Music plays an important part in the school life at Pinewood. We believe it is paramount to a holistic education. Concerts are held regularly throughout the term; they cater for inclusivity, for specialist ensembles and soloists. Thanks to the dedication of the Music staff and pupils, many Pinewood children have been awarded Music scholarships to their senior schools.
In Pre-Prep all children have access to a music curriculum, which is taught in classes. The children are encouraged to listen to a wide variety of musical genres, as well as having the opportunity to experience a wide variety of percussion instruments. In Year 2 children have an opportunity to take up an individual instrument as part of their curriculum. Singing is a part of daily life in classes, assemblies and performances, such as the Nativity, Harvest Festival and the Summer Play.
The quality of pupils’ work in extra-curricular Music is of an exceptional standard.
(ISI Inspection Report 2012)
All children from Years 3 & 4 sing with the Junior Choir; performances are held termly in a series of Lower School Teatime Concerts. Children from the Middle School are invited to join the Vox Choir; they perform regularly at school functions and enjoy songs taken from a varied repertoire. Every child from years 6, 7 and 8 is auditioned at the beginning of the Autumn term for places within the Chapel and Chamber Choirs. Members of the Chamber Choir enjoy singing a variety of secular music; they perform regularly within school and at public functions. They have also sung at the 02 arena in London and on tour in Germany and Italy. The Chapel Choir sings at St James church in Bourton and membership is reviewed every term; recently it spent the day at a professional recording studio recording anthems for a CD. Children in the Chapel Choir follow the Royal Schools of Church Music Chorister Awards. A Choral Society for adults and senior Choristers rehearse weekly for concerts through out the year.
Orchestra, Bands & Ensembles
The School Orchestra and Jazz Band rehearse weekly and instrumental staff coach sectional rehearsals in the lead up to concerts. There are also various ensembles to meet the diverse instrumental playing throughout the school: a Chamber Wind ensemble, Junior and Senior String ensembles, Brass Band, Jazz trio, Trombone choir, Intermediate and Senior percussion ensembles, guitar groups, Senior and Junior flute choirs and Junior and Senior Rock Bands are all led by the visiting music staff. Opportunities for these ensembles to perform in and out of school are arranged throughout the term. In 2014 the Senior guitarists won the ensemble trophy at the Devizes Eisteddfod with the senior percussionists and the chamber wind ensemble coming second and third respectively.
Individual music lessons
Choosing an instrument is an extremely important decision and one which is discussed with pupils, parents and the Director of Music. Children are given demonstrations by visiting music staff and ‘taster sessions’ on a variety of instruments within their class music lessons to help in the decision making. Pinewood offers tuition on piano (jazz & classical), singing, violin, viola, cello, double bass, percussion (tuned and unturned), guitar (electric & classical), flute, oboe, clarinet, saxophone, French horn, trumpet, trombone euphonium, tuba and theory. As part of Pinewood’s commitment to music, ‘The Pinewood String Experience’ offers all children in Year 3 the opportunity to learn to play an orchestral string instrument as part of their weekly, timetabled class music lessons. ‘The Pinewood String Experience’ recognises its responsibility to encourage young string players, and regular performances in Lower School Concerts are thoroughly enjoyed by performers and audience alike
Performing at a national level is encouraged, supported and admired by the Pinewood community. Pinewood pupils have been awarded places with the prestigious National Youth Choir of Great Britain, the National Children’s Orchestra, the Wind Sinfonia of Great Britain, the National Chamber Strings Orchestra and the National Schools Symphony Orchestra performing at some of the most admired venues in the country.
Children participate in local music festivals and competitions; in recent years Pinewood pupils have been winners of the Celia Walker Music Competition (local to Oxfordshire), and at the Devizes Eisteddfod. In 2014 the Senior guitarists won the ensemble trophy at the Devizes Eisteddfod with the senior percussionists and the chamber wind ensemble coming second and third respectively.
The Senior Percussion ensemble have reached the finals of the National Chamber Music Competition for two consecutive years running and recently performed at the Birmingham Conservatoire as part of the celebration. All pupils also compete in the annual House Music Competition, adjudicated by Directors of Music from prestigious senior schools.
Pupils are prepared for music examinations by the following examination boards: Associated Board of Music; Trinity/Guildhall school of Music; Rock School; Royal School of Church Music. Success in the variety of examination boards on offer at Pinewood displays the diverse genres of music experienced and enjoyed at Pinewood.