The Ipswich School Britten Faculty of Music has an impressive reputation as a place where musicians thrive, finding unstinting support from expert staff. Opportunities abound for enjoyable achievement. From enthusiastic beginners to outstanding specialist students, everyone is encouraged to discover music that suits their tastes and develops their abilities.
Music is a cornerstone of school life. It features in the curriculum from the Lower School to Sixth Form and we offer high academic standards in a stimulating and creative musical environment. We are supported by approximately thirty visiting teachers who provide lessons during the school day on piano, strings, brass, percussion, guitar, keyboard, harp and woodwind. In addition, we run a range of ensembles and choirs which perform – in and outside school.
The new building includes teaching and practice rooms – two main rehearsal rooms, a technical suite and eight practice rooms. Great School is a fine concert hall seating 400 and is equipped with a Steinway grand piano, while Little School seats 200 and has a Grotrian-Steinweg grand piano.
In the Lower School, the courses cover listening and appraising, composing and performing. Keyboard skills and composition are taught using the keyboard laboratory along with software such as Sibelius. Pupils perform in concerts, in class, as well as singing as a year group in larger concerts.
Year 9 pupils explore the use of music, in the media, as well as projects in ground bass, vocal chants and modes. The Edexcel GCSE in Music allows pupils to capitalise on their different musical interests. The areas of study include a wide range of music including classical, world music and popular music. The GCSE is designed to allow the study of music through the integration of performing, composing, listening and appraising with the opportunity to use music as a compositional tool.
“It is so inspiring to be taught by someone who has such a passion for music and performing” from a GCSE student.
A Level Music enables pupils to develop three main aspects of their musicianship: appraising, composing and performing.
Appraising music covers six areas of study: instrumental music, vocal music, popular music and jazz, film music, new directions and fusions. By studying set works and a wide range of related listening, students develop analytical skills, and are able to place music in context both socially and historically.
Composition is split into two sections. Techniques is the theoretical aspect where pupils learn about chords and their function in detail. Students learn to harmonise a chorale (hymn tune) in the style of Bach and this knowledge helps to inform their analysis of scores and their composition. They also submit one composition where they are encouraged to develop their creativity and originality whilst learning about a range of musical styles and structures.
Performing is where students give a recital of a minimum of eight minutes (Grade 7 minimum). In order to prepare for this, students are encouraged to perform in a variety of contexts both in and out of school.
The average of the results in Music over the most recent three year period is:
- GCSE – 9: 29%, 9-8: 57%, 9-7: 74%, 9-4: 100%
- A Level – A*: 34%, A*-A: 45%, A*-B: 78%, A*-C: 100%
Click here to visit the Music site to find out more about co-curricular Music activities.