Music is seen as a real strength throughout the school. Mrs Gregory-White is the Teacher in charge of Music. Each class has weekly music lessons following the Music Express scheme which provide the children with a wealth of musical experiences and skills, from singing in parts as well as unison, to playing a whole array of percussion and other instruments; composition and music appreciation.
Composer of the Month
In addition to Music Express, students have lessons based on the school's composer of the month. This helps to ensure that students in all year groups have the opportunity to hear and respond to quality recorded music from a range of styles. As well as a stand-alone lesson, the music from the composer of the month is used for the entrance and exit to our weekly assemblies.
October: Gustav Holst
Students looked in particular at Holst's 'The Planets' in conjunction with World Space Week.
As part of Black History Month, students also had a related stand-alone lesson. Students in Key Stage 1 looked at The Blues and in Key Stage 2 Jazz.
November: Hans Zimmer
Zimmer is a highly regarded composer of film music, including the scores for The Lion King, Kung Fu Panda and Pirates of the Caribbean. His work links well with our Anti-Bullying Superhero week having composed the scores for The Dark Knight, Spider-Man 3 and Batman Vs Superman: Dawn of Justice. In their lesson students looked at the importance of sound and music in film and film trailers.
December: Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
To celebrate the traditions of Christmas, December's composer was Tchaikovsky. Among his work were 'The Nutcracker' and 'Swan Lake', ballets which are synonymous with Christmas for many. Children were encouraged to use his work to think of their own Christmas traditions.
January: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
As a composer born in January, Mozart is our focus for January. A classical composer, Mozart has many well-known works such as 'The Marriage of Figaro' and 'Don Giovanni'.
February: Miles Davis
February is Black History Month in the US, so our composer for February is Miles Davis. Davis was an influential jazz composer, a completely different feel from previous composer's of the month.
March: Clara Schumann
With International Women's Day in February the composer of the month is an influential female composer: Clara Schumann. She was a pianist and a composer in the Romantic era. She was also the wife of Robert Schumann, who was also a composer.
All the children in the school have a weekly singing session, usually in the form of Hymn Practice. The quality of singing is high throughout the school.
The school's Key Stage 2 Instrumental Group also work to accompany the school in weekly hymn practice.
The school provides the opportunity for Key Stage 2 to pupils to learn a variety of musical instruments. Children from Year 3 and above have the opportunity to learn to play the recorder, and those from Year 4 and above may learn the guitar; these instruments are taught by Mrs. Goldsmith via the Herts Music service. KS2 children may also learn the violin, or may choose from flute, clarinet or saxophone lessons.
There are currently two weekly Music clubs for Key Stage 2 students:
All the children take part in at least one concert each year. In December there is a Christmas production for the Infants, while children from Years 5 and 6 are given the opportunity to perform Christmas carols and songs at the Verulam Golf Club Christmas dinner. Lower KS2 perform an Easter play and Year 5 & 6 have the end of year production.
All the children from KS2 who learn to play an instrument in school perform at one of the Instrumental Concerts during the Summer Term. The numbers taking part in these is well in excess of 50% of the children. The Year 5 and 6 pupils also perform a musical play at the end of the Summer Term.
Some children from the school have also performed on a number of occasions at the Royal Albert Hall (The Hertfordshire Schools Music Gala). St. John Fisher also take part in the wonderful St Albans Primary Schools’ Music Festival, held annually at the Alban Arena and the Primary Schools’ Carol Service in St. Albans Abbey.