Music holds a special place at Badminton: what happens outside the classroom is just as important as what happens inside.
Music is an integral part of many of the School’s high-profile public events and the chance to sing and play gives girls a real sense of purpose and service to the school. There is a wide range of musical ensembles and in any one year at least half of the girls at Badminton study at least one instrument. Our main concert of the year takes place in the beautiful acoustic of St George’s, Bristol and features the Symphony Orchestra and Choirs, as well as a concerto soloist from Upper Sixth.
Girls are immensely successful in academic, vocal and instrumental examinations. The Music department has three full-time members of staff (two in the Senior School and one in the Junior School) along with a team of twenty specialist visiting music teachers and an administrative assistant. We are housed in purpose-built accommodation which includes a recording studio and music technology suite. The instruments available to the girls range from a Steinway grand piano to African drums.
In Year 7 students have one lesson of class music focusing on the development of skills in listening, composition and performance. There is also choir practice each week dedicated to learning repertoire for hymn-singing in assembly and for the Carol Concert and St George’s Concert. In the Summer Term all Year 7 girls perform in a fully-staged production of a musical. In Years 8 and 9 girls have a double lesson in music each fortnight.
We follow the Edexcel GCSE course with four lessons each week. There is close collaboration with the visiting music teachers to prepare students for the performing unit of the course, and with Bristol’s Ystavaa piano trio to prepare students for the composing unit. Girls study Instrumental Music 1700-1820, Vocal Music, Music for Stage and Screen, and Fusions, which includes the study of eight set works ranging from Johann Sebastian Bach to Freddie Mercury!
At A Level, we follow the OCR curriculum with eight lessons each week. There are three units:
The areas of study which provide a focus to the work are the Instrumental Music of Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven, Popular Song (blues, jazz, swing and big band), Programme Music 1820-1900 and Innovations in Music 1900 – the present day. Students prepare a recital for the performance unit, write two original compositions and take a written examination at the end of the course.