OUR MUSIC DEPARTMENT
The Music Department at Broxbourne is vibrant, lively and fun. We nurture our pupils, developing both their confidence and standards of excellence. There is something for everyone and every year a huge proportion of our pupils enjoy an extensive programme of instrumental lessons and extra-curricular activities. There are over a dozen different groups/choirs and clubs on offer including the 30+ piece Jazz Band, three choirs, string group, flute group, brass group, guitar group, wind group, Rock School, Steel Pan groups, theory clubs and a keyboard club
Our Jazz Band has performed at Disneyland Paris, The Royal Albert Hall, Paradise Wildlife Park and to pupils at some of our feeder primary schools. They recently went on Tour to Belgium and had an amazing time performing to appreciative audiences in both Ostend and Panne. The Christmas Concert is held at The Spotlight Theatre which gives pupils an opportunity to perform in an external, performance setting. We try to give pupils opportunities to support the local community, particularly at Christmas time -members of the choirs have sung carols and festive songs to a more senior audience in St Augustine’s Church Hall and the Jazz Band have supported the local Primary School Christmas Carol Concert.
As part of our enrichment package, we invite professional musicians into school to work with our pupils. Recently some of our talented singers and musicians had the opportunity to work with professional opera singer/voice, coach/choral, director James Gower in a mass choral workshop.
Pupils are also able to attend West End Musicals and other top class classical concerts. We actively forge links with our feeder primary schools and provide instrumental tuition for Wormley Primary School. We have also hosted Orchestra Days where our musicians support primary pupils to enjoy the many musical opportunities on offer at the school.
Our team of first class instrumental teaching staff are committed and dedicated to providing a wide enrichment programme and we are extremely proud of our pupils’ achievements.
Music is an important and valued part of the ethos and culture of the school. Learning to play an instrument is a fantastic opportunity which enhances your coordination, increases memory capacity, helps with time management and organisational skills, develops team skills, teaches perseverance and is an interest that will follow you into your adult life.
Paula Humphreys, Headteacher
Our Music curriculum is engaging, relevant and fun. The schemes at Key Stage 3 have a practical focus, where knowledge and skills are learnt through first hand experiences. Topics include Cartoon Music, Reggae, Song Writing, Gamelan, Film Music and the Blues. By Year 9 pupils move onto the Macs in our dedicated Music Mac suite where, for one of their projects, they can use professional software to compose music to match the music image of a film clip. This happens in real time and they can overlay their musical ideas gradually in layers to create an atmospheric Film Score. We teach every child keyboard skills in Year 7 – the aim is that all can play and read simple music at the keyboard
We have devised an inclusive curriculum and at Key Stage 3 the majority of the work is practical, developing the pupils’ compositional and performing skills. Much of the practical work is undertaken in pairs or groups, which helps to build confidence. The more able musicians are always given the opportunity to develop at their own pace. We feel that having some kind of experience of an instrument is essential for all pupils and as such, we have incorporated keyboard skills into many of our schemes. Those who play instruments are encouraged to bring them in for their class music lessons. All pupils by the end of Year 7 are able to read, play and compose at the keyboard. Pupils are also given a solid grounding in Music Theory and general listening and appraisal.
We offer both GCSE and A Level Music (Edexcel exam board) and we attract external candidates for our A-level course. We pride ourselves in the individual care and attention we provide for our exam pupils. We support them through the course, equipping them with the necessary skills and knowledge to achieve their very best in their exams. Our team of amazing peripatetic staff play a vital role in our pupils’ exam development, developing their practical skills on their chosen instrument(s)/voice to reach the rigorous standards required. Many of our A-level pupils go onto to higher education courses in Music.
We currently have a team of twelve talented, dedicated and professional teachers who offer top quality instrumental and singing tuition. Our teachers are experts in their own field, experienced teachers and able to teach up to the highest grades. Their dedication is what helps drive our pupils on to the higher levels and their success is seen in the uptake to our groups and choirs.
Pupils can start learning to play an instrument or to sing at any point in their school career and there are a range of options for lessons. 11 lessons are taught on average per term totalling 33 a year. These lessons take place throughout the school day and are rotated so pupils do not miss the same academic lesson every week. Some tuition is available before and after school.
Lessons are currently available for piano, keyboard, electric guitar, acoustic/classical guitar, bass guitar, drums, violin, viola, trumpet, trombone, french horn, tenor horn, flute, clarinet, saxophone, voice. In addition to traditional singing and instrumental lessons, we also offer group steel pan lessons. One evening a week we run a Rock School, where budding rock stars can sign up for tuition as a band member. We also dedicate grade 5 and 6 theory classes to support pupils who are at a higher level on their instrument or who are taking GCSE/A-level music and would like to reinforce their theory knowledge.
Every year, our pupils amaze us - they go from strength to strength. For example, in recent years we have seen the Jazz Band reach a standard that has enabled them to be selected to perform at both Disneyland Paris and the Royal Albert Hall. In July 2019 the band were on tour in Belgium, performing in both Ostend and De Panne. They were warmly received by the Belgian locals who praised the band highly for their level of professionalism and even gave them a standing ovation!
Throughout the year we offer an extensive concert programme internally which includes at least one major concert a term, plus several Recital Evenings, or perhaps Performance Platform Evenings to celebrate our talented soloists of all standards. We also arrange Music BBQ Evenings, where the pupils provide a fantastic musical programme whilst the audience enjoy a fabulous BBQ.
In addition to internal concerts, we also give pupils the opportunity to perform at The Spotlight, where we hold our Christmas Concert. Over 200 pupils participate and perform to an audience of around 400.
One of our new ventures last year was to reinstate the House Music Competition which proved to be extremely competitive and unearthed some outstanding talent from all year groups.
Parents and Friends
PARENTS AND FRIENDS
‘I would like to say a big “Thank you” to Mrs Kornhauser and Mrs Wood for the time, energy and infectious enthusiasm they give our children through the music department. Whether going on to have a music career or enjoying a lifelong hobby, the memories that this concert created will be remembered fondly by all who attended and have certainly shown our children that with hard work and dedication there is so much that they can achieve.’
Ros Kettle (parent)
We enjoyed seeing all of those youngsters perform last night. Their love of music and enthusiasm is wonderful; I love to see that, and they are very naturally talented. I do hope that the event raised enough for everyone to go to Paris - it will be a wonderful experience
Thanks for telling me about the occasion we all enjoyed.’
Friend of a parent
‘Thank you so very much for visiting us this morning and treating us to such an amazing live musical experience. Our children loved this and we hope it has inspired some of them to work hard at their musical development with the aim of joining such a group in the future. Please convey our collective gratitude to all of your amazing pupils who were brilliant. Well done to you for all your hard work in preparing and rehearsing. Thank you once more. We would love to repeat this next year should you wish?’
Headteacher of Broxbourne JMI Primary School - (commenting on our Jazz Band mini tour concert)
‘Pupils at The Broxbourne School have access to a huge array of musical opportunities, from individual tuition lessons to performing in larger groups and on public platforms. Pupils enjoy lessons and the opportunity it gives them to work with their peers and teachers. They take a real pride in their work, which is evident from a range of perspectives. A great deal of preparation and effort goes into preparing students for public performances.
The sense of enthusiasm and achievement is also apparent in the department, both visually, through information and pictures shared on noticeboards displaying a variety of successes and through public performances where pupils take real pleasure in sharing their musical ability with others.’
Helen Boxall (parent)