Music plays a vital part in the life of Norwich School, with over 65% of pupils involved in musical activities each week. We offer exceptional opportunities in all aspects of music, including instrumental study, ensemble playing, composition, jazz, choral music and cathedral choristership.
The Department gives regular performances in Norwich Cathedral, the School Chapel, Barbirolli Room and St Andrew’s Hall.
Pupils study music for many reasons: Some play purely for pleasure; some go on to read music at the UK’s leading universities and conservatoires; some pursue successful professional careers as singers and instrumentalists.
More than 20 ensembles are available each week - orchestras, concert bands, jazz bands, choirs, guitar groups, percussion groups and the school’s Choral Society (which combines both School and adult choirs).
A team of 35 visiting music teachers provides instrumental and vocal tuition at both Lower School and Senior School. The Department stages a musical theatre production each autumn to sell-out audiences. Recent productions have included Les Misérables, West Side Story and Jesus Christ Superstar.
Studies at Fourth Form level are designed to develop listening, analysis, theory, composition and performance. We place a special emphasis on the use of music technology as an aid to learning.
Lower Four pupils develop their understanding of the basic principles of music theory through a number of integrated projects, including World Music, Music for Advertising and the History of the Orchestra.
Pupils in the Upper Fourth build on this knowledge by considering and performing a wide range of musical styles including Blues, Samba and Music for Film. We encourage pupils to participate in group music- making, with a strong focus on performing in small groups and with the whole class.
Lower Five works as a preparatory year for the GCSE course. Pupils are introduced to the Sibelius computer notation programme and learn some of the fundamentals of composition such as melody, rhythm and structure, in preparation for their coursework in subsequent years. Meanwhile, they build on their knowledge of theory gained in Fourth Form.
For Middle and Upper Five, the Edexcel GCSE Music course is divided into three topics: Performing (30%) Composing (30%) and Listening (40%). The course requires pupils to study an eclectic mix of music ranging from Bach to John Williams, Purcell to Stephen Schwartz, through the use of eight set works (all printed in a dedicated anthology).
In the same way, diversity is encouraged in Performing and Composing.
Pupils from all musical backgrounds and disciplines can develop their skills throughout this exciting course. Those with, by start of Lower Five, a practical level equivalent to Grade 2-3 or above are well-equipped for the Performing element.
Music at A-Level follows the AQA specification. Pupils examine key works from a wide repertoire and learn to notate, describe and analyse the music they see and listen to.
The core repertoire consists of music from the 16th -19th centuries and includes that of Purcell, Bach, Vivaldi, Mozart, Chopin and Grieg. Two further modules explore the development of 20th century music, including Pop and Jazz.
Pupils develop their understanding of harmony and composition techniques by looking at styles including chorale harmony and free composition. They also perform and record pieces for assessment.
At A2, pupils record one solo performance of 10-15 minutes, with the minimum expected standard of Grade 7-8.