The King's (The Cathedral) School

Peterborough

Music is central to the life of The King’s (The Cathedral) School. As the Cathedral School, The King’s School educates the Cathedral Choristers, who rehearse in the Music Department each morning. There are many more practising musicians of considerable ability at the school, with over 300 music lessons being taught each week. This results in a wide range of extra-curricular music groups which perform to a high standard throughout the School year both in Peterborough and in the wider community.

"Children who have music education are more likely to have greater self-esteem and self-confidence, participate in extra-curricular activities and are less likely to drop out of school. Research shows that… music instruction is linked to improved social and emotional development and more creative thinking…. Music education positively impacts students’ learning… students are more engaged, have higher attendance rates and better academic achievement. Engaged students are more likely to reach their true academic and individual potential."

Katherine Damkohler
Executive Director, Education Through Music (2016)

Music is prepared for the official occasions of the School year, Cathedral Services and concerts, and for the popular music tours to Europe which take place every two years. In the past musicians have performed in Normandy (Bayeux Cathedral), Rome (St Peter’s Basilica), Venice (St. Mark’s Basilica), Siena, Prague, Budapest, Weimar, Cologne, Ypres, Vienna and Catalonia.

The Music Department is located in the former Boarding House of the School,  Madeley House, a large Victorian property set in its own grounds which is a two-minute walk from the main School, and which adjoins the Junior Department. Facilities include:

  • M1 - A large teaching and rehearsal room
  • M2 - A teaching and rehearsal room
  • M3 - A music computer room (with 12 PCs)
  • 11 Practice Rooms
  • Music Office
  • Music Library
  • Tutor Group Base and Sixth Form Study Area
  • 2 Orchestral Instrument Store Rooms
  • Percussion/Keyboard/Music Store

All teaching and practice rooms have a piano. M1, M2 and M3 have sound systems. Portable sound equipment is also available. In the main School building the School Hall also has a grand piano and a sound system, and the Chaplaincy has an electric piano.

KS2 & 3

Music is taught as a curriculum subject to all students in Years 3-9, and there is an emphasis on practical music-making. Performing, composing, listening and appraising and working with fellow students are at the heart of the Music curriculum. At Key Stage 2 pupils are introduced to the main Elements of Music, exploring how they combine to produce music with different effects and purposes. This is then continued at Key Stage 3, focussing on specific techniques of composition, styles and genres:

Year 7

Music for Occasions; Minimalism; Gamelan; African Music; Medieval Music; Impressionism.

Year 8

Structures in Music (binary, ternary, rondo, variations, ground bass); Renaissance, Classical and Romantic Music; Blues; Music for Film and TV; Music for Dance; 20th Century styles and techniques.

Year 9

Popular Music in Context: Blues Song; Jazz; Swing, Rock and Roll; 1960s Culture; Musicals; today’s music.

KS4

In Years 10 and 11 students follow the AQA Music GCSE specification. The course consists of the three main areas of Understanding Music, Performing and Composing, and all are influenced by four Areas of Study.

Component 1: Understanding Music (40%)

Students study specific pieces of music from the four Areas of Study (Western Classical Music 1650-1910, Twentieth and Twenty-First Century Music, Popular Music and Traditional music). They listen to the music and analyse scores, recognising the essential features of the music and placing the music in context. This area is assessed through an exam paper with listening exercises using excerpts of music.

Component 2: Performing (30%)

Students prepare, perform and record two performances, one solo and one in a group. No specific ABRSM/Trinity Guildhall exam grades are required for this part of the course. However, please see What Makes a Good Music Student for further information. The difficulty level of the music performed is taken into account in the assessment of each performance. 

Component 3: Composing (30%)

Students compose, as individuals, two compositions using styles and techniques of their choice. One is a free composition, the other is in response to an externally set brief.  Much of this work is prepared using the computer facilities of the Department, particularly the Sibelius notation program, and emphasis is on making effective use of the musical elements e.g. structure, melody, harmony and rhythm.

There are four Areas of Study:

  1. Western classical music 1650–1910.
  2. Popular music (including pop, jazz and musical theatre).
  3. Traditional music (folk music and fusions).
  4. Western classical music since 1910 (i.e. modern and contemporary classical music, electronic art music, experimental and minimalist music).

Pupils must be able to:

  • Listen attentively to unfamiliar music from all four Areas of Study.
  • Identify and describe the musical elements, using musical language and staff notation.
  • For Area of Study 1 and one other: critically appraise the music from different study pieces showing understanding of:
    • the effect of audience, time and place on how the pieces were created, developed and performed.
    • how and why the music across the areas of study has changed over time.
    • how the composer’s intentions in the pieces are reflected in the musical elements.
    • relevant musical vocabulary and terminology for the study pieces.

KS5

In Years 12 and 13 students follow the AQA 7272 A-Level course. This leads on well from the GCSE course as students again analyse, perform and compose music building on what they have already learned. There are three components in the specification:

Component 1: Appraising Music (40%)

This unit is assessed by examination, with listening and written questions using excerpts of music. Students explore the Baroque Concerto, the operas of Mozart, Jazz, the Piano Music of Brahms, Chopin and Grieg, and Contemporary Traditional Music from 1910 to the Present Day, considering musical detail, analysis and aspects of social and historical context. The emphasis is on:

  • Aural Analysis (Section A): The recognition of style and genre, melody dictation and the recognition of melodies, chords, keys and cadences.
  • Analysis and Context (Section B): This section relates to music studied from the Baroque, Classical and Romantic periods.
  • Essay (Section C): This section focuses on musical features which demonstrate the development of music over time, and relates to the Twentieth-Century music studied during the course.

Component 2: Performance (35%)

Students perform as a soloist and/or as part of an ensemble. The programme of music must be at least 10 minutes in length. This is to be performed as a “Recital”. The level of difficulty of the music played should be either ABRSM / Trinity Guildhall Grade 7 or Grade 8.

Component 3: Composition (25%)

Students have to produce two compositions.  One is a free composition in the style and technique of their choice.  The second is based on a formal brief which is set by the exam board.  The compositions must be at least four and a half minutes in length.

What Makes A Good Music Student?

There are certain characteristics which help to set up music students for success and enable music students to fulfill their potential when studying formally for both GCSE and A-Level qualifications.  These include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Practical music performance skills to a standard of at least the equivalent of ABRSM / Trinity Guildhall Grade 3 for GCSE Music, and Grade 5 for A Level.
  • A good working knowledge of traditional notation and the willingness to extend this.
  • A willingness to participate in extra-curricular music to improve ensemble skills (e.g. Senior Choir, Orchestra, Concert Band, House Music Competition).
  • The desire to know more about music of all types – to listen to it, study it and read about it.

If you have any questions about the suitability of your child to study Music, or about the curriculum, please contact the Director of Music via e-mail at ratcliffe.m@kings.peterborough.sch.uk.

Extra-Curricular Music

The Music Department offers varied and vibrant extra-curricular opportunities which involve pupils of all abilities and ages.  Participants are drawn not only from pupils who are studying Music at GCSE and A-Level, but also include many pupils who have instrumental and singing tuition in school, and others who simply enjoy performing music.

The current extra-curricular calendar comprises:

Ensemble

Teacher in Charge

Rehearsal Time and Location

Senior Brass Ensemble

(Grades 5-8)

Mr Turner

Monday, 8:30 am (M1)

Flute Choir

Mrs Blanchford

Monday, 8.30 am (M2)

Clarinet Group 2

Mrs Turner

Monday, 8.30 am (P7)

Orchestra

(Grades 6-8)

Dr Ratcliffe / Mr Jenkins

Monday, 1.20 pm (M1)

String Orchestra

Mrs Gladstone

Tuesday, 8.30 am (M1)

Clarinet Group 1

Mrs Turner 

Wednesday, 8.30 am (M2)

Concert Band 2

Mrs Smith

Wednesday, 8.30 am (M1)

Training Orchestra

Mr Jenkins

Wednesday, 1.20 pm (M1)

Junior Brass Ensemble

Mr Nessfield

Wednesday, 1.30 pm (Library)

Upper Voices Chamber Choir

Miss Emmanuel

Wednesday, 1.30 pm (M2)

Sixth Form Jazz Ensemble

Student Led

Wednesday, 2.30 pm (Library)

Lower Voices Chamber Choir

Miss Emmanuel

Thursday, 8.30 pm (M2)

Big Band

Mrs Smith

Thursday, 8.30 am (M1)

Junior Choir

Miss Blumenthal

Thursday, 8.30 am (M2)

Senior Choir

Dr Ratcliffe

Thursday, 1.30 pm (M1)

Senior Concert Band

(Grades 6-8)

Dr Ratcliffe

Friday, 8.30 am (M1)

 

Pupils also use the Music Department for regular smaller ensemble rehearsals such as string quartets, vocal ensembles and brass quintets, several of which are supervised by Music Department staff.

Choirs, Orchestras & Bands

The Senior Choir consists of over 40 talented singers, including ex-choristers, singing 4-part repertoire.  The Senior Choir is involved in many of the School’s services, including those at Peterborough Cathedral.   Recent concerts by the Senior Choir have included works by Vivaldi (Gloria) and Faure (Requiem).

Please use this link to listen to the Senior Choir performing Bruckner’s motet Locus Iste.

The Orchestra comprises approximately 50 of the most able performers in the School. Recent performances include Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No.4, Mozart’s 4th Horn Concerto and Venus from Holst’s The Planets Suite.

Please use this link to listen to the Senior Orchestra performing Mozart’s Fourth Horn Concerto.

The Senior Concert Band comprises approximately fifty of the most talented musicians who perform a varied repertoire from Gershwin’s Symphonic Portrait and Rhapsody in Blue to Sibelius’ Finlandia.

Please use this link to listen to the Senior Concert Band performing Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue.

Performing Opportunities

The Music Department has a busy annual calendar of concerts and services.  A typical academic year comprises:

Autumn Term                     

Christmas Concert at Peterborough Cathedral

End of term Christmas Service

Spring Term

Mid-term Concert

End of term Concert

Summer Term

End of term Concert

The Music Department is also involved in various other concerts each academic year e.g. the Remembrance Concert (Autumn 2014), the Howard Goodall Mixed Voices Concert (Spring 2015), the concert at Castle Acre Church (Summer 2016) and the Peterborough Hospital Carol Service (Winter 2016).

Pupils are regularly invited to perform at various high-profile local events e.g. the Petriburgians’ Reunion (Summer 2016) and the Schola Regia Ladies Festival (Spring 2017).

The Music Department contributes towards regular Drama productions.  Previous shows have included Les Misérables, The Sound of Music and Joseph and His Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat.

Talented pianists are offered the opportunity to accompany hymn singing in twice-weekly whole school assemblies and the whole School takes part in regular hymn singing practices led by the Director of Music.

House Music

The highlight of the School’s year is the House Music Competition.  The event commences with the solo competitions where each of the School’s Houses, led by their House Captains, puts forward their best musicians in the categories of strings, woodwind, brass, piano, percussion, singing and guitar.  A winner is selected from each category and the overall winner for the best performance is then invited to perform at the main House Music event which takes place in October and typically attracts an audience of around 1,800.  The points from the solo competition contribute to the overall scores.

At the main event, which in recent years has taken place at The Kingsgate Church and Conference Centre in Peterborough, the House Captains host performances by the Orchestra, Choir, Junior Department and Band from each of the four Houses.

The competition is judged by an external guest, typically a Head of Music from another school or a professional musician, by invitation from the Director of Music.

Instrumental Teaching

The King’s School offers weekly one-to-one tuition on a range of classical and popular instruments through a team of specialist peripatetic teachers.  A list of individual teachers and their instruments can be found at the bottom of this page.

Grade Examinations

The Music Department regularly hosts and enters pupils for Associated Board and Trinity Guildhall music examinations.  To support pupils in their musical development the Department also offers weekly Grade 5 Theory music classes.

Music Scholarships

Access to the King’s School is available through a small number of music scholarships which are offered annually.  The Music Department administers the auditions each October.  For further information please contact the Director of Music via e-mail at ratcliffe.m@kings.peterborough.sch.uk.

Associations and Professional Links

The Music Department values greatly its links with other schools and organisations, and these support the development and enrich the experience of its musicians. 

Peterborough Cathedral

The King’s School greatly values its close links with Peterborough Cathedral.  There is close collaboration between the Cathedral music team, led by the Cathedral’s Director of Music Stephen Grahl, and The King’s School Music Department. The Cathedral Choristers rehearse in Madeley House each morning, and perform in some School concerts and services during the year.  The musical education of the Choristers is shared between the Cathedral and The King’s School.

Twinning

For the last forty years the School has been twinned with the Werner-Jaeger Gymnasium in Nettetal, Germany. Every five years, in the Autumn Term, pupils in the Orchestra, Senior Concert Band and Senior Choir travel to Nettetal, performing a series of concerts over several days both at the school and in the local community. The King’s School then hosts musicians from Nettetal on their reciprocal visit to England.

Out-of-Hours Music Tuition

The Music Department hosts ex-Cambridgeshire Music Service Teachers who deliver lessons to pupils from The Kings School and elsewhere after School hours at Madeley House. Lessons are available in Acoustic Guitar (Vincent Morris), Piano (Stan Hansel, Lynn Alexander and Tim Farrell) and Violin (Leon King).

Summer School of Music

In 2016, The King’s Summer School of Music was founded by Anja Smith, a member of the teaching staff in the Music Department.  The course runs for a week during the summer holidays and runs a full symphony orchestra and many different ensembles, covering a wide variety of music. The course has already become very popular, with pupils enjoying the variety of musical activities on offer.

Peterborough Music Hub

Peterborough Music Hub runs a wide variety of opportunities including concerts, workshops and projects in which pupils can participate. The Hub also offers opportunities for teacher networking, sharing of good practice and resources, and pupil participation in the Peterborough Music School, which meets on Saturdays.

Oxford and Cambridge Universities

The King’s School Music Department has links with both Oxford (Merton College) and Cambridge Universities (Trinity, St. John’s and Homerton Colleges). The Director of Music attends outreach programmes, and pupils regularly visit these and other colleges to have formal interviews and informal meetings with the colleges’ Directors of Music about singing and organ scholarships.

Local Schools

The Music Department has links with other local schools such as Stamford Endowed Schools, Stamford College, St. John Fisher Academy and Leicester Grammar School.  In May 2015 the King’s School participated in the Massed Voices Concert, held at the Cathedral, combining with other local schools, and performed discrete and combined orchestral pieces with Oundle School, conducted by Howard Goodall.

Cambridgeshire Music Partnership for Teacher Training

The King’s School Music Department believes strongly in supporting teachers who are undertaking their teacher qualifications, and has a relationship with the Cambridgeshire Music Partnership for Teacher Training. The Music Department frequently provides the opportunity for future teachers to work as part of the King’s School Music team at Madeley House to enable them to gain valuable experience in preparing lessons and delivering classroom teaching.  This ensures that they are developing the requisite skills to support their future careers.

Colours

At the discretion of the Director of Music, School Half and Full Colours can be awarded to pupils for outstanding commitment to Music.  Criteria for receiving an award include regular attendance at one or more of the Department’s extra-curricular groups for the duration of a pupil’s time at the School, pupils’ input into the annual House Music Competition and involvement in School productions. Presentations take place in whole-school assemblies, typically at the end of the Autumn and Spring Terms.

Music Awards

In addition to School Colours, the Music Department has several other prestigious awards e.g. the Michael Lamb Organ Scholarship, which is bestowed each year to the most talented Organist, as jointly agreed by the Directors of Music from The King’s School and the Peterborough Cathedral.  The scholarship recipient receives an embossed volume of organ music by J.S. Bach, and financial support for formal organ lessons.

Music Prefects

Senior pupils who are heavily involved in the musical life of the school may be invited to become Music Prefects.  This important role involves supporting the running of the Music Department through leading rehearsals, taking registers for extra-curricular ensembles, producing promotional material for concerts, cataloguing the material in the Music Library, being a point of contact for younger students who have questions about the Music Department and generally being an advocate for Music within the School.

Instrument Hire

A limited number of School instruments are available to hire for a small termly hire charge. Instruments, which may be used for instrumental practice, rehearsals and examinations, can be hired through consultation with the pupil’s peripatetic teacher and the Director of Music. 

Music Department Staff

Dr Martin Ratcliffe (MLR): Director of Music & Head of Music Department
Mr Gareth Jenkins (GJJ): Assistant Director of Music & Pupil Development Manager (Year 8)
Mrs Anja Smith (AKS): Teacher of KS2/3 Music

Instrumental Teachers

Mr J Bamforth (Electric Guitar / Bass Guitar / Classical Guitar)
Mrs L Blanchford (Flute / Bassoon / Recorder)
Mrs K Blumenthal (Singing)
Mr M Bright (Percussion - Timpani & Kit)
Miss J Emmanuel (Singing / Grade 5 Theory)
Mrs S Gladstone (Violin / Viola)
Mrs F Henderson (Flute / Clarinet / Oboe)
Mr D Humphreys (Organ)
Miss C McAuliffe (Cello)
Mr J Nessfield (Trumpet / Cornet)
Mr L Slack (Saxophone)
Mr C Torr (Piano)
Mrs J Turner (Clarinet)
Mr A Turner (Trumpet / Cornet / Trombone / Euphonium / Tuba / French Horn)