Music at Bedales Schools - Ethos

Music, for performers and listeners alike, is central to daily life in all three Bedales Schools. A long and distinguished tradition of fostering ambitions through the development of supportive friendships between staff and pupils has created happy, challenging and co-operative environments in our music departments.

Elite musicans of all ages are given, where considered desirable, a bespoke timetable in which they can concentrate on honing their particular skills whilst also taking leading roles in the many instrumental and vocal ensembles which occupy protected space in the co-curriculum.

We offer a provenly successful route into higher musical studies at University or Music College or simply the necessary grounding for a lifetime’s love of playing and singing with friends and colleagues.

Dunannie nurtures the initial passion every child has for music. In Dunhurst, students soon discover that the more they practise, the more exciting ensemble opportunities become readily available to them. Orchestras, choirs, rock bands and chamber ensembles perform regularly in concerts and theatre productions.

Bedales offers every musician even more challenging opportunities in which to study and take part in concerts, both at school and on tours abroad. Every student who is interested in the academic and practical study of music can be assured that these needs will be well looked after by members of staff who are themselves actively engaged in professional musical making.

The appreciation of artisric beauty informs all that we offer. It has been most elegantly summarized by Lady Marjory Allen, “The splendid sense of belongingwas at its most intense at evening Assemblies when we heard music that I love."

Dunhurst Music

Listening to and making music at Bedales Prep is all about challenging popular teenage perceptions of the purpose and intent of music through a critical assessment of listening and performing habits. We invite pupils to express their views on popular and less popular forms of music to identify the threads that unite them, the barriers that define them and the areas in-between. The children themselves create the culture of music making at Bedales Schools. Our aim is to create an environment in which children enthuse as much over the Sibelius Symphony as they do when listening to Jazz or a Florence and The Machine album. We immerse pupils in the diverse cultural mix of centuries of music from around the world so that they discover and take delight in the broad range of music available to them.

Blocks 1 and 2

The Aim of Music in Dunhurst Blocks is to provide the opportunity for students to build skills in the realms of analysis, creativity, and performance. Our approach fosters the enjoyment of musical activity for all students through improvisation, composition, performance, listening, movement and ICT. Pupils leave lessons inspired to be involved and to actively seek music making activities and opportunities, bringing pleasure to performers and listeners.

A fascinating journey of musical analysis takes place by identifying the defining moments in musical periods and developing aural recognition of genres. Pupils research composers and musicians and form an appreciation of their music through the identification of key influences. The curriculum encourages investigation of the professional careers of specific composers across the genres and highlights moments where their music reflects their life story e.g. Mozart’s Requiem. From these studies, pupils produce their own ‘versions’ of repertoire and use specific musical elements from their analysis classes to re-create specific musical language.

Aims

  • To acquire the knowledge, skills and understanding to make music today and to nurture the passion to continue to learn and explore tomorrow.
  • Enable students to analyse and compare music and a general broadening of aural awareness
  • To develop understanding and appreciation of a broad awareness of musical styles from all over the world and from many different genres; from jazz to classical, from 21st century to medieval. Students are encouraged to make judgements of musical quality and be inspired to further their own creative work and musical performance.
  • To develop a student’s personal skills (co-operation, sensitivity, tolerance, discussion, evaluation, self-improvement, self-confidence, self-belief) through music making with others.
  • To build on pupil-centred learning where individual skills, interests and personalities in each class can help to shape the class curriculum.
  • Focus on musical literacy; learning to use notation and graphic techniques to convey musical meaning
  • Use improvisation as a tool for self-expression and ultimately for performance and composition
  • Provide opportunities for practice and performance and how the two disciplines inform each other

For more details on Dunhurst Music, download the Dunhurst Music Brochure

Head of Department: Ben Harlan

View list of visiting Music staff 

Read about Music at Bedales Pre-prep, Dunannie and Bedales School

Click on the links below to listen to music from a previous Dunhurst Spring Concert: