Birkenhead School

Birkenhead School

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Music

Music at Birkenhead School is lively, varied and, most importantly, fun! There is an ever-growing range of choirs, bands, orchestras and other ensembles to cater for all tastes and abilities. From our robed Chapel Choir- who sing Choral Evensong every Sunday- through to our student-led Ukelele Club, there really is something for everyone! Involvement in co-curricular music making is strongly encouraged at all ages.

The Music Department has a full staff of instrumental tutors who give individual tuition in a wide variety of instruments to pupils throughout the School. Pupils joining us from elsewhere are given the opportunity to begin learning an instrument or to continue studying an instrument they have taken up at their previous school. Tuition is available in the following instruments:

Violin

Flute

Trumpet/Cornet

Percussion

Viola

Oboe

Horn/Tenor Horn

Pianoforte

Violoncello

Clarinet

Trombone

Organ

Double Bass

Saxophone

Tuba

 

Music Technology

Guitar

Bassoon

Euphonium

Music Theory

Bands and Orchestras

For pupils in Years 3-6, Prep Orchestra meets weekly and is open to all those playing instruments as soon as they have sufficient experience to join in. They take part in their own concerts and every year in the “Whole School” concerts. A number of Senior School Music Prefects assist the younger pupils in their weekly rehearsals and performances.

At present there are three large Senior School ensembles: the Concert Band, the Orchestra and the Big Band. In addition, there is an award-winning Brass Ensemble which is run by our Brass Tutor. Other smaller ensemble groups meet, such as the Saxophone Quartet, Clarinet Ensemble, Trombone Ensemble, two Flute Ensembles, Folk Band, Guitar Ensemble and a student-led Ukulele Club. It is our policy that all pupils receiving instrumental tuition should join one or more groups as soon as they are able as this is a most important aspect of their musical development. Pupils who are learning to play an instrument privately out of School are also encouraged to join these groups.

Choirs

Prep Choir

The Prep Choir is a mixed voice choir which rehearses each week and prepares for internal concerts and music festivals. In recent years it has also taken part in concerts in the Philharmonic Hall, both in its own right and as part of the larger chorus. Many pupils who sing in the Prep Choir are also Chapel Choristers.

Senior Choir

A mixed voice Choir that caters for all ages from 11 to 18 and membership is open to all without audition. Rehearsals take place once a week. As well as promoting the joy of singing, the mixed choir prepares a repertoire for School concerts and has also taken part in concerts in the Philharmonic Hall, both in its own right and as part of the larger chorus.

Chapel Choir

We believe the Chapel Choir is unique amongst independent day schools. Choristers perform what is essentially a cathedral repertoire. Admission is by audition, with voice trials held every June and September, although the Director of Music may assess individuals at other times of year as well. Apart from providing the music in Chapel during the week and at the Sunday service, the Choir undertakes recitals and various cathedral work. In recent years, summer cathedral weeks have included York Minster, Lincoln Minster and Sherborne Abbey, as well as an impressive range of cathedrals! A high musical standard is expected and maintained in the Chapel Choir and yet the commitment is not unreasonable – one or two short before-School rehearsals, one lunchtime rehearsal and one after-School rehearsal each week and attendance at most Sunday services (one a week during term time) is expected. At busy times extra rehearsals may be arranged but this is rare.