Music is a vital part of school life, from carolling at Christmas in the Elizabeth Street Christmas market to winning house music colours for outstanding contributions to musical life.
Weekly class and music assemblies encourage the boys to perform in front of an audience, and we hold regular singing events in the community, from the Royal Marsden Hospital to nursing homes and Christmas charity fairs.
There are a number of musical ensemble events each year and these events are greatly enjoyed by both staff and pupils. The majority of our pupils play one or more musical instruments.
We are lucky to have a very fine staff of peripatetic music teachers who can work with pupils to introduce them to an instrument for the first time or to develop skills already mastered. A whole range of instruments can be played, from piano, drums and trumpet to violin and guitar and our pupils achieve high grade levels in most instruments.
As an idea of the highest standards, a boy of about Grade 5 on his first instrument on entry to the Prep would be a promising candidate for our Leamington Scholarship for musical excellence. Boys with a range of instruments to show, or good singing potential, would be at an advantage. The ability to read and interpret music would also be a key skill.
The boys can also arrange individual private singing lessons to develop their voice and promote confidence. Boys are taken out of lessons on a rotating basis, so that the same lessons are not missed.
There are two choirs, the Senior Choir being the one for the Prep. Boys are auditioned at the beginning of every term and many boys sign up for this enjoyable activity. For those boys who do not want the commitment of choir, there are many opportunities for small or large groups to sing formally and informally together.
The pupils can compete in the Senior Music Competitions, which take place in March. The judge often gives boys tips on individual performances.
Last year was a bustling year in the music department and the Eaton House Pre-Prep boys excelled themselves in their musical activities. There were music assemblies, competitions, plays and nativities, Senior Choir trips and a carol concert in our spiritual home, St Peter's. Boys took ABRSM exams and entered outside competitions on their instruments throughout the year.
As usual, a full range of talents was showcased in the Senior Cup Competitions and the boys gave brilliant and talented displays. The two awards both went to pianists.
Music colours are awarded for outstanding music service to the school. Seven boys were awarded these prestigious accolades last year. They contributed greatly to the musical life of the school. This year looks set to be equally exciting!
The leavers' concert is always a highlight, with boys playing to a fantastic, high standard and with some boys playing incredibly hard pieces. This year, we heard from a great variety of performers on the piano, cello, violin, drum kit, guitar and voice. We were also entertained by the Year 3 dancers, the Senior Choir and all of the Year 3s for the grand finale.