There is provision for musicians at every level, both academically and practically. Music has been shown to act as a very positive influence on a child’s development – improving and developing academic and certain physical skills, cultivating social interaction, boosting self-esteem, instilling discipline and reward through hard work and introducing numerous cross-curricular references. It is for these reasons that music forms an important and integral part of every child’s education at The Leys, and there is a strong emphasis on encouraging pupils to participate in, or simply enjoy, music in some capacity.
We are privileged to work with so many talented pupils, and with the support of an excellent team of full-time and visiting musicians we look forward to growing the department, raising the high standards we already enjoy, and welcoming new musicians to The Leys to help us achieve these goals.
Wider Curriculum Music
The Music School runs a lively and extensive wider curricular programme and pupils are actively encouraged to participate. There are many ensembles that pupils can join, including: Chapel Choir, Chamber Choir, Symphony Orchestra, Wind Band, Jazz Band (known as Big Noise), String Ensemble, Brass Group, Flute Choir, Clarinet Group, Saxophone Group, Percussion Ensemble, Rock Bands and various small chamber groups. Pupils in Years 7-8 are encouraged to join Junior Band and Junior Voices, which provide a great musical starting block. Skills learnt here are further developed when joining the more senior ensembles in Year 9.
Concerts of all kinds are held on a regular basis. The largest events are the Moulton Concert and the Autumn Concert held in Great Hall; and the End of Year Concert at Saffron Hall in the Summer Term. Other performing opportunities include a series of ‘Lunchtime Live’ concerts which feature performances by pupils or visiting professional musicians; more formal Scholars’ Concerts as well as informal performances in Balgarnie’s (‘Bally G’s’), an informal café-style setting in the foyer of Great Hall. There are two annual music competitions: the Musical Theatre Competition and the Muriel de Vinny Concerto Competition, the winner of which has the chance to perform a concerto movement with the school orchestra at the End of Year Concert at Saffron Hall. In addition, Symphonia, a ‘music festival’ style event is held every Lent Term and features a day of performance workshops for all pupils who receive music lessons. This culminates in a more formal concert showcasing selected performances from all the different instrument/vocal classes.
The school aims to inspire its musicians through workshops and masterclasses, and in recent years we have welcomed Apollo5, VOCES8 and Oompah Brass! to host a day of workshops culminating an evening concert. Peter Donohoe gave the inaugural concert on the C. Bechstein in Great Hall in 2017, and in 2022 we welcomed Sir Stephen Hough who gave a solo piano recital. Other visiting artists include organist David Briggs who performed an improvised soundtrack to the 1930’s film Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, and jazz pianist David Newton and vocalist Heather Cairncross.
The annual House Singing Competition involves the whole school community.
Music is also an academic subject at The Leys