Music making is at the heart of Wimbledon High School life with music being heard across the school at all times of the school day.
From informal performances and assemblies to large-scale concerts and joint musical productions with the Drama department, music is celebrated and enjoyed. The Senior Music department is attached to the Rutherford Centre and offers two music classrooms, both fully equipped with Mac books running specialist software Sibelius 7, as well as seven practice rooms used for peripatetic instrumental teaching. Our curriculum is focused on academic rigour and understanding; this is matched with an extensive co-curricular timetable, which allows students to be immersed in musical creativity throughout their school day.
The music department is exceptionally diverse in the range of ensembles and groups on offer. Each term has a large concert where the ensembles and choirs perform, with additional services at local churches at Christmas and Easter. In addition, there are termly scholars’ concerts and instrumental competitions held throughout the academic year. The AbC (Anything but Classical) Concert, Battle of the Bands and weekly Friday Jammin' ensure that all musicians are given a platform for performance.
The Symphony Orchestra numbers some 50 performers of an ABRSM Grade 6 standard or above. They are the flagship instrumental ensemble of the school and play a leading role in concerts and services throughout the year, performing a range of music – including classical repertoire, film music scores and concerto movements. The Senior Orchestra is directed by Richard Bristow and rehearse twice a week.
The Chamber Orchestra is a training orchestra of some 25 musicians up to ABRSM Grade 5 standard. They perform a mixture of musical styles to help develop musicianship and encourage ensemble skills. The Intermediate Orchestra are directed by Alice Martin and rehearse once a week.
A Cappella are an auditioned four-part chamber choir made up of students from Year 10 upwards. They perform a range of musical styles including recent performances of Britten’s Ceremony of Carols and music from Les Misérables. The choir recently toured New York, working alongside Broadway actors in specially-organised workshops. A Cappella are directed by Richard Bristow and rehearse twice a week.
Close Harmony Singers
There are close harmony groups for Key Stage 3 and Key Stage 4 groups, allowing a development of close harmony singing and a chance for pupils’ own arrangements of songs to be performed.
Blue Vines are a sixth form close part harmony choir which is directed by one of the A Level Year 13 pupils. They toured New York with A Cappella in February 2015.
Canto are an auditioned four-part choir made up of students from Year 7 to Year 9. They sing a mixture of classical repertoire and songs from musicals and perform in the termly concerts.
This is a new ensemble with 8 string players specialising in Baroque technique. As well as performing pieces in their own right, they also work alongside soloists to produce recitals of Baroque concerti. They recently performed Vivaldi’s Spring from ‘The Four Seasons’ with soloist Clare Kennington.
The pop choir is a non-auditioned choir for Years 7 to 9 focusing on popular musical styles. Pieces are often arranged specially for the group, who rehearse once a week.
Enrichment – Music in the Community
As a part of the enrichment carousel, musicians perform seasonal repertoire for the local community on Tuesday afternoons. These venues include local hospitals, nursing homes and community groups.
Chamber Ensembles & Music Theory
Various chamber ensembles including a String Quartet, Flute Group, Piano Trio Group, Guitar Group, Clarinet Choir, African Drumming Group and Jazz Group are taken by specialist peripatetic musicians to promote an advanced understanding of the instruments in question. Music Theory (at an additional cost) is offered to pupils on a drop in basis to give extra support to those sitting their Grade 5 Theory examination. A weekly song-writing club is also offered to encourage use of music-technology and a greater understanding of how to compose in a popular style.
This is a weekly drop-in surgery hosted by members of the academic music staff for pupils to have extra support on any aspect of the music curriculum. It allows for greater 1 on 1 contact time and is of a great benefit for academic extension.
Both the Drama and Music departments work together to produce two Musicals every academic year. The first is a Senior Musical which takes place in December, with Sweet Charity and Cabaret being recent performances. The summer Musical gives the lower year groups a chance to be involved, with Crazy for You being a recent performance.
Follow @Music_WHS for the latest information on our concerts, activities and productions.