The Arts

Music Department

Director of Music – Mr Tim Caister

The music department is committed to providing a first class musical experience to all pupils. We will aim to improve skills and understanding that will benefit learning in all other areas of school, life and beyond. We will endeavor to ensure that all pupils realise their potential and whilst making music together, we are determined to enjoy the experience.

Curriculum

The music department has a suite of two large adaptable teaching rooms which also incorporates a space for ensembles and groups. There is a suite of Apple Mac computers for GCSE and A level composition, plus a recording studio, a designated drum room, and practice rooms.

For KS3, there are specially written schemes of work that encompass the study of music from the classical times of Mozart and Haydn up to Rock ‘n’ Roll with Elvis and Buddy Holly, plus world music including Tango from Argentina and Steel Pan music from the Caribbean.

At GCSE and A level, we aim to give a wide musical experience, with visits to performances in London and visiting professional musicians sharing their expertise. The London Mozart Players and the London Philharmonic Orchestra have visited recently, and the violin soloist Nicola Benedetti has frequently performed and given masterclasses in recent years.

Teaching Staff

Mr Caister is the Director of Music. He is passionate about providing opportunities for all pupils to perform and enjoy music. He trained at the Royal College of Music and is a professional horn player currently with the City of London Sinfonia. His horn playing career has included tours to many parts of the world with the Academy of St Martins in the Fields under the baton of Sir Neville Marriner and Iona Brown.

Mr O’Farrell teaches music analysis at A level. He trained as an organist and gained a Bachelor’s degree in Music Education and Theology, and a Master’s degree in Musicology from University College, Dublin.

Miss Cantwell teaches music at KS3 and GCSE and takes many of the extra-curricular activities. She was a vocal scholar at Durham University and has performed at the BBC proms, at the Royal Festival Hall and on BBC Radio 3. Her compositions have been performed by the Lontano Ensemble.

Mrs Yalden trained at the Royal College of Music as an organist and pianist. She has a wealth of experience as a choral conductor, and is the choir master at St Teresa’s for the Senior Choir and Schola Cantorum.

Extra Curriculum

The department provides a very busy schedule of extra-curricular activities. Ensembles aim to be as inclusive as possible and include, African drumming, guitars, swing band, chamber orchestra, ukuleles, string ensembles and string quartets. There are lower school and main orchestras, plus numerous choirs for all levels, including our prestigious Schola Cantorum that has been invited to sing evensong at Chichester Cathedral. The senior choir travel overseas every year on a tour. Recent visits have included Cathedral masses in Paris, Sicily, Barcelona, Verona, Malta and Athens.

Performances

The school enjoys termly concerts in the Mairlot Hall that feature the orchestra, the year 7 choir with 80 voices singing their hearts out, soloists, chamber ensembles and the senior choirs. There are termly soirees in the chapel. Schola Cantorum sing in evensong regularly in the chapel. Once a year there is also a jazz concert with girls backed by a visiting professional band, plus a Classical concert featuring an 1805 piano and harpsichord.

Visting Music Staff

The visiting music staff team is very strong and includes many professional musicians who play in London Orchestras and shows. Tuition on all instruments is offered.