Music at Prior’s Field
Throughout the school year, specialist music teachers offer a full range of musical activities, workshops, master classes and trips to concerts and shows.
Choirs, string ensemble, concert band, jazz band, flute ensemble, brass ensemble, regular rock and pop workshops, saxophone ensemble, production club, theory and aural test practices.
Choirs and singing lessons:
Four of the Prior’s Field music teachers are vocal specialists, representing all vocal styles. Choir is available for all ages as well as selective Chamber Choirs and vocal ensembles. We also have a community choir consisting of parents and staff which performed this year at the carol service and are rehearsing for a performance at the end of the year.
The department currently provides individual lessons in: Bass Guitar; Cello; Clarinet; Cornet; Classical Guitar; Drum kit; Electric Guitar; Flute; French Horn; Harp; Jazz Piano; Oboe; Piano; Saxophone; Rock and Pop Keyboard; Trombone; Trumpet; Viola; Violin.
Length of lesson guidance and fee information:
Fees are charged for these lessons, details of which can be found in the Admissions, Bursaries and Scholarships booklet on the website. Lessons are arranged in rotation through the school day, throughout term time, during the school year. This is so that young musicians are not disadvantaged by regularly missing a particular subject. Girls who learn more than one instrument and/or are in the Upper School are likely to receive a fixed time for one of their studies.
Hiring an instrument for the beginner musician:
If your daughter is starting a new instrument, she will probably need to hire one for between a term and a year. We recommend the following local shops where parents and girls can easily arrange the purchase or hire of most orchestral musical instruments:
Our visiting music staff will advise you further:
- Britten’s Music at West Byfleet, Surrey (01932 351165)
- Chamberlain’s in Haslemere, Surrey (01428 658806)
- For rock and pop musicians: Andertons in Guildford, Surrey (01483 456777)
Theory of music:
We offer individual tuition in the theory of music as and when required. A Theory Class is also available, free of charge, and for all standards.
Practice, examinations and playing for pleasure:
It is a good idea for girls to aim for an examination from time to time to check that they are on target, making progress and to give them some positive feedback from an external expert. We enter girls for examinations with the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music. Other examinations such as Rock School, Musical Theatre and Trinity Guildhall are usually entered via individual teachers.
All young musicians are required to practise between each lesson. Parents can ensure they support their daughters by monitoring practice sessions at home. Practice rooms are also often available at school during break and lunch times, and particularly for boarders, after school.
Music is for everyone:
There is an expectation at Prior’s Field that if you learn a musical instrument, you automatically become a member of the most appropriate musical activities associated with your musical skills, so singers join choirs, rock musicians join rock bands, instrumentalists join concert band, jazz band and smaller instrumental ensembles, while pianists can join rock bands and chamber groups.
There are many opportunities to experience our high standard of music, whether on formal occasions such as the Celebration of Christmas, our all-singing, all-dancing Speech Days, Rock and Pop Nights or even in our more informal “Classics and Cakes” recitals which can turn the spotlight on to our less experienced musicians. Approximately half the girls at Prior’s Field learn instruments and singing privately and there are numerous groups and ensembles on offer. In the past year scholars have performed at the Watts Gallery, Guildford Institute and were the centre of attention in our Classics by Candlelight event.
Our recent school production of Les Misérables Schools Edition was a milestone; we were the first girls’ school to acquire the rights and the vast majority of the band performers were students. We have held public masterclasses with Nicola Benedetti and Janice Watson and have also welcomed guest appearances from Beverley Craven, Carol Decker (T’Pau), and District 3, and have enjoyed gamelan workshops. In 2016 we moved into our new state of the art facilities that includes an 80-seat recital room and a Mac suite.
Music Technology is taught throughout the school and all girls are encouraged to compose using Cubase and Logic. We also have Sibelius software. The studio is often used for recording students under professional conditions.