Music is an integral part of everyday life at Gresham’s Prep. Our well-equipped Music Department offers nine practice rooms and a substantial multipurpose classroom. Every child is encouraged to discover their musical talent in the classroom and through extra-curricular opportunities.
All pupils have a class music lesson each week. In addition, singing sessions are timetabled for pupils in Years 3-5 and we run a whole school singing practice for congregational hymns once a week.
- Gresham’s is a singing school, and much emphasis is put on using the voice to make music. All pupils take part in the annual House Music Competition, of which singing is an important part. A variety of songs are used in classes to help develop voice technique and aural skills. Weekly congregational practice focuses on whole school singing; in our weekly Chapel services pupils and their parents sing hymns together and members of our Chapel Choir sing a wide repertoire of choral anthems.
- Lessons provide practical music making experiences and pupils in every year group have opportunities to study music in its many forms and genres. Playing an instrument, listening and appraising, composing and performing alongside their peers are skills embedded in weekly class lessons.
- Pupils in Years 3, 4 and 5 follow a broad range of musical units which work flexibly alongside the musical performances throughout the year and are bespoke for each year group, using Sing Up, Musical Contexts and Musical Futures. Pupils experience playing a range of instruments throughout the year, including tuned and untuned percussion, ukulele, keyboard, steel pans, recorders and Samba kit.
- Individual lessons, (given by our experienced team of visiting music staff) are available in singing, piano, organ and all orchestral and band instruments on request. Taster lessons are available to ensure the correct choice of instrument and group tuition is available, depending on demand.
- All year groups learn aspects of music theory in classes, which particularly supports the large percentage of children who take individual lessons and grade exams. Music Theory lessons are also provided as part of the Saturday Academic Enrichment programme.
- Children are guided in music composition, using not only standard handwritten notation and graphic scores, but notation software, for example, Sibelius, on our suite of PC’s. Skills in Music Technology are encouraged through class projects using Bandlab Software.
- Pupils develop important listening skills through being exposed to a wide range of musical genres, styles and composers. The curriculum covers music from around the world as well as western music.
- Performance at all levels is encouraged through class music, informal concerts, pop up events, school concerts, musicals and in our weekly Chapel services.
- Every child has the opportunity to perform in a termly Informal Concert and group performances are regularly held. Recent musicals include: ‘Annie’, ‘Joseph and his Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat’, ‘Aladdin’ and ‘Bugsy Malone’. Additionally, the whole school takes part in the annual summer Speech Day Concert, as well as the aforementioned House Music Competition.
There is a very busy extra-curricular programme happening at the Prep School every week, including choirs, string groups, recorder groups, Elastic Band, Orchestra and rock bands. A range of music clubs is also available throughout the year in after school and evening activity slots. Practice is encouraged at school with staffed Early Bird, break and lunchtime sessions available. We are proud to be an All-Steinway school, providing fantastic pianos for our pupils.
Gresham’s School is a centre for Trinity and ABRSM external music exams, allowing children to take their grade exams in familiar surroundings. Over recent years, pupils have been able to attend Masterclasses at the Senior School with top musicians including Nicholas McCarthy (piano) and Scarlett Askew (Flute).
The Chapel Choir is for pupils in Years 6-8 and currently it has a membership of over 60 singers. Following the strong choral tradition at Gresham’s, they perform each week in Chapel as well as in concerts and on Open Days.
Pupils can enter for Music Scholarships and for a Head’s Award in Music (assessments take place in Year 6 and Year 8 for Year 7 and Year 9 entry respectively). Pupils enter for local music competitions including the EPTA Piano Competitions and The Norfolk County Music Festival. The school works in collaboration with Norfolk County Music Hub and the community.