The musical life of Ashford School is vibrant; activities and events centre on Brake Hall, the Octagons (two rehearsal and classroom spaces) and a number of individual and larger classrooms for our lessons.
All students in Key Stage 3 (Years 7, 8 and 9) participate in Music:
- The Year 7 Instrumental Scheme offers our Year 7 students the opportunity to try out new instruments in rotation for the year (Brass, Guitar, Strings, and, new for 2023-4, Woodwind), with the aim of developing a hands-on experience of instrumental sonority, and offering students the possibility of studying the instrument formally. There is also a strong emphasis on class singing, a weekly choir and exploring musical language and literacy.
- In Years 8 and 9, pupils are encouraged to develop compositional, improvisational, solo and group performance skills through a variety of musical genres. The new Music Technology Suite (MTS) (containing twenty Apple Macs) gives students the tools with which to compose, compile and refine creative projects, utilising Sibelius and GarageBand software. This is an important stepping stone to Music as an option at Key Stage 4 (GCSE).
Music at Key Stage 4 and 5 is an optional study, taught as an examinable subject at GCSE and A Level, using the Edexcel specifications. Our students are taught by qualified and experienced teachers and musicians, and have access to first-class facilities, enabling them to write and perform their own music whilst mastering classics and developing an outstanding knowledge of music and its complexities.
Music beyond the Classroom
Music is not only an integral part of the curriculum at Ashford School but is also an activity that enhances and enriches the co-curricular life of our students. Opportunities for performance are extensive, with a full programme of concerts, recitals and other events taking place throughout the year. As part of our One School policy, we also work with Ashford Prep School’s musical team to collaborate on high-level musical events (in 2023 we performed Vivaldi’s Gloria RV 589 for the 125th Anniversary Celebrations). We offer a broad spectrum of ensembles, clubs, and bands: Orchestra, Training Orchestra, String Ensemble, Jazz Band, Recorder Ensemble, Flute Choir, Brass and Wind Ensemble, Show Choir, Year 7 Choir, Vocal Ensemble and our talented Chamber Choir. Chamber Choir provide the choral contributions to Commencement and End-of-Term Services, held at St Mary’s Church, Ashford, as well as other concerts and events throughout the year. Chamber Music is encouraged, including piano trios and string ensembles. We are the home of Ashford Youth Jazz Orchestra where membership is open to students from other local schools. AshBash is an event held in the Summer, giving students from across the school to form bands and go wild…
Our Visiting Music teachers provide expert tuition in all orchestral instruments, recorder, guitar (classical, electric and bass), piano, organ (learning on our two-manual Walker instrument in Brake Hall), and voice. Instruments can be hired from the school and the department can also advise on prospective purchase of an instrument.
Each year the Music Department collaborates with the Drama Department on both Junior and Senior productions. In February 2024 a production of Little Shop of Horrors is planned, and will incorporate a large cast and a live Pit Ensemble, many of whom will be student performers.
With a tone so rich, I would never be afraid of the dark. Steinway is the only, and the best!
– Harry Connick, Jnr.
Ashford School has recently renewed its commitment to Steinway pianos for a further fifteen years, ensuring that our young pianists have the optimum instruments to develop pianism of finesse and assuredness. A new fleet of pianos was delivered in Summer 2023, including a Model-D concert grand piano (our recital instrument, kept in Brake Hall); B-and AS-models are kept in Octagon 2 and the teaching room of the Head of Keyboard; a Steinway upright is complimented by Essex pianos in our practice rooms. We are one of only 18 schools in the UK with Steinway status and proud to have an active relationship with Steinway.