TRANSFERRING ENTIRE curriculums online is a challenge that schools have embraced since closing in March. While all lessons must be adapted for virtual delivery, creative subjects that require a high level of collaboration can be especially difficult to teach remotely. In particular, music lessons have presented issues as one of the most difficult lessons to teach without face-to-face interaction.
However, Repton School’s music department has continued to manage curriculum lessons, one-to-one tuition, and weekly music-group meetings over the last three months. On top of this, they’re raising morale by encouraging pupils to take part in a range of performances that have wowed fellow pupils, staff, and parents.
Lockdown hasn’t stopped Repton pupils from taking part in their community singing challenge, entering the annual Young Musician of the Year competition, performing in virtual concerts, or working on the school’s ‘Concert Band’ video. Plus, Repton’s harmony group ‘Reptiles’ has recorded an outstanding acapella cover from their own homes, and Repton continues to host weekly ‘live’ music sessions during chapel services.
“I have been absolutely thrilled by the level of pupil engagement with music during the lockdown period,” said Oliver Walker, Repton School’s Director of Music.
“Instrumental and singing lessons have continued online as normal, with some pupils actually requesting lessons on new instruments. Ensembles and choirs have continued to meet weekly, and we have produced some high-quality concerts and group performances for all year groups. We look forward to getting back to normal, fired-up by all our hard work at home.”
Community Singing Challenge
Repton School commenced their virtual summer term with the Repton Community Singing Challenge. With lockdown well underway, the music department organised the challenge creatively: one-hundred pupils and staff recorded themselves singing Dear Lord and Father of Mankind to a backing track. Mr Walker then mixed each of the recordings to create a spectacular group piece.
Each spring, Repton celebrates the Young Musician of the Year Awards, which comprise both junior and senior rounds – the Repton Young Musician Final marks one of the school’s annual musical highlights. This year, the school discarded the event’s competitive element to instead focus on a celebration of the pupils’ musical talent. Repton encouraged pupils to audition their performances remotely and then recorded two impressive virtual concerts.
Following the Young Musician of the Year concerts, Repton also organised the B Block concert, in which all music award holders from B Block remotely recorded impressive performances.
Repton’s close harmony group ‘Reptiles’ has continued to work together throughout lockdown, despite the demanding collaborative requirements of a harmony group. This month, they shared their latest acapella cover, a beautiful rendition of Billy Joel’s And So It Goes, impressing staff, pupils, and parents across the Repton community.
Though Repton has already launched a host of lockdown musical projects, they haven’t finished yet. The music department is currently co-ordinating a concert band video featuring over 40 pupils. The project is set to combine three performances, each including recordings of pupils playing their chosen instruments. The ‘Concert Band’ will be presented at Repton’s virtual summer concert, which will take place at the end of the term.
Repton’s Music Curriculum
All Repton pupils have the opportunity to study Music as part of the arts and technology programme during their first year at school. Pupils enjoy a curriculum that enables them to understand and appreciate a range of musical styles and techniques, while also allowing them to focus on their individual musical interests and skills.
Repton pupils can take music at both GCSE and A Level, following EdExcel specifications. Repton does not teach music in a one-size-fits-all capacity, meaning that some pupils may be able to take their music GCSE a year early. Pupils from Repton have gone on to go on to study at universities and conservatoires, with some achieving Choral and Organ awards to Oxbridge courses.
Outside of the main music curriculum, pupils are encouraged to join Repton’s musical groups, including the Concert Band, Jazz Band, String Ensemble, Brass Ensemble, Saxophone Ensemble, Symphony Orchestra, Junior and Senior String Quartets, and choirs. The academic and co-curricular music programmes are further complemented by the opportunity to join the Harvey Society, which meets twice each term to discuss musical issues, and a professional concert series, which features a wealth of international artists and musical masterclasses.
Read more about Repton’s musical curriculum at www.repton.org.uk/school-life/academic-departments/creative-arts.