Music plays a very big part in the life of the boys at St. Ambrose Preparatory School. From Reception, right through to Prep. 4, the boys have two forty minute music lessons each week in our designated music room. Our specialist music teacher has been trained in the Kodaly principles of music teaching – an approach built on the belief that singing is the best medium for teaching, learning and understanding music and that particularly develops the “inner hearing” so essential to a good musician.
The music room is fitted with an interactive whiteboard and the boys have access to specialist music software such as “Compose World Play”, “Rhythm Maker”, “The Dums” and “The Dums International”.
We have a live music experience for the boys each year. Our visits from “Travelling by Tuba” and “Key Strings” are always very popular and the visiting musicians are highly entertaining and very informative. The boys love their day of African and Samba Drumming when that comes round too.
Boys who start with us in reception will be able to read and understand simple rhythmic notation by the time they get into Infant 2 and will then be offered the opportunity to learn the recorder and be introduced to pitch notation. Boys in the Junior School will be offered instrumental lessons with our team of peripatetic teachers. We offer lessons on the guitar, violin, piano, flute, clarinet, saxophone and trumpet and currently two thirds of our boys are having instrumental lessons in school. The boys are given many opportunities to perform on their musical instruments – in class, during assemblies and at our annual Musical Evening. Many of our instrumentalists are entered for Associated Board Music Exams. It is quite usual for boys to reach Grade 2 or 3 standard before moving on to their secondary schools and we have some instances of boys leaving having been successful at Grade 5.
Extra Curricular Music
Our Recorder Ensemble, Orchestra and Choir rehearse in the music room during the lunch breaks. All the groups are very popular and well attended – in fact we now have a Senior and a Junior choir in order to accommodate all the boys who want to come along and sing!
We give many performances during the school year. The Infants take part in a musical nativity – often one written especially for them by our music teacher – and then a summer concert at the end of the year.
The Orchestra, Choir and Recorder Ensemble have a very busy time over the Christmas period – they perform prior to the infant musical nativity, the Junior Christmas Mass and then again when we invite the local community into school for an afternoon of Christmas Music and Sing-along – a lovely occasion looked forward to by all concerned.
Towards the end of the spring term we invite the local community into school again, this time for a World War 11 sing-along with Prep 4.
All the boys who have instrumental lessons at school take part in a Musical Evening towards the end of the school year. This is a great opportunity for them to show what they have achieved during the year.
Finally, in the last week of the summer term we have a Junior Concert and Prize Giving. As well as being a platform for the orchestra, choir and recorder ensemble, this is a concert that the whole school take part in.