Music

Music at Gresham’s is for everyone. We strive to nurture talent in our pupils from an early age, and encourage the development of musical skills and knowledge through our well-structured programme of extra-curricular music provision.

The Prep School’s purpose-built Music School hosts in a typical week over 200 individual music lessons taught by twenty-four visiting music teachers – many of whom are professional musicians. As the first All-Steinway Prep School in the UK, there are currently twelve Steinway pianos at Gresham’s, demonstrating our commitment to excellence by providing students and faculties with the best equipment possible for the study of music.

There are many opportunities every term for all pupils to perform, from the twice-termly informal concerts, to larger scale concerts in local venues or in our Auden Theatre. We also encourage talented individuals to join the Saturday morning conservatoires (such as the Royal Academy’s Junior Academy) as well as regional and national music ensembles including the National Youth Choir of Great Britain.

Every year the school hosts a residential music course during the summer holidays aimed at children aged 8-13 years, read more about the Britten Music Course.

Gresham’s has an enviable reputation for producing musicians of the finest variety, perhaps the most famous of whom is Benjamin Britten who attended Gresham’s from 1928-1930 before being accepted into the Royal College of Music. The main music room in the Music School is named after another notable musical Old-Boy, Sir Lennox Berkeley.

Lessons

Individual tuition is offered in the following instruments:

Piano Cello Saxophone Electric Guitar French Horn
Jazz Piano Double Bass Bassoon Drums Euphonium
Organ Flute Recorder Trumpet Tuba
Violin Oboe Harp Cornet Tuned Percussion
Viola Clarinet Voice Trombone Mandolin and Ukelele

Over 60% of pupils in the School play a musical instrument and the many who regularly take music exams have enjoyed an excellent pass rate in Associated Board and Trinity College Exams over the last few years. Every child in Year 3 and 4 has the opportunity to have a weekly group violin lesson which gives them an appreciation of belonging to an ensemble, as well as improving their musicianship and providing them with the necessary skills and technique to play a stringed instrument.

Ensembles

There are a variety of choirs at the Prep School, allowing for every child to participate in choral singing at the appropriate level, and each choir regularly performs in school concerts or in the weekly school chapel services.

Gresham’s School is affiliated to the Royal School of Church Music and members of the Chapel Choir are enrolled in the RSCM’s Voice for Life programme, meaning that each chorister is set a number of targets for various standards that, once achieved, can be awarded a medal to wear with their choir robes in Chapel. The Boys’ Choir have featured in Stephen Poliakoff’s 2008 cinematic release, ‘Glorious 39’ and the drama-documentary, Benjamin Britten – Peace and Conflict (2013). In early 2014 and 2015, our Chapel Choir reached the finals of Barnado’s National Choral Competition, and in November 2014, performed ‘Eventide’ by Gresham’s former composer-in-residence, Patrick Hawes, alongside the English Chamber Orchestra and Sheringham & Cromer Choral Society.

Local churches in and around Norfolk are regular performance venues for our ensembles. We also run an annual overseas choir tour for the Chapel Choir. Recent destinations have included Spain (2007), Estonia (2008), Malta (2009 and 2015), Czech Republic (2011), Switzerland (2012) and Belgium (2013).

Other musical ensemble weekly rehearsals include the School Orchestra, Brass Group, Percussion Ensemble and String Quartet. Musicians from these ensembles also have the opportunity to play alongside musicians from other schools at annual workshops and concerts. There are currently six pupil-led rock bands that rehearse weekly under the guidance of our rock band tutor in our well-equipped band room. We hold rock concerts regularly as well as featuring these groups in a major performance that opens our annual Speech Day in the summer.