There is a vibrant and thriving musical environment and community at the Hall School, which is extremely well supported by boys, parents, staff and school governors. The atmosphere of inclusive, purposeful music-making in the School is greatly respected, and the majority of boys choose to become involved in the wider musical life of the School as well as in weekly class lessons. Instrumental and vocal tuition is first-class, delivered by visiting professionals, and there is a comprehensive programme of ensembles that supports curriculum work. Many of the high profile events during the school year have music at their core, and there are correspondingly impressive standards achieved and expected at all levels.
Junior School Music
Boys in Reception learn about all of the orchestral instruments that they can learn at the Hall during curriculum lessons. They also have small group taster sessions on various instruments.
From Year 1 onwards, boys will have an opportunity to learn an instrument at school. They can choose between piano, string instruments (violin, viola, cello, double bass), or woodwind, (flute, oboe, clarinet and bassoon). Boys who want woodwind tuition start on recorder if they are not big enough to handle the physical demands of the large instrument. Boys learn the recorder as part of the music curriculum in Year 2 and 3. Brass tuition normally starts in Year 3 due to the physical demands of the instrument however, exceptions can be made on an individual basis.
Year 2 and 3 have an instrumental concert once per term. Year 1 boys have an instrumental concert in the spring and summer terms. Boys will gain experience in how to introduce themselves, play their piece and acknowledge applause afterwards. This is a very friendly and supportive forum to introduce boys to the world of performing. Parents are warmly invited and encouraged to attend these concerts. Boys learning instruments externally are encouraged to perform in these concerts.
All string or woodwind/brass players in Year 2 and 3 (minimum standard applies) are invited to join either the Junior School String Orchestra or Band. Rehearsals take place during play time after lunch. The orchestra and band regularly perform during important school events (including the prestigious Gala Concert performed at St John’s Smith Square) and will also be recorded in the new music technology studio in the Senior School. Boys in Year 3 can audition for the Junior School Choir.
MS and SS Class Music Curriculum
A highly competitive and specialised instrumental training programme covers an enormous range of musical ability and standards. The class music curriculum has been developed to provide for and enhance the learning experience of all our boys, regardless of the standard of their musical achievement. Highlights from the curriculum include the following:
Year 4 - The elements of music and basic music theory, instruments of the orchestra and an all-inclusive topic on what you need to know about musicals! This is enriched with numerous practical lessons and singing.
Year 5 – The four major periods in the history of western classical music (Baroque, Classical, Romantic and Modern), enriched with practical keyboard investigation and singing. In addition to the exploration of the life and works of several composers, boys will also discover dimensions of the art, architecture and inventions during these eras.
Year 6 – World Music, including the culture, customs and music-making of countries from at least five continents. This will be followed by a study of the history of Jazz and Blues, from its
humble beginnings with the Ragtime of Scott Joplin, through the Big Band and Swing Eras, up to the Be-Bop and influences in Blues and Rock and Roll. This will culminate in a practical keyboard module, followed by a unit on some of London’s most desired and diverse music venues.
Year 7 - An overview of the development of the Rock style over the last 50 years, from Chuck Berry through to the stars of Rock music today. A full term will be dedicated to an introduction
to musical composition, followed by a module on theatre craft and theatre technology.
Year 8 – The majority of time in Year 8 will be spent on music technology. Boys will have the opportunity to benefit from the knowledge of a highly experienced music technologist. Weekly
lessons will take place in our excellent music technology studio where boys will be able to learn about the art of recording. By the end of Year 8, boys will also have an extensive knowledge of the
use of music software (especially Sibelius) to prepare them for the rigours of music at GCSE and A-level. Boys will also learn about the fascinating world of film music and will compose a
soundtrack for their own script.