Co-curricular

Music

Music is central to the development of the boys of Monmouth School for Boys. Around half of pupils take lessons on a musical instrument in School (around 320 individual lessons are taught in each week). A significant number take lessons out of school. Many boys study to an advanced level – a number of boys achieve Grade 8 by the time they are 14 years of age.

The music department is housed in the Glover Music School which is generously resourced and includes an auditorium, ICT suite and numerous class and teaching rooms. There are three full time and twenty-two part time staff. Instrumental lessons are taught by a team of nationally renowned players and are timetabled on a rota basis, although many boys at the top of the school make arrangements for a fixed lesson. Practice time is available for boarders before and after school.

Choral and instrumental concerts are presented each year, choral services take place in the Chapel and a programme of smaller scale recitals and workshops happening throughout the year. There is a strong tradition of instrumental music in the school, with groups of many sizes and styles. The joint symphony orchestra is run jointly with MG and has a different Director each year, on a rota basis. Our best players are selected and they tackle substantial repertoire, recently including Night on a Bare Mountain, Spartacus Suite, Pictures at an Exhibition and Rodeo. International artists visit the School from time to time (inc. Kit and the Widow, the Carducci Quartet, National Opera Studio in the last few years) and often give workshops and masterclasses in the school before a concert.

The School maintains a strong Choral Tradition, both in and out of the Chapel. The Choral Society presents a major choral work every year in conjunction with the choirs at Monmouth Girls (Bernstein’s Chichester Psalms, Mozart’s Great C Minor Mass and his Requiem, Borodin’s Polovtsian Dances, Kern’s Showboat Suite, Carmina Burana in recent years). The Chapel Choir makes regular visits and tours out of school and has sung in St. Paul’s Cathedral, St. George’s Windsor, Westminster Cathedral and Salisbury Cathedral in the last four years as well as touring to Spain (singing in the Mezquita of Cordoba), Morocco and France (singing in the Aix-en-Provence Festival) and Italy in 2017, singing in St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican. The choir will make a concert tour of Berlin and Dresden in Summer 2020.

There have been several large-scale musical theatre productions in recent years including Hairspray in 2014, Beauty and the Beast in 2016 and Les Miserables in 2018, all undertaken jointly with Monmouth School for Girls.

Pupils regularly go on to study music in Higher Education, frequently winning choral and organ awards (King’s College, Gonville and Caius College, Jesus College and Homerton College, Cambridge and Merton College, The Queen’s College, Corpus Christi College and St. John’s College and Brasenose College, Oxford, recently).

The Endowed Competitions, which offer prizes and take place annually for each instrumental family and singers, provide an opportunity for our more advanced musicians to compete and have their performances assessed by a professional external adjudicator. These competitions are keenly fought by the pupils.

Ensembles

Monmouth School Boys’ Prep

  • Wind Band
  • String Orchestra
  • String Quartet
  • Class String Orchestras
  • Grange Choir
  • Rock Band

Monmouth School for Boys

  • Junior Wind Band
  • Bach Orchestra (junior string orchestra)
  • Senior Strings (joint with Monmouth School for Girls)
  • Symphonic Winds (joint with Monmouth School for Girls)
  • Haberdashers’ Monmouth Symphony Orchestra (joint with Monmouth School for Girls)
  • Jazz Orchestra
  • Chapel Choir
  • Choral Society
  • Junior String Quartet
  • Brass Band
  • Wind Chamber Music

Holders of Music Awards are expected to set a strong example of commitment and organisation to their peers throughout their time in the school. At the very least they would be expected to play in an appropriate instrumental ensemble, sing in a choir and take part in chamber music, as well as studying Music at GCSE level when the time comes. Many award holders do much more than this.

The Director of Music, David Lawson, is happy to speak with parents at any time and can be contacted on Lawson.david@habsmonmouth.org

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