come along and join in. The songs are fun, often with actions, and frequently silly. The choir is conducted by Mrs Ashe, Director of Music and it is an excellent way for her to get to know pupils lower down the school. The choir performs in assemblies and in a concert at the end of each term.
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 can be started at the beginning of term/half-term. Please download our Music Class Application Form for more information.
Director of Music: Hannah Ashe
Prep School teachers of Music : Melanie Edwards, Mairi McTighe, Issie Osborne, Kerry Sampson.
Music Technician: Daniel Almond