We believe passionately in the part that music can play in the development of children and young people. Teamwork, personal discipline and the joy of succeeding at something worthwhile are some of the benefits from being involved with music - for students of all ages.
We run a taught music programme all the way from Early Years Cubs to the International Baccalaureate Diploma. A team of specialist primary and secondary music teachers believe strongly that everyone can gain a great deal through a better understanding of music and the practical experiences of making music, composing music and listening to music. Primary children also have a regular group singing practice, so that all children learn to be comfortable and capable with choral work, and this complements the main primary curriculum, which is based on the Kodaly method.
Older students can choose to work towards GCSE examinations and then study music as part of the International Baccalaureate Diploma programme, analysing, composing and performing to a very high level indeed. Other students choose to continue with music for pleasure, taking advantage of the opportunities to play on their own or as part of group.
We run an extensive instrumental teaching programme outside the curriculum. Fourteen visiting freelance instrumental staff teach a range of instruments, including piano, voice, acoustic and electric guitar, violin, cello, brass, woodwind, drums and percussion. Nearly 200 students have individual lessons, for pleasure and their own satisfaction, or towards external qualifications such as the UK based Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music programme, for which we are an official centre.
Students benefit from extensive facilities including multiple specialist music classrooms in both secondary and primary, with keyboards and tuned percussion. They have access to practice rooms with drum kits and pianos, as well as rehearsal rooms, a recording studio and control room. Performances take place in the Primary Theatre and the main Secondary Auditorium, which seats 400.
Music technology is a big part of our programme, and students learn to work with PCs and Macs and a great variety of software, including GarageBand, Sibelius, Audacity, Cubase and MuseScore. Composition is a key part of the taught programme, and the range of technology available allows students to review their own ideas very rapidly, greatly increasing the rate at which they learn.
Above all, music is about playing and performing, and students have a wealth of opportunity to play and sing in front of an audience. Our programme of Sunday morning recitals builds confidence for solo performers of all ages, with mums and dads in the audience to listen and applaud. There are bigger concerts through the year, in which students perform in one or more of our many ensembles, including a number of choirs, keyboard club, various rock bands, junior and senior strings, junior and senior jazz bands, and our concert band. Our students are also in demand for performances around Shanghai, with carol singing at Christmas a particular speciality.